Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder (DSPD) is a condition in which the body’s internal clock is delayed several hours behind what society considers "normal." DSPD-ers can sleep normally and follow a consistent sleep schedule – just at a later time (such as 4 am to 11 am). As a circadian rhythm disorder (CRD), DSPD affects other daily rhythms such as those for body temperature, appetite, heart rate and blood pressure. DSPD is genetic; studies have linked it to various genes.
Circadian Sleep Disorders Network (CSDN), led by Dr. Peter Mansbach and James Fadden, has done a tremendous job of increasing awareness about DSPD and CRDs and is working to have them recognized more widely and by more medical organizations. For example, one of CSDN's current initiatives is to have the National Institute of Health (NIH) add DSPD to the sleep section of its website.
DSPD-ers suffer from "social jet lag," a term coined by Til Roenneberg, a Munich-based chronobiologist. It is a perfectly descriptive term: DSPD-ers are out of sync with the rest of society. After struggling to keep their eyes open during daytime activities because their bodies are convinced it is the middle of the night, in the late afternoon and evening, DSPD-ers feel more energetic, sharper, and in cases like mine, just plain happier.
DSPD wreaks havoc on sufferers' work life, school life and social life - which can cause anxiety, depression, prescription drug dependencies and a myriad of other problems. More awareness of this intractable condition IS DESPERATELY NEEDED.