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Chronotherapy for Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome

Delayed sleep phase syndrome or DSPS is a type of circadian rhythm sleep disorder. The problem with delayed sleep phase syndrome is not on the alteration of a person’s quality of sleep, but it is only on the onset of sleep a person can get. In delayed sleep phase syndrome, onset of sleepiness will occur very late at night in accordance to the conventional time of sleeping in his or her present time zone is the main symptom. To make it simpler, instead of falling asleep at 8 pm to 10 pm, a person suffering from delayed sleep phase syndrome falls asleep not earlier than 12:00 midnight.

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Chronotherapy for Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome

As mentioned above, there are no problems or alterations in a person’s quality of sleep when he or she is suffering from delayed sleep phase syndrome. The only problem with DSPS is that a person suffering from it will find it hard to wake up early in the morning the next day, since he or she fell asleep very late during the night. Proper functioning during the day can really be affected with delayed sleep phase syndrome. However, if there is no need for a person to wake up early in the morning (no work, no classes, no other responsibilities), then there will be no problems that can arise.

Chronotherapy for Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome

Back in the year 1981, chronotherapy was first used to help and treat delayed sleep phase syndrome. Chronotherapy is a type of treatment therapy that is aimed to help adjust or manipulate the patient’s normal sleep wake cycle and change the patient’s usual circadian rhythm cycle. Chronotherapy can interfere with some ongoing medications for other medical disorders. It is very important to seek consult to a physician that is experienced and knowledgeable in using chronotherapy together with other medical treatments.

How is Chronotherapy Done?

The patient undergoing chronotherapy is given a sleep schedule. The sleep schedule lets the patient goes to bed and wakes up 3 hours later than his or her sleep and wake schedule the other night. The progressive advancement of the patient’s 3 hours in every sleeping and waking time will be done until the patient moves around the 24 hour clock and can consistently fall asleep early. Here is a sample sleep schedule in chronotherapy for delayed sleep phase disorder.

  • 1st night of therapy: Sleep at 3 am, Wake at 11 am
  • 2nd night of therapy: Sleep at 6 am, Wake at 2 pm
  • 3rd night of therapy: Sleep at 9 am, Wake at 5 pm
  • 4th night of therapy: Sleep at 12 pm, Wake at 8 pm
  • 5th night of therapy: Sleep at 3 pm, Wake at 11 pm
  • 6th night of therapy: Sleep at 6 pm, Wake at 2 am
  • 7th night of therapy: Sleep at 9 pm, Wake at 5 am

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