There are people who are in Vietnam but live on American time. Not because they are lazy or fun, but their sleep clock might be out of sync. The reason is that there is a type of disorder called Delayed sleep phase disorder (abbreviated as DSPD) that is directly affecting the lives of many people, but not everyone knows about it.
What is this disorder?
Delayed sleep disorders are a kind of disorder that makes their circadian clock unlike most. Normally, a person will start the day around 6-7 am and end around 10 pm. However, for people with DSPD, their biological clock can “start a new day” at 12 noon, and go to bed at 4 am. The time which they feel wide awake is around midnight.
It can be said that for people with DSPD, their biological clock is usually at least 2 hours later than the majority for all activities related to sleeping and waking.
The main problem with people with DSPD often involves being forced to go to bed and waking up at a time that is too early for their biological clock, leading to uncontrollable fatigue during the day. Especially for people who work in the morning (from 8 or 9 am for example), their problems will be even more serious because they always fall into a cycle of sleep deprivation and fatigue.
Common symptoms of DSPD
People with DSPD often have the following symptoms:
- Do not feel sleepy at night, or feel tired but do not sleep until it’s almost morning.
- When forced to wake up in the morning, the body is tired.
- People can confuse DSPD and insomnia. However, people with DSPD have no trouble sleeping, as long as they stick to their biological clock.
According to the Sleep Health Foundation, the fact that each person’s “sleep clock” works differently may be due to the effect of a hormone called melatonin (a type of hormones that acts as a circadian clock). A person’s lifestyle can also affect a biological clock (for example, people working the night shift, or having to fly long flights).
So how do you get your sleep clock in sync?
The treatment of delayed sleep disorders will include many changes in the lifestyle of each person, as well as following the doctor’s advice. You can increase your interest in sleeping habits, limit caffeine before you go to bed, keep your bedtime consistent and use your bedroom for sleep only (for example, not working in bed).
In addition, light therapy can help you “correct” the biological clock, such as turning on a bright light when you’re awake up so your body will get used to morning activities sooner and be more alert.
The most important thing is that you will need to follow the plan, make sure you go to bed at the same time every night, and when the alarm clock rings in the morning, you will have to get up instead of sleeping in. To avoid spending weekends to make up for your sleep, check out our article: “How to repay sleep?”
After such a period of establishing the new sleeping habit, your body will gradually get used to the new lifestyle and your biological clock will gradually be “adjusted” to better fit your life.
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Reference source: Sleepio, Sleep Health Foundation