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Why are Teenagers at More Risk for Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome?

Delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS) or phase lag syndrome is a type of circadian rhythm sleep disorder that is considered to be a chronic sleep condition. Most people who are actually suffering from delayed sleep phase syndrome mistakenly think that they are suffering from another sleep disorder, specifically insomnia. Since insomnia and delayed sleep phase syndrome have somewhat similar symptoms. However, delayed sleep phase syndrome is quite similar with symptoms of jet lag, but what makes it different from jet lag is that jet lag only affects a person for a short period of time, and delayed sleep phase syndrome is chronic and can persist for several months or even years. Anyone can get affected by delayed sleep phase syndrome.

DSPS in Teenagers

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Why are Teenagers at More Risk for Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome?

Teenagers have higher risks for developing delayed sleep phase syndrome due to the normal process of adolescence they are going through. Many parents are complaining regarding their teenagers not going to bed at a reasonable hour. What many parents do not know of is that their teenagers may not actually want to stay up late, but they really can’t go to bed early since they are already suffering from delayed sleep phase syndrome. During teenage years, there are actually many environmental factors, social factors, and other factors that can put or increase teenagers’ risks for the development of delayed sleep phase syndrome.

Teenagers’ Circadian Rhythm

As teenagers go through adolescent years, there will be a lot of changes that will happen inside the body, and one of which are changes to the normal cycle of the circadian rhythm or internal body clock. The onset of sleepiness and the timing of teenagers’ desire to sleep will change as they become adolescents, which can cause a delay to the coordination of the circadian rhythm to sleep during nighttime, and possibly resulting to delayed sleep phase disorder. In fact, it is actually common for teenagers to fall asleep very late at night and find it hard waking up early the next morning for school.

Causes of Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome in Teenagers

In every 10 teenagers, it is believed that 1 teenager is suffering from delayed sleep phase syndrome. Delayed sleep phase syndrome that affects teenagers will usually begin during the onset or start of puberty. Many cases of delayed sleep phase syndrome in teenagers may be caused by underlying genetic factors that can affect or alter the normal function of the hypothalamus, specifically the suprachiasmatic nucleus in the hypothalamus.

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