Do you typically find it challenging to fall asleep at a reasonable time? Do you stay up too late or lie in bed with a racing mind for hours on end? Well, you may have a disorder called Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome (DSPS).
DSPS is a sleep disorder in which the cycle of sleep and wakefulness in a person’s 24-hour day is significantly delayed. The clock-dependent alerting mechanism in our brains releases a hormone that gives us energy; people that suffer from DSPS have this occur in a very delayed manner. This causes individuals to have an incredibly challenging time awakening for their morning responsibilities. This disorder can have a very negative impact on your day-to-day life causing your mood to change along with your level of alertness.
People that suffer from DSPS do not have a difficult time staying asleep once they fallen asleep, just getting to sleep and then having the energy to get back out of bed after sleeping for only a short period of time. People that suffer from DSPS may feel exhausted in the morning hours, ready for a nap in the afternoon, and waking up about the time they get home from work, if they have a nine to five job.
Light therapy has become a fairly popular tool for managing DSPS. The patient must allow extra time in their morning routine to sit in front of a light box full of fluorescent lights. The bright light will advance the biological clock and help the patient get into a better sleep schedule. Some patients will need to continue the treatment indefinitely while others may get to a point where they only have to use the lamp every third week.