I’m pretty certain that I have DSPS (Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome/Disorder). In a nutshell, my circadian rhythm is delayed so that I can’t fall asleep until usually around 2 am, and I don’t want to wake up until 10-11 am.
Hang on, you say. Isn’t that what ALL teenagers are like?
Well, it is true that in the teen years circadian rhythms shift to later times, but normally teens would be able to adjust to a 10 pm to 6 am schedule (or at least somewhere close to that). Most teens who don’t sleep until the early morning hours probably do so because they got into the habit. I had always been a night owl, but I remember that roughly a couple years ago (I was probably 13), I suddenly found it much more difficult to go to sleep until after 12. I suppose that was when it developed. For some people, DSPS affects them from birth, and for others, it develops in early adolescence, or (rarely) early adulthood.
There are ways to temporarily set the sleep time back; light therapy, melatonin pills, etc. Light therapy, I’ve discovered, works wonders for me. I figured this out on accident when we went on vacation to Florida and I was spending most of the day out in the sun. I started becoming tired at roughly 9 pm, and waking every day at roughly 7 am without being woken by someone else. But as soon as we returned and I got back to my usual indoorsy lifestyle, the normal late sleep times resumed.
In contrast to some people with DSPS, I can function fine with less than preferred sleep (ex. 5 hours, which is what I usually get on a school day. I once got only 3 hours and did fine). Although since my private school has only two days a week, Monday and Wednesday, I get time to sleep in between. Perhaps if it was a 5 day week it would eventually weigh me down.
Official research on DSPS is still few and far between, and most doctors don’t know about its existence. Often times, it’s misdiagnosed as insomnia, or written off as laziness.
I’m not 100% certain that I have DSPS (mostly because of my before-mentioned ability to do fine on little sleep, where I read a lot about people with DSPS falling asleep in school, or needing to be dragged out of bed), but most of the criteria fits. I’ll just have to keep testing it out.
(Edit: I’m now pretty sure that I don’t have DSPS. I’m adding this because people are still liking/reblogging this, and I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea. If you want to like/reblog it anyway, go ahead. But know that I probably don’t have DSPS.)