Delayed sleep phase syndrome

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Delayed sleep-phase disorder (DSPD), also known as delayed sleep-phase syndrome (DSPS) or delayed sleep-phase type (DSPT), is a circadian rhythm sleep disorder, a chronic disorder of the timing of sleep, peak period of alertness, the core body temperature rhythm, hormonal and other daily rhythms, compared to the general population and relative to societal requirements. People with DSPD generally fall asleep some hours after midnight and have difficulty waking up in the morning.

Often, people with the disorder report that they cannot sleep until early morning, but fall asleep at about the same time every "night". Unless they have another sleep disorder such as sleep apnea in addition to DSPD, patients can sleep well and have a normal need for sleep. Therefore, they find it very difficult to wake up in time for a typical school or work day. If, however, they are allowed to follow their own schedules, e.g. sleeping from 4 a.m. to noon, they sleep soundly, awaken spontaneously, and do not experience excessive daytime sleepiness.

The syndrome usually develops in early childhood or adolescence. An adolescent version disappears in adolescence or early adulthood; otherwise DSPD is a lifelong condition. Depending on the severity, it can be to a greater or lesser degree treatable. Prevalence among adults, equally distributed among women and men, is approximately 0.15%, or 3 in 2,000.