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A Teenage View During A Case Of Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome

by Rebeca

I'm 15 years old. I've heard many thoughts about the circadian rhythms affecting teens as well as other opinions on how electronic devices such as televisions, cellphones, computers send out waves and manage to keep us more alert. I usually sleep from 2am to 6am on school nights. I usually feel alert at night and even at 2 it still takes a bit of effort to fall asleep.

When 6 rolls in I feel completely alienated, I turn off the alarm immediately with a horrible feeling of having no strength in my muscles that makes it harder to get up and breathe deeply, really shallow breathing, having a sense of feeling "heavy" and feeling dizzy or with heavy eyelids in the morning. With that, I simply go back to sleep and wake up a couple of hours later. I go through the same routine everyday. So much that by the end of the week I don't have much energy to do anything, not even complete any studies due to lack of sleep and fatigue.

On weekends or during holidays, summer, etc. I still end up falling asleep around 2 am maybe even later, and wake up at around 12pm . It feels like I've finally caught up on some sleep but I still have the same feelings when waking up as I did at 6am. Theses sleeping patterns aren't very beneficial since it keeps me from doing many things.

I wish I could go to sleep at 11-12 , wake up at 6 and still feel refreshed and alert. I understand by reading some articles that a person my age needs about 8-9 hours of sleep.
That is not very possible for me and I don't think I could ever go to sleep any earlier. I've tried homeopathic remedies for sleeplessness and a hyperactive mind but it fails. In the morning I keep my curtains open so bright light shines through but it has no effect on me as I go back to a deep sleep not too long after waking up.

I have come to the conclusion that I do indeed have delayed sleep phase syndrome. Even with your helpful treatments I don't know if i'll ever get out of this mess.

I have also come to realize that I'm unable to relax at night to induce sleeping. During the past year to present I suffer from many anxiety attacks without any logical reason as to why they come. Now a days, I still get them, usually during the day but I'm not sure if that would have anything to do with my sleeplessness. At night I find myself thinking of the many things I have to do, and even dream about them sometimes. I plan to perhaps watch what I eat, specifically in the afternoon evening, so that I don't consume too much sugar or heavy food that might help keep me awake, try to just sit and relax 1 hour before my desired sleep time so that I will be more tired when the time comes, and expose my eyes to bright light therapy due to the fact that sleep debt is obviously not working for my case.

Any suggestions of what I can do to shake off the zombie like feelings in the morning and improve my sleep? I'm hopeless.

Comments for A Teenage View During A Case Of Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome

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Aug 22, 2011
Hiperactive mind
by: Hawkmoon

I think that anxiety attacks that your suffer is sure sign that you have very active mind that runs many different scenarios and that you get very occupied with different thought during your awake time. So perhaps trying to relax before sleeping is not a good idea for you, maybe you could try having a walk or jogging an hour before going to bed, and have your mind work on the subjects that bother you during walk. After that, have a mild cold shower to freshen up and then go to bed. Habitual behaviour could help your mind prepare for shutdown, so to speak.

Jan 12, 2012
i empathize NEW
by: Sara

It seems like you are doing all the right things. I can tell you by your writing you think about things very carefully and have an active mind. I went through the same kind of thing and now my 13 yr old daughter is experiencing it as well.

Once you mentioned the anxiety attacks though that is a red flag that there is more going on then you may realize. These kinds of things tend to start out as sleep disturbances and progress as we get older.

There's a lot of good information on the internet but it is not always a good idea to rely solely on self-diagnosis. In other words, you really should see a counselor to see if there is indeed more going on. I hope your parents can help you with this because that is an awful lot for a 15 yr old to figure out.

I sincerely pray for your healing, and God Bless.

Mar 02, 2012
may work! NEW
by: Anonymous

i have same problem. now im gonna try melatonin and make sure room is completely dark at night with no leds or lights flashing. also focus on shutting my mind down with a simple thought of sleep rest etc. in morning i will get up regardless of how i feel and get lots of light.
so far i think i can correct this disorder but it will take a couple of months.

Apr 17, 2012
I have the same problems NEW
by: Anonymous

I am 14 and have dsps. I am afraid to take pills so those are not an option. I do know that melatonin should not be taken just to sleep, try looking it up though. I don't have a huge sleep schedule because I am homeschooled so that helps. I have heard that tea (decaffinated) will help. Hope this helps.

Jan 05, 2013
i can very much relate NEW
by: Melly

Hi, i'm 15 and i think i have DSPS too. For all my life it has been a battle to all asleep. I have an active mind at night, and at times it feels like i'm going crazy. The funny thing is is that i can do fairly well with at least 5 hours of sleep, and on school days, its actually my average amount of sleep i get.
I've heard reading something boring like a textbook can help to make you fall asleep, i havn't tried it yet. Try writing about your day and thoughts/worries, it helps me but not on days where nothing really happens! If you don't like the actual action of using your hands to write on paper part, type it on a phone or computer with a black theme, it helps your eyes a lot.
Melatonin was suggested to me by my general doctor, and you don't need a prescription for it because it's very safe. It is non addictive and there is actually melatonin in your brain, its just more to help u sleep :) i take it half the time, but it makes me a bit drowsy in the morning, like my sleep is dragging on. Don't worry, so far, I see it's only happened to me :P

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