Delayed sleep phase syndrome

As the name suggests, delayed sleep phase disorder is a circadian rhythm disturbance where a person’s internal clock (also called biologic clock), is set to a later time than the person would prefer.

In this article, we will address delayed sleep phased syndrome using a question and answer based format.

What causes delayed sleep phase syndrome?

Our body contains an internal clock that regulates many physiologic functions including when we sleep, wake up, hormonal production patterns, eating habits and many other functions that have a diurnal pattern. If you have delayed sleep phase syndrome or DSPS, this clock is not running properly.

Can a disturbance in production of Melatonin lead to DSPS?

Yes. Changes in the production of Melatonin might be involved which in turn might be affected by improper exposure to light such as watching stuff on bright screens late, excessive SUN exposure in the evening, habitual staying up late type behaviors etc.

What is melatonin?

This is a hormone that your body makes to help control your body clock. Having the wrong amount of Melatonin at the wrong time can cause problems with your sleep. Melatonin levels increase at night and makes you feel sleepy.

Can the blue light from computer screens affect your circadian rhythm?

Yes. The blue light from computer screens can suppress your natural melatonin levels and stop you feeling as sleepy at night.

How common is DSPS?

DSPS is very common in teenagers. About 7% of teenagers are believed to have it. It can occur at other ages, but it is less likely.

Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome

How does DSPS affect people, especially teenagers?

If you have DSPS, you have a higher chance of getting mood disorders such as depression and also insomnia. Also, many people have to get up early in the morning for work or study. This can cause problems if DSPS is present.

What helps to cope with DSPS?

Some people find it very hard to overcome their DSPS. Some changes to your lifestyle may help you cope. These changes won’t stop DSPS, but will make your life easier. You can try to work in the evening, or do night shifts. If your work hours are flexible, then DSPS will be less of a problem. Some people with DSPS find that naps are helpful but they need to be kept short. If you are feeling sleepy during the day, then try to avoid driving. The same goes for using dangerous machinery.

What symptoms does DSPS cause?

Some people with DSPS think they have Insomnia. This is because they can’t fall asleep at the expected time. If you have a good night’s sleep when you are allowed to chose your own sleeping and waking times then DSPS is a more likely diagnosis.

Do I need a sleep study to diagnose DSPS?

DSPS is usually a clinical diagnosis although sleep studies might be considered when there are other comorbid conditions or to rule out other sleep disorders.

How do you treat delayed sleep phase syndrome?

DSPS is One treatment strategy is light therapy (phototherapy), with either a bright white lamp providing 10,000 lux at a specified distance from the eyes or a wearable LED device providing 350–550 lux at a shorter distance. Sunlight can also be used. The light is typically timed for 30–90 minutes at the patient’s usual time of spontaneous awakening, or shortly before.

Melatonin is also used to adjust the circadian rhythm.  A very small dose of melatonin can also, or instead, be taken some hours earlier as an aid to resetting the body clock; it must then be small enough not to induce excessive sleepiness as the purpose of Melatonin is to help regulate circadian rhythm taken several (2-5 hours) prior to sleep onset.

Who can help properly diagnose and treat DSPS?

A sleep specialist can help in diagnosing and treating DSPS properly as many with this dosorder are often misdiagnosed as insomnia, depression or other psychiatric or sleep diagnosis.

Some questions to ask the sleep doctor when you think you may have DSPS

  • What are the risk factors for delayed sleep phase syndrome?
  • Who gets delayed sleep phase syndrome?
  • What are the symptoms of DSPS?
  • How do you diagnose DSPS?
  • How do you treat delayed sleep phase syndrome?
  • How do you fix circadian rhythm disorder?
  • What is advanced sleep phase syndrome?
  • What is non 24 hour sleep wake syndrome?

Delayed sleep phase syndrome related terms

  • delayed sleep phase syndrome questionnaire
  • delayed sleep phase syndrome nhs
  • delayed sleep phase syndrome accommodation
  • treat delayed sleep phase syndrome
  • do i have dsps quiz
  • delayed sleep phase syndrome reddit
  • advanced sleep phase syndrome
  • blue light delayed sleep phase syndrome

How can W8MD’s sleep program help me with DSPS?

Sleep medicine program uses state of the art technology including the convenient home sleep studies or in lab sleep diagnostic studies to diagnose and treat over 80 different sleep disorders including delayed sleep phase syndrome, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome, insomnia to name a few. Learn more…

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