What is Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome?
Delayed sleep phase syndrome is a health condition in which sleep is postponed by more than two hours farther than the customary bedtime. This postponement in falling asleep leads to trouble in arousing up at the preferred moment. For instance, rather than falling asleep at ten o’clock pm and getting up at six thirty am, a person suffering from DSPS will fall asleep later in twelve midnight and have extreme trouble waking up to go to work or school.
Most of the people who have DSPS seem to be night owls and they say that they do well or are most attentive in the evening or at night. Their sleep log would reveal short periods of sleep during the week of school or work and long periods of sleep during weekend. During weekend they will usually wake up from late morning to mid afternoon.
Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome Causes
The precise origin of this health problem is idiopathic or unknown. Nevertheless, about seven to 16 out of 100 teenagers are suffering from DSPS. Therefore, it is a typical health condition. Experts believe that DSPS may be an overstated response to the standard alteration in the body clock that is found in teenagers following puberty.
It is necessary to know that this behavior is not intentional. DSPS most usually happens during teenage years.
Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome Symptoms
Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome has the following symptoms:
- Lack of ability to fall asleep at the most wanted time. This typically shows like insomnia. It may be worsen by doing school works, internet use, cell phone use, etc. that may keep teenagers to fall asleep late.
- Lack of ability to get up at the most wanted time and extreme sleepiness during the day. Normally this is the most usual chief complaint since it is more obvious than the insomnia at night. People who have DSPS usually suffer from extreme sleepiness during the day due to not getting adequate sleep because of the need to get up early for school or work during weekdays.
- Usually there are no other sleep disorders. If it does not make difficult by other sleep problems, people who have DSPS sleep soundly during the night with few or no waking ups. They merely have a change in their body clock or delaying it later by two or more hours. Maintaining sleep is not the problem.
- People who have DSPS may also suffer from depression and behavioral disorders. They may have depression and other psychological disorders involving behavioral disorders because of extreme sleepiness during the day and being absent in school. Daytime sleepiness can also result to poor grades in school from being absent, late or being inattentive. In some they become dependent on caffeine, alcohol or sedatives.
Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome Diagnosis
The basis to diagnose if someone has DSPS is simply based on the manifestations of symptoms and reports on the sleep logs. At times, an actigraph may be utilized to test the rest-activity patterns. Actigraph is non-invasive and looks like a wristwatch device. A polysomnogram may be suggested to exclude any other sleep problems if there is a history that can suggest other sleep problems.
Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome Treatment
Treatment for DSPS can involve the following:
1. Good sleep routine.
- Maintain a good sleep routine and keep a constant sleep schedule.
- Have a scheduled time for sleeping and waking up and try very hard to sleep and wake at these times.
- Avoid consuming products containing caffeine such as coffee, tea, cola, energy drinks, chocolates and some drugs.
- Avoid stimulants that can delay sleep such as alcohol, sleeping pills and nicotine.
- Keep a cool, quiet and comfortable bedroom.
- Avoid performing stimulating tasks before bedtime such as computer games and TV.
2. Changing the schedule for bedtime.
This is further subdivided into two. It can be either advancing or delaying the body clock.
2a) Advancing the body clock
This simply means that you have to move the bedtime earlier repeatedly each night until the preferred time for bedtime is attained. For instance, scheduling the bedtime at twelve midnight on one night and then scheduling it 11:45 pm on the succeeding night, 11:30 pm on the next night and so on.
2b) Delaying the body clock
This simply means that you have to move the bedtime successively one to three or more hours later on sequential nights until the preferred bedtime is attained. This will need some days free from activities and may be best tried while on a long school vacation. The reason for this method is that it is less difficult for someone to modify to a later bedtime compare to an earlier bedtime.
3. Be motivated to stay with the sleep habit.
- It is really necessary not to free yourself from your objectives throughout weekends and holidays.
- Keeping to firm sleeping and waking times maintain the body clock in control, but does not treat the predisposition for DSPS.
- Once the preferred bedtime is attained, the person must remain in motivation and stay with sleeping at the preferred bedtime every night in order to reorganize the body clock.
- Following few months of staying to the sleep habit can there be several elasticity permitted on particular times.
4. Using a bright light.
- Some doctors suggest the use of bright light, which needs the acquisition of particular light box.
- Using a bright light for about half an hour in the morning facilitates the body clock’s reset.
- Diminished exposure to bright light during the night may also help.