Do you struggle to get out of bed in the morning? Do you feel tired and slow all morning, even if you got a good sleep the night before? Maybe you’re not a morning person, but it could be you have a sleep phase disorder.
Humans have an in-built “biological clock”, which tells us when our body is tired. This clock actually works on a 25 hour cycle, but the change from light to dark helps our bodies to fall asleep at the right times. That is, unless you have a sleep phase disorder.
Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder
If you struggle to wake up in the morning and regularly sleep through your alarm, you might be suffering from delayed sleep phase disorder. Your biological clock has fallen out of sync, and you fall asleep late and wake late. The sleep you do have, however, is restful, but you may feel sleepy during the day (especially the morning), struggle to remember things or concentrate for long periods of time, and suffer from headaches.
Sleep phase disorder is believed to be quite common, but most people who have it don’t go to a sleep clinic.
Delayed sleep phase disorder commonly begins in childhood and reaches its peak during the teenage years. It’s also common in people who suffer from depression.
It frequently begins during childhood and is most common during adolescence. These symptoms are also seen in people suffering from depression.
Advanced Sleep Phase Disorder
Like Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder, if you suffer from Advanced Sleep Phase Disorder, your biological clock has fallen out of sync. You will find yourself falling asleep before 9pm and waking up at around 3-5am, unable to fall back asleep.
Advanced Sleep Phase Disorder occurs mostly in elderly people, and doctors believe it may not be a disorder at all, but a common affect of the aging process.
Treating Sleep Phase Disorders
To treat a sleep phase disorder, you can use light therapy; using bright, artificial lights in the morning and blocking light in the evening to reconfigure the sleep cycle. You can buy these light boxes from specialist medical suppliers.