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Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome: Common Signs & Treatments

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It’s becoming increasingly common for people’s sleeping routines to go out of sync in today’s world. As a result, it has led to more cases of delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS) and delayed sleep phase disorder (DSPD).

Many people who have DSPS or DSPD are also completely unaware that they have a problem. If you’ve been worried about your sleeping routine and whether you have one of these issues, check out our post to learn about what these sleeping problems are, the differences between them, and how you can treat them.

What Is Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome?

Delayed sleep phase syndrome happens among people who wake up or go to sleep approximately two hours outside of their natural sleep/wake cycle hours. By going out of sync by just a couple of hours, your circadian rhythm can be thrown off.

Your circadian rhythm is your body’s natural internal body clock that tells you when to go to sleep and when to wake up every day. People who have DSPS usually fall asleep between the hours of 1 and 4 AM and wake up anywhere from 8 to 11 AM.

If you’re someone who has a lifestyle that allows you to be more free with when you wake up and go to sleep, then DSPS may not seem like such a big issue to you. However, if you have time commitments where you have to be up and out every morning, the effects of DSPS on your overall health and energy will be more noticeable.

More and more people are suffering from DSPS and knowing what the signs are is critical to ensuring that you can prevent it from having too much of a negative impact on your health.

What Is Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder?

Delayed sleep phase disorder (DSPD) happens when your circadian rhythm is so out of sync that it causes you to have problems carrying out daily functions. One of the biggest signs of DSPD is suffering from not being able to wake up and get out of bed on time in the morning.

As a result, the task of getting to work or school for a certain time becomes more difficult. Delayed sleep phase disorder and depression commonly get linked too. It has been found that people with DSPD become diagnosed with depression or insomnia.

One of the reasons why people commonly get misdiagnosed with depression when they have DSPD is because they tend to feel drowsy and unmotivated. This causes a general lack of excitement or energy when it comes to most activities in your life. 

Ways To Treat DSPD

If you’re concerned that you have DSPD and the above symptoms of the condition seem very familiar to you, there are several choices available to you when it comes to treatments. The best treatments for the problem are simpler and focused on you making changes to your daily habits to sleep better again.

One of the common problems among people disrupting the quality of their sleep is a high intake of caffeine. Therefore, a great way to help treat DSPD is to reduce or completely cut out caffeine.

Caffeine can last for up to 6 or more hours in your system which means consuming it in the afternoon and evening can negatively impact your ability to fall asleep earlier and quicker.

Light therapy for delayed sleep phase disorder is another treatment option that has still yet to be backed up by solid evidence. However, doctors have been feeling very confident in using light treatment as a way to help with DSPD, so, it’s something you may want to consider.

When you have light therapy treatment, you’ll be put close to a bright light being emitted from a device that has been made to look like sunlight. This is done in an attempt to encourage your brain to release chemicals and hormones that are linked with making you feel sleepy and improving your mood.

Making sure that you stick to consistent sleep and wake routine every day is one of the other most effective and simple treatment methods. It may take a while for you to get used to trying to sleep at an earlier time.

However, once you start waking up earlier, you’ll start to feel more tired towards bedtime due to having a lack of sleep which can make it gradually easier for you to sleep earlier and faster every night.


Many people go through periods in their lives where their quality of sleep diminishes. However, be sure to consider the different elements of your life and pinpoint the factors that could be causing you to have sleeping problems.

This could include reducing or eliminating your caffeine intake or trying your best to avoid irregular sleeping schedules. On the other hand, people who have more serious cases of DSPS or DSPD for prolonged periods should seek medical help from a professional.

Hopefully, the information found throughout our post has proven useful in aiding you with DSPD and DSPS so that you can know the common signs and get a better idea of how to go about getting the right treatment.

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