Delayed sleep-wake phase disorder, or DSWPD, is a sleep condition that is especially common in children and adolescents. It is also sometimes referred to as delayed sleep phase syndrome or DSPS. If you have trouble falling asleep and waking up at normal times, you may be dealing with delayed sleep-wake phase disorder.
Read on to learn more about delayed sleep-wake phase disorder, its symptoms, diagnosing DSWPD, and how you can treat it.
Delayed sleep phase syndrome can be described as a sleep disorder that causes someone’s sleep to be delayed by two hours or more. This delay is two hours or more than the conventional bedtime or the scheduled bedtime you create for yourself based on your lifestyle. When you’re consistently having trouble falling asleep and waking up at the right time, then delayed sleep-wake phase disorder could be the culprit.
Children who have this disorder may go to bed late on school nights, feel groggy when they wake up, and sleep in for a long time on weekends. An adult with the disorder may try to go to bed at a decent hour to be ready for work in the morning, but find themselves tossing and turning for hours before they can fall asleep, causing them to feel sleepy and fatigued at work the next day. People with delayed sleep-wake phase disorder may find that they’re more alert during the evening hours and at night.
Delayed sleep-wake phase disorder will have several symptoms that you may notice and that may help you diagnose the cause of your sleep difficulties.
These symptoms include:
The cause of delayed sleep phase syndrome is not completely clear. It is, however, a relatively common sleep disorder for children and adolescents. Some experts think that the disorder may be caused by the internal clock shifting after puberty, however, this may just be one potential cause.
As mentioned, this disorder is most commonly seen in adolescents and children. In rare cases, it can be seen with young adults and adults. With that being said, if you’re an adult, it’s likely that a different sleep disorder is the cause of your sleep difficulties.
Delayed sleep phase syndrome can have several effects on your health. When you’re not getting enough sleep, you can feel fatigued and have difficulties at work or school. Good quality sleep contributes to both our physical and mental health. It’s essential to get enough sleep so you are able to function normally in your daily life and so that you don’t increase your risk for adverse health effects.
Some of the consequences of lack of sleep include:
It can also increase your risk for various health conditions. Good sleep is essential at any age.
Delayed sleep-wake phase disorder is typically diagnosed by telling a doctor your symptoms. Keeping a sleep journal of your sleep habits can also help determine the nature of your sleep disorder. On occasion, a sleep study may be recommended to find out if any other sleep disorders could be the cause of your sleep problems.
As with many sleep disorders, delayed sleep-wake phase disorder is very treatable. Often, it can be treated by making lifestyle changes to promote better sleep. There are a few different treatments that may be recommended to treat delayed sleep phase syndrome.
Good sleep hygiene involves creating a comfortable sleep environment and forming healthy sleep habits. Good sleep hygiene can help those with delayed sleep-wake phase syndrome maintain a normal sleep schedule and fall asleep at the right time. Let’s look at some good sleep hygiene habits to form:
The sleep environment: Make sure the environment you’re sleeping in promotes sleep. This means that the room is dark, cool, and quiet. The bedding and mattress should also be comfortable.
Sleep habits: There are several good sleep habits that those with delayed sleep-wake phase disorder should form. These habits include:
When you’re treating delayed sleep-wake phase disorder, you’ll need to shift your bedtime to get your internal clock on track. This involves either shifting your internal clock forward or shifting it back.
Once a sleep schedule is determined, it’s important to stick to it as strictly as possible. The temptation to sleep in or stay up late on weekends and other days off can make this difficult, but prioritizing sleep is essential when you’re trying to treat a sleep disorder. Once you’re able to maintain your sleep schedule for an extended period, you’ll be able to fall asleep and wake up at the right time much more consistently without feeling groggy or drowsy.
Light therapy is a method that some people find helpful when dealing with delayed sleep-wake phase disorder. This exposes you to bright light to help your body adjust its circadian rhythm and get you back on track. If possible, it’s also a good idea to get a lot of natural light during the day. Your circadian rhythm is largely determined by light, so getting outside during the day can definitely help to get your sleep on track.
As a last resort, some people may try melatonin or other sleep supplements. The problem with these is that the side effects like grogginess may be worse than the side effects you’re already dealing with from your delayed sleep-wake phase disorder. If you’re looking for a no-pills, natural sleep solution, Sleep Reset can help.
Getting your sleep back on track can be difficult to do on your own. With Sleep Reset, you’ll get a personalized sleep program that is backed by science and proven sleep methods to help you fall asleep faster and wake up feeling rested. With Sleep Reset, there are no pills and no supplements, so there are no drowsy side effects to worry about.
Sleep Reset will assess your sleep needs and design your plan around your lifestyle and sleep problems. You’ll get access to our sleep app and sleep tracking, and you’ll also have your own dedicated sleep coach who will help you every step of the way.
Take our sleep assessment today to find out how Sleep Reset can help you sleep better and sleep deeper!