If you are parents of a teenager, then you know that they often do not want to get out of bed in the morning. Sometimes the causes are obvious — late nights with friends, staying up too late playing video games or texting, studying for a massive test — but if every day seems to be a battle when it comes to rousing your teen from bed, there may be something else going on.
Teens are “wired” differently from the rest of us. Their energy and alertness tends to peak in the evening and they gravitate toward sleeping in. They also need more sleep than children and adults — eight to nine hours — though few get that full amount. But for some teens, their sleep cycle has made a real shift, one that puts them literally out of sync with the rest of the world. This shift is called delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS), and if it’s not diagnosed and addressed, not only will morning battles continue, but your teen may really struggle with school, work and activities. Let’s talk about DSPS and how it can be managed.
What is delayed sleep phase syndrome or DSPS?
DSPS is a sleep disorder where a person’s circadian rhythm or sleep/wake cycle is delayed from the typical day/night cycle. This delay is usually two hours or more beyond the conventional bedtime and it can cause difficulty when it comes to a person then waking up at the desired time. For example, rather than falling asleep at 10 p.m. and waking at 6:30 a.m., a teen with DSPS won’t fall asleep until well after midnight and then will have a hard time waking at 6:30 a.m. for school.
Many teens with DSPS describe themselves as “night owls” and say they perform best during the evening and nighttime hours.
When DSPS starts to interfere with school, work and having a normal life, then it is called delayed sleep phase disorder (DSPD).
What causes DSPS?
The exact cause is unknown but approximately 7 percent to 16 percent of adolescents have it. Researchers believe that…