Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder – Everything You Need To Know

By on February 12, 2015

Nearly 7 to 13% of teenagers suffer from DSPS or Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder. This sleeping disorder was discovered by Elliot D. Weitzman in 1981.

If the patient is not diagnosed here they could suffer from insomnia later on. Mild cases of DSPD would occur when 2 hours of sleep have been delayed. However when the sleep delay is for more than 4 hours, the person would suffer from severe effects.

Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder

Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder Symtpoms

How do we know that a person is suffering from DSPD? The most commonly found delayed sleep phase disorder symtpoms are as follows:

  • The person will not be able to sleep at the most appropriate time and will complain that he is suffering from insomnia. Here he could be working long hours in front of the computer or speaking over the phone.
  • During the day he would feel sleepy as he has not slept well in the night. Here he will be unable to get up early morning and undertake any activities.
  • When you do not sleep well, you get irritated. Thus this could be the beginning of a behavior problem. This could lead to depression among teenagers.
  • When you do not sleep well, the general tendency is to use sedatives which are easily available. This could lead to addiction in prescription medications or even drug abuse.
  • For children the grades in his class would be low. In case of adults productivity in work would be low.
  • Lack of sleep might make him delusional and he might suddenly become an introvert.

Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder Diagnosis

In general, Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder is diagnosed with Actigraphy, or with sleep dairy of patient maintained for at least 3 weeks. Polysomnography is also used for diagnosis of Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder. But, this test is mainly conducted for ruling out other sleep disorders like insomnia, and sleep apnea.

In most of cases Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder is diagnosed improperly and dismissed. And it is mostly confused with insomnia, ADHD, depression, etc.

Managing Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder

Treatment of Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder is generally done by adjusting the sleep-awake timing, and also addressing the patient’s ability to sleep on their own. But, in most of the cases, treatment is not completely successful. For example patient may wake up at 10 or 10:30 instead of waking up in noon.

Some of the Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder treatment techniques used are

  • Light Therapy
  • Sleep Phase Chronotherapy
  • Melatonin
  • Medications like Modafinil, and Trazodone