Can't Sleep Until 2 a.m. You May Have DSPS

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Do you struggle to fall asleep at night, no matter how early you try to go to bed? You might be dealing with a condition called "delayed sleep phase syndrome" or DSPS. This condition affects your circadian rhythm, which is your body's natural 24-hour cycle and a crucial aspect of your internal body clock. Individuals with DSPS tend to go to bed much later than desired, often facing difficulties falling asleep until the early morning hours, typically between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. Additionally, they encounter challenges waking up in the morning, leading others to perceive them as lazy or lacking motivation.

DSPS can persist for months or even decades, and it is particularly prevalent among adolescents. Many individuals with DSPS report its onset after periods of late-night studying, partying, or working evening or night shifts, disrupting their ability to return to a normal sleep schedule.

A Norwegian study conducted in 2013, involving around 10,000 adolescents aged 16 to 18, revealed that 3.3% of participants had DSPS, with a higher occurrence among girls. Moreover, DSPS has been identified as common among individuals with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Most treatments for DSPS are behavioral, involving strategies such as maintaining a consistent sleep schedule and gradually adjusting the timing of sleep and wake-up routines. Bright light exposure immediately after waking up is often recommended by doctors to help shift the sleep schedule. Another potential treatment involves the use of melatonin, a hormone associated with circadian rhythm regulation. While melatonin imbalance may contribute to DSPS, a genetic component might also play a role. Some individuals with DSPS may have extended circadian periods, indicating a difference in their natural sleep-wake cycle compared to the general population.


1- What is the impact of delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS) on individuals' perception by others?

2- According to the 2013 Norwegian study, what percentage of adolescents aged 16 to 18 had DSPS?

3- What is a recommended behavioral treatment for DSPS mentioned in the passage?


You have completed the comprehension questions. 

Parts of this lesson are based on: An article by Mike Kanert.