Delayed sleep phase syndrome
Do you consider yourself to be a night owl? Do you like staying up late and work at night? Is working late at night effective for you? Then you might be suffering from the so called delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS), but you may not know it.
“I Can’t Sleep” – What is DSPS?
Delayed sleep phase syndrome is the inability to fall asleep at desired time, much like insomnia. But the difference between the two issues is that with DSPS people are able to fall asleep eventually, whereas with insomnia a good night sleep is not achievable. Patients with DSPS are able to fall asleep late in the night / early in the morning and as a result of they cannot get up in the morning at their desired time. This can be a real issue. Missing school or being late for work is never productive.
About 15% of adults are affected by delayed sleep phase syndrome, but 90% of them will not realise it. DSPS was discovered and acknowledged in 1981, before that DSPS was often misdiagnosed for insomnia.
There are ways to recover from delayed sleep phase syndrome. One way is to try and maintain a healthy sleep schedule, meaning going to bed before midnight, preferably at 10 in the evening. 1 to 2 hours prior to going to bed no television or computer use is advised. This way your body can prepare for a resting session. Read a good book instead of watching TV or using the internet.
It can be difficult and ineffective for you to suddenly go to bed at 10 in the evening (because you will not be able to fall asleep for a long time), so a step-by-step approach is advised. Every night go to bed 30 minutes earlier than the night before and wake up 30 minutes earlier than you did the morning before. Repeating this process will allow you to adjust your sleeping schedule effectively and hopefully help you recover from delayed sleep phase syndrome.
Other methods are more advanced and usually require help from your personal doctor.