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

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Do you find yourself lying awake in bed for hours at night, struggling to sleep, regardless of how early you attempt to go to bed? You might be dealing with a condition known as "delayed sleep phase syndrome" (DSPS), characterized by disruptions in the circadian rhythm, the body's innate 24-hour cycle and a fundamental component of the internal body clock. Individuals with DSPS exhibit a tendency to go to bed considerably later than intended, experiencing difficulties falling asleep until the early morning hours, typically ranging from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. Moreover, they encounter challenges in waking up in the morning, leading to perceptions of laziness or a lack of motivation.

DSPS can persist for extended durations, spanning months or even decades, and it is notably prevalent among adolescents. Many individuals with DSPS attribute its onset to periods of late-night studying, socializing, or engaging in evening or night shifts, disrupting their ability to revert to a conventional sleep schedule.

A 2013 Norwegian study involving approximately 10,000 adolescents aged 16 to 18 disclosed a DSPS prevalence of 3.3%, with a higher incidence among girls. Additionally, DSPS has been identified as a common occurrence among individuals diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

The primary treatments for DSPS are behavioral, encompassing strategies such as adhering to a consistent sleep schedule and gradually modifying the timing of sleep and wake-up patterns. Medical professionals may recommend bright light exposure immediately upon waking to facilitate a shift in the sleep schedule. Another therapeutic avenue involves the administration of melatonin, a hormone associated with circadian rhythm regulation. While melatonin imbalance may contribute to DSPS, a genetic component could also play a role. Individuals with DSPS may exhibit extended circadian periods, signifying a deviation in their natural sleep-wake cycle compared to the general population.


1- How is delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS) described in terms of the circadian rhythm?

2- What role does melatonin play in the treatment of DSPS?

3- According to the passage, what is a possible cause of DSPS besides late-night activities?


You have completed the comprehension questions. 

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