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Overview of Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome (DSPS)

The circadian rhythm is responsible for regulating a person’s various chemical balance and a person’s normal sleep and wake cycle. In an event there is something wrong or abnormal with the normal sleep and wake cycle due to an alteration in the normal functioning of the circadian rhythm, then the condition can be referred as a circadian rhythm sleep disorder. There are several types of circadian rhythm sleep disorder and one of which is what we call the Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome (DSPS) or Phase Lag Syndrome, as others call it.

What Happens in a Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome?

Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome (DSPS)

In a delayed sleep phase syndrome, there will be alterations, specifically significant delays in a person’s 24-hour day cycle of sleep and wakefulness. In other words, a person suffering from delayed sleep phase syndrome finds it hard to fall asleep early at night due to a significant delay of certain hormonal release that can keep the body active.

Jet Lag and Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome

There are some people who think that they are suffering from jet lag, even if they are already suffering from delayed sleep phase syndrome. What makes delayed sleep phase syndrome different from jet lag is that DSPS is a persistent circadian rhythm disorder. Delayed sleep phase syndrome can persist for months, unlike jet lag that usually lasts for only several days.

Desynchronization and Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome

Desynchronization is the term given to the mismatch of a person’s internal biological clock or the circadian rhythm to his or her environment. In delayed sleep phase syndrome, the desynchronization is not caused by travelling across different time zones or sudden changes in the external environment, it is caused by a person’s ability to fall asleep at the right time at night according to the normal sleeping time of other people. People suffering from delayed sleep phase syndrome find it hard to fall asleep before 2 o’clock in the morning most of the time, making it hard for them to wake up early in the morning, which can really affect their functionality during the day especially when they do not get 7 to 8 hours of restful sleep during the night.

Insomnia and Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome

Commonly, delayed sleep phase syndrome is mistaken to be insomnia, the most common sleep disorders that cause difficulty in falling asleep and staying asleep. However, in the case of delayed sleep phase syndrome, a person with DSPS can actually get enough hours of sleep unlike in insomnia. DSPS can only cause a delayed onset of sleep in relation with the normal sleeping time and not difficulties in staying or maintaining sleep.