Advanced Sleep Phase Syndrome

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Advanced sleep phase syndrome (ASPS) is a circadian rhythm disorder in which an individual's natural sleep-wake cycle is shifted several hours earlier than the typical 24-hour day, causing them to fall asleep and wake up earlier than is socially acceptable. This can lead to difficulty staying awake in the evening and early morning hours, which can disrupt a person's work or social life.

Advanced sleep phase syndrome

Risk factors

ASPS can affect people of all ages, but it is more common in older adults. It is believed to be linked to genetics, as it often runs in families. Other factors that may contribute to the development of ASPS include exposure to bright light in the evening, irregular sleep schedules, and the use of electronic devices before bed.


Symptoms of ASPS include difficulty staying awake in the evening and early morning hours, fatigue, decreased alertness, and difficulty concentrating during the day. People with ASPS may also experience mood changes, such as irritability and depression, as a result of the disruption to their sleep-wake cycle.


Diagnosis of ASPS typically involves a sleep study that monitors a person's sleep-wake cycle over several days. Other tests, such as blood tests, may be done to rule out other potential causes of the symptoms.


Treatment for ASPS typically involves a combination of behavioral therapy and medication. Behavioral therapy may include implementing a strict sleep schedule, avoiding electronic devices before bed, and exposure to bright light in the evening. Medications such as melatonin or chronotherapy may also be used to help shift the sleep-wake cycle.

Frequently asked questions

  1. What causes advanced sleep phase disorder? Usually affecting the elderly, (unlike delayed sleep phase disorder that affects teenagers), the internal clock is set to much earlier.
  2. What is the biological clock and how does it affect the circadian rhythm? All living things have a biological clock that is influenced by the cycle of light and darkness that helps them adjust their sleep wake pattern as well as many body functions. In humans, the light enters the retina of the eyes and stimulates nerve impulses that travel along a pathway to the location in the brain called the internal clock that governs the circadian rhythms
  3. What functions does the biological clock control? The biological clock controls the timing of our circadian rhythms including our sleep patterns, feelings of alertness and sleepiness, our body temperature, hormonal secretion and body metabolism. The timing of our circadian rhythm or body clock plays a very important role in the timing of our sleep period.
  4. What are the symptoms of advanced sleep phase syndrome? A person feeling sleepier much earlier than the desired sleep time, fatigue, irritability, waking up earlier than desired, difficulty going back to sleep etc. are some of the symptoms of ASPS.
  5. Is advanced sleep phase syndrome treatable? Yes. Sleep physicians use a combination of treatments using bright light therapy and behavior modification, to help re-adjust the circadian rhythm to a later time.
  6. How do you treat advanced sleep phase syndrome? Evening Bright Light Therapy Exposure is an important tool sleep physicians use to help move the circadian rhythm to later. In addition to bright light therapy, exercise in the evening also helps delay the circadian rhythm and will allow more sleep in the morning.
  7. What is bright light therapy and how is it used to treat advanced sleep phase syndrome?Bright Light Therapy is the mainstay treatment for Advanced sleep-wake disorder where we use bright light of about 10 lux to help treat many circadian rhythm problems such as delayed sleep phase syndrome, advanced sleep phase syndrome, non-24 hour sleep phase syndrome etc.
  8. What are the side effects of bright light therapy?Side effects and adverse reactions to light therapy are rare and usually self-limiting. Patients should be informed that eyestrain, nausea, agitation, headache, and hypomania can occur with light treatment.
  9. What measures can I take to help adjust my internal clock if I have advanced sleep phase syndrome? Step 1. Do something active in the evening – for example, go for a walk or spend time outside in the garden. Keep the lights on in the evening while watching television. During winter, you may need an artificial light device such as a commercial light box or a bright desk lamp placed at about arms length from your face. Step 2. Do some light exercise early in the evening such as walking or stretching. Step 3. Avoid bright light in the mornings. If you wish to go outside, wear sunglasses for the first couple of hours. After a week or two you should experience being less sleepy in the early evening and being able to sleep in later in the morning with more total sleep
  10. What is familial advanced sleep phase syndrome? Familial advanced sleep phase syndrome is a condition that affects some families due to a genetic change. In 1999, Louis Ptáček's and Ying-Hui Fu's research group at the University of California, San Francisco reported findings of a human circadian rhythm disorder showing a familial tendency. The disorder was characterized by a lifelong pattern of sleep onset around 7:30 p.m. and offset around 4:30 a.m. Among three lineages, 29 people were identified as affected with this familial advanced sleep-phase disorder (FASPD), and 46 were considered unaffected. The pedigrees demonstrated FASPD to be a highly penetrant, autosomal dominant trait. Other terms related advanced sleep phase syndrome.

How can W8MD help?

At W8MD Weight Loss, Sleep and MedSpa, we understand the importance of treating sleep disorders such as ASPS. Our Sleep Medicine Program uses state-of-the-art technology, including convenient home sleep studies or in-lab sleep diagnostic studies, to diagnose and treat over 80 different sleep disorders, including ASPS. Our team of board-certified sleep medicine physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants work with each patient to develop an individualized treatment plan that addresses their unique sleep needs.

W8MD's other services

In addition to our sleep medicine program, we also offer a comprehensive weight loss program that can help patients manage other health conditions that may be contributing to their sleep disorders. Our physician-supervised weight loss program uses evidence-based strategies to help patients achieve and maintain a healthy weight, which can improve sleep quality and reduce the symptoms of sleep disorders such as ASPS.

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