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  April 1st 

Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome 

"Not All Night Owls Have a Choice" 

By: Terrence Gaddis 

Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome (DSPS) is a condition affecting the body’s normal biological clock cycle. The circadian cycle - human beings’ natural biological clock which functions on a normal 24 hour cycle - appears to be unusually long in sufferers of DSPS, or simply misaligned with the societal norm.  Even in cases where sufferers of DSPS are sleep deprived, they still have difficulty falling asleep in normal even hours as opposed to individuals who being sleep

Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome is also known as:

Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder

Delayed Sleep Phase Type

Delayed Sleep-Phase Disorder

“Social Jet Lag”
deprived have no difficulty sleeping. It appears as if sleep deprivation does not reset the circadian clock of people with this condition - they still can only sleep at their natural sleep time hour, which is often post-2:00 a.m.

Individuals with this affliction have great difficulty living with a “normal” schedule and find it difficult to awake because their biological clocks are out of phase with regular schedules. Their situation is akin to individuals who have to work night shift hours and can not seem to adjust to sleeping in the day and working at night.
Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome is regularly misdiagnosed and often completely disregarded by physicians. It is also often mistaken for other issues, including: depression, schizophrenia, or attention deficit disorder. The correct diagnosis rate on this ailment is significantly low.

Common Symptoms

Common symptoms of Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome can include any of the following items:

Significant delays in the major sleep period desired
Patients when not made to stick to a regular work-life clock, will not experience any different quality of sleep or a different duration of sleep than anyone on a normal clock
Patients have no problem staying asleep once they have gone to sleep
People suffering from this find it severely difficult to move their normal sleep patterns to an earlier time period
Habitual sleep pattern onsets are post-2:00 a.m.

Difference from Insomnia

For many, Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome is confused with Insomnia. Insomnia and DSPS are not the same maladies. The differences between a sufferer of Insomnia and DSPS involve:

Individuals with DSPS fall asleep the same time every night and have no problems sleeping once they have fallen asleep - neither is the case with insomniacs
DSPS patients sleep well and regularly when allowed to follow their own sleep patterns

DSPS patients do not have a problem sleeping in the morning or afternoon, which chronic insomnia sufferers have trouble doing


A number of treatments exist for Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome. The most commonly known and studied are:

  1. Light Therapy - use of a LED light device that goes on earlier than a patient’s normal waking time as some researchers believe that DSPS is a light sensitivity issue with patients  
  2. Darkness Therapy - related to the above treatment, this one occurs in the evening where the treatment is to dim lights in the patient’s dwelling a few hours prior to sleep  
  3. Chronotherapy - a resetting of the circadian clock by manipulating the individual’s normal bed time; one treatment is to have a patient go to bed 2 hours later every day until their clock is turned to the desired time; another treatment involves keeping a patient awake for 24 hours and then having them sleep 90 minutes prior to their normal sleep time and having them maintain that sleep time for one week  
  4. Melatonin - small doses are taken one hour prior to sleep time to induce sleep  

Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome is also known as:

Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder
Delayed Sleep Phase Type
Delayed Sleep-Phase Disorder
“Social Jet Lag”

Source: http://www.Go-to-Sleep.net

Go-to-Sleep.net is a website dedicated to the study of sleep. Everything that you could want to to know about how to go to sleep, including: sleep disorders, causes, cures, and studies.

Terrence Gaddis has been fascinated with sleep maladies since suffering through a case of insomnia in his youth. From this time forward, he has studied all the causes, treatments and news about this phenomenon.

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A Good Sleep              

A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor's book ~Irish Proverb