I tend to tell people who wonder why I only sleep a couple of hours a night and am generally up until 3-4 AM that I have suffered from insomnia since my childhood. The truth, however, is that I’m not in actuality insomniac, but have developed a severe case of delayed sleep-phase disorder when I was about eight.
Delayed sleep-phase syndrome??(DSPS), also known as??delayed sleep-phase disorder??(DSPD) or??delayed sleep-phase type??(DSPT), is a??circadian rhythm sleep disorder, a chronic disorder of the timing of sleep, peak period of alertness, the??core body temperature??rhythm,??hormonal??and other daily rhythms relative to societal requirements. People with DSPS generally fall asleep some hours after midnight and have difficulty waking up in the morning.
Often, people with the disorder report that they cannot sleep until early morning, but fall asleep at about the same time every “night”. Unless they have another??sleep disorder??such as??sleep apnea??in addition to DSPS, patients can sleep well and have a normal need for sleep. Therefore, they find it very difficult to wake up in time for a typical school or work day. If, however, they are allowed to follow their own schedules, e.g. sleeping from 4 a.m. to noon, they sleep soundly, awaken spontaneously, and do not experience??excessive daytime sleepiness.
The syndrome usually develops in early childhood or adolescence.??An adolescent version disappears in adolescence or early adulthood; otherwise DSPS is a lifelong condition. Depending on the severity, it can be to a greater or lesser degree treatable. Prevalence among adults, equally distributed among women and men, is approximately 0.15%, or 3 in 2,000.
I regularly can’t fall asleep. ??
I often can’t fall asleep even when I feel tired. ??
Once asleep, I generally sleep through the night just fine. ??
It’s nearly impossible for me to wake up early in the morning. ??
Pulling an all-nighter is surprisingly easy for me. ??
I generally direct my lifestyle to avoid morning commitments.