Delayed Sleep Phase

1 What is Delayed Sleep Phase?

Delayed sleep phase is a sleep disorder  in which the sleep pattern is delayed by two or more hours from a normal sleep pattern.

This causes a person to sleep later and wake up later.

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2 Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of delayed sleep phase include:

  • Insomnia
  • Inability to wake up at the desired time
  • Depression and psychiatric problems as a result of daytime drowsiness

3 Causes

The exact cause of delayed sleep phase is not known.

It is believed to be caused by an exerggerated reaction to the normal shift in the internal clocks that is seen in adolescents after puberty.

4 Making a Diagnosis

Diagnosis of delayed sleep phase consists of evaluating symptoms and a medical history especially of the sleeping patterns of a patient.

An autograph, a wrist-like device can be used to confirm rest-activity rhythms. Another test that can be used is a polysomnogram.

This ia an overnight sleep study to rule out the presence of any other sleeping disorders.

Doctors may also ask patients to keep a record of the sleep patterns.

5 Treatment

Treatments for delayed sleep phase include:

  • Improving the sleep hygiene by avoiding caffeine and stimulating activities before going to bed.
  • Chronotherapy. This ia a treatment in which doctors prescribe a sleep schedule that delays a patients bedtime by two or three hours every two days until the desired bedtime is reached.
  • Light therapy in which light exposure is used  in the morning  to adjust a patient's internal sleep clock (circadian rhythm).
  • Giving patients melatonin supplements which can be taken in the afternoon or early evening.
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