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What is Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome?

Hundreds of millions of people all around the world are affected by Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome (DSPS), every single day of their lives, irrespective of which age, demography or gender they belong to. They feel tired all day, as It prevents people from getting to sleep at a “normal” time. What happens is that they can’t fall asleep until very late. If they could have it their way, they would sleep most of the duration of the entire day be absolutely satisfied with that routine, but that doesn’t bode will with other family member’s lives. It’s a constant struggle, like pushing a boulder up a hill. You never get ahead. As, it takes the same amount of energy in pushing up one boulder up a hill, and at the same time pushing a hundred of them down the same hill.


Now, Here is an Obvious solution:

Some people facing such a disorder claim that your body clock can be set if you get yourself used to sleeping at a “fixed” time. Suppose, if you lived in a box with no clock? Regardless of time such as night/day, you would get used to sleeping in a pattern. Now  practice this with actual time and finally, you are going to sleep at a normal time.


Antidote is Experimentally Proven Incorrect:

A study has showed that when about a 100 people were put in a building with no windows or clocks, and told to just sleep when they got tired. Most of them got themselves on a 26 hour schedule, only after about two weeks,. It’s not as simple as just being on the wrong schedule. People with (DSPS) tend to fight continuously to keep up with a 24 hour sleep interval.


Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome: A Story

This is a true situation of my friend as described by himself..

Most people who know me, know me as a night person, a night owl. It is someone who goes to sleep in the early or late parts of the morning, sleeps most of the day, and gets up sometime in the afternoon. Most people who know me have accepted that, its just the way I am. But I’m not sure they understand why I am this way. Some people think that this is because I don’t work, I’m a stay at home dad and, I don’t have a nine to five job. Because I would otherwise lay around all day doing nothing. They say,”If you had a job you could go back on to a normal rhythm.”


That’s not true. There are millions of people who have nine to five jobs, and who suffer from delayed sleep phase syndrome, and they are tired every single day of their lives. They are up 2 O’Clock in the morning, they can’t sleep! Once they get to sleep the damn alarm goes off. They got to go to work. They work all day, exhaust themselves, they can’t sleep, they can’t get to bed till 2 O’Clock in the morning, once again. And people suffer from this delayed sleep phase syndrome, most of their lives.


I for one, have been a victim of this for most of my life. Ever since I was in High School, which is 25 to 27 years ago. I have been a victim of this delayed sleep phase syndrome, don’t know what it was. But I would be up 2 o clock in the morning, playing my guitar, recording a song, doing something, and had to wake up 7:30 or 8 O’Clock in the morning to go to school and became tired, couldn’t function all day. I couldn’t study and my grades slipped as a result. I often used to fell asleep in the English class in the afternoon. Came home from school and basically, by that time wasn’t tired anymore because, sometime in the afternoon my body switches to , “Oh, I want to be awake now.”

Is this your condition condition too?


So, I would spend the rest of the day awake and then I would be up once again at 1 O’Clock or 2 O’Clock in the morning bright eye and bushy tailed, not knowing what to do. And for four years in High School it way the same way. When I went to college, same thing. I would go to school, come home and go back to bed.

It is not fun and it is not an easy thing to fix. Maybe you can try:

  • Going to bed earlier
  • Getting up earlier.
  • Staying awake for 24 hours or even longer, and when bed time comes around, going to bed
  • Trying bright light therapy


I have tried staying up the entire day, and not going to bed at all, but it doesn’t work because my body says,”No, its not the time, you are not tired.”

In this Bright Light Therapy they talk about, you get up in the morning and stare at this bright light for an hour. I haven’t done it, because I can’t stand bright light. I hate it. In fact, I use shades over my lights throughout the house. Bright lights pisses me off, even when I’m not looking at them.

I do want to communicate with other people who have Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome. Do comment on this blog post.

Many, many people suffer from this disorder. Many of them are less fortunate than others. My wife works every day, very hard, and I myself have an income that comes from a support that helps ‘visually impaired people’. So, I can get away without working. If I had to work, it would be terrible. I have had this problem for many years. I have managed to fix it many, many times, but It just goes right back to “normal” again. Basically, that is the way it is now, which is like, “I don’t want to tell you what time I’m writing this right right now, but it looks like morning.

It’s not that I’m lazy, It’s not that I’m a bum. I use the time that I’m awake to be productive. I’m trying to do good things for my family. Trying to do good things during the hours that I’m awake, and they’re all sleeping. If I walk outside and walk down the streets, everybody is asleep – Its desolate out there. It’s actually quite lonely. You are by yourself most of the time. If you could see through the walls of the houses, while you pass by, you would see that everybody is sleeping, snoring away, but not me. No way! I’m wide awake.

The delayed sleep phase syndrome is not something that is easy to cure, its not easy to deal with. It’s not what most people understand. Because they think that you are lazy, that you are a bum. I have been hounded by many people. “Come on, get your ass out of bed. Start to go to bed earlier, you need to go to bed earlier.” (Not my wife, by the way. She’s been very patient.)

I have seen other people like my wife, she may stay awake someday with a friend, she may get two or three hours sleep on a day and go to work the next day. I’m sure she’s tired, but she functions throughout the day. On such a day, she just comes home, she goes to sleep early that night, and gets up next day right on time.

At the end of the day, you sometimes start to wonder: the day-time is so harsh, and night time is so beautiful and pleasant. Who would want to sleep through it?

One Comment

  1. I am constantly fighting this delayed sleep phase syndrome. Even after I manage to fix it I again mess it up…