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DSPS Is Ruining My Life

by Sir Denis Nayland Smith
(Toronto, Ontario, Canada)


Since about the age of twelve or thirteen I have had problems waking up on time for school, I was always getting in trouble for being late to school and I never found it easy to wake up on time. During the summer my sleeping patterns would always revert to pattern of going to sleep around 4-5am and waking up some time in the afternoon, after about 8 hours on my own, with no aid from alarms and feeling refreshed. It led to numerous problems in high school, ending in failing most of my morning classes. I think since grade 6 I managed to have one solid month of being able to go to sleep and wake up on time..

Well I am now twenty three. I work a full time job and my hours are *supposed* to be 7-5, and I have ALWAYS found it hard to wake up and thankfully I am incredibly good at what I do and my boss allows it to "slide", even though he does not like it. The past 6 months it has gotten incredibly bad, to the point where I get into work around 12-2pm because I cannot fall into a "proper" sleep cycle. I have tried everything, melatonin, warm milk, sleeping pills.. My mind is so alert and racing at night, even if I have been sleep deprived and awake for 30+ hours

I have always said that if I am allowed to sleep as I wish, I fall asleep between 5-6am and wake up at 12-2pm, without issue, without aid, feeling fully refreshed and ready for the day - even before I stumbled onto this DSPS business.

To make matters worse, even sleep depriving myself does not work. I awoke yesterday at 1pm after sleeping for 16! yes 16 hours because I stayed up for an entire day and went to bed at 9pm after 34 hours of being awake - fell asleep since I was incredibly tired, yet I continued to sleep. I have multiple alarms set and I ALWAYS sleep through them, I'll even turn them off in a sleepy dream daze without even consciously noticing. Often I will see the time and correlate it to something in my dream: ie. 6:15am becomes a 6 minute and 15 second lap time in the F1 race I am participating in in my dreams (lol)

I fall asleep best during day light, more so as the sun is beginning to rise. I can fall asleep at any time during the day, irregardless of when I last woke. Naps don't exist for me, if I fall asleep during the day I will sleep for a minimum of three hours. Any time I try to fall asleep at night I often end up laying there awake for what seems forever with my mind racing.

I am completely at my wits end and I don't know what to do. I cant keep pulling 36 hour days in order to be at work for 7.. it just kills me mentally and physically, yet even if I do fall asleep at a normal hour and get a full rest I still feel like a zombie all day with the ability to fall asleep almost instantaneously. It is completely affecting my life and I fear losing my job. It depresses the heck out of me and causes suicidal thoughts because I am completely unable to "snap out" of this. It messes with my eating habits too, because when I wake up late I do not have time to make a breakfast or a lunch and I often end up just having dinner. I have managed at times to restore some semblance of a normal sleep pattern, however the weekend comes and I sleep until noon, and then by sunday night I am so alert that I just cannot fall asleep. Add to this the fact that alarms do nothing for me and its a real real huge problem. Even when I do manage to 'normalize' my schedule it does not last for very long.. I thought perhaps some of this was due to smoking pot causing my drowsiness during the day and other issues, but as Ive learned over the past two months being completely drug free and sober, it was not the problem and in fact actually HELPED me to sleep closer to a 'normal' time. However it is not the answer and I am glad to have quit that nonsense.

I don't know what to do anymore. I don't want to give in and accept this pattern of sleep as it completely limits your lifestyle.. but as of right now I have absolutely no stability in my life and its seeming to be my only option, accept it and work nights.

Comments for DSPS Is Ruining My Life

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Feb 07, 2012
Mirror NEW
by: Naïssa

Hi Denis,
(English is not my mother tongue)
Reading your story is like looking into a mirror.
I have exactly the same problems.
Only, I am 37, and I have been battling this thing for years. I seem to lose more and more.
Things that were not-pleasant when I was 16, turned into difficult by the time I was 26 and have become impossible by now.
Like you say, it's ruining my life.
I'm at the point that I'm losing my job, possibly losing my house, I'm losing friends, I have no money, lost my boyfriend...
My doctor advises me to request for disability, but that won't help to improve the poor quality of my living.
I'm contemplating forgetting about my law degree and just start working nights in a hotel or something like that.
I don't know if this thing gets worse for everybody while aging, but for me it has completelt taken over my life.
I have no advise to beat this thing, I just wanted to let you know that your story sounds very familiar to me and to every story that I have read on this page. The stories don't give hope for beating this, but it does help me to realize that I'm not alone. Maybe that can help you too.
I want to say "don't give up", but I myself don't know anymore how to persevere.
So I'll just say... Good luck.

Feb 13, 2012
Feel your pain NEW
by: Anonymous

I have read your comments and I will say that I feel your pain,I am going through the same thing and have had DSPS for quite some time. Every thing I read was an eyeopener,it was as if I wrote it my self since it was exactly the way I am. The only difference is that I work for the government and I am being let go (fired) I just went through a bankruptcy and at this point in time I have no prospect for work. I realy do not know what I will do. Just wanted to let you know you are not alone with this problem.

Feb 13, 2012
My Daughter has DSPS NEW
by: Anonymous

My 24 year old daughter has had DSPS since the age of 13 years old. She would not, because we subsequently realized she "could not", get out of bed in the morning. Her father and I initially thought she was being lazy and simply did not want to go to school. On several occasions we actually arranged for the schools truancy officers to come to our home and take her to school. She kept telling us, "I can’t' sleep at night." Before the DSPS began academically and socially she had done stellar in school. We were perplexed by this behavior. Long story short she stopped attending high school and had an at home IEP for her school work. She also began years of smoking pot (Her father and I did not condone this), primarily to help her sleep. To add to the DSPS after a sleep study she was diagnosed with severe restless leg syndrome and limbic movement disorder. A neurologist finally told her she had DSPS and gave her some remedies to try to switch the sleep cycle, none of which worked. The neuro MD was kind and understanding and told her what she had "was real" and to look for jobs and shifts that could accommodate her sleep cycle. This was a sigh of relief for her to finally have a name for what was going on. The neuro MD also told us that the State of Washington recognizes DSPS as a real issue and many high schools have 2 sessions a days for their students, morning and afternoon. Many people are night owls and simply cannot funtion at their personal best, or at all, in hours of the day that most of the world see as "normal". People who have DSPS can become depressed when their friends, family, co-workers and others, sit and pass judgement on this very real syndrome. If you have DSPS, or know someone who does, please be the persons advocate and educate.

Mar 01, 2012
mirror NEW
by: jon

i am in the exact same boat as you it started around thr age of 13 in highschool everyone thought i was lazy because i didnt wake up but in reality i couldnt wake up being up till 5am was not fun there for dropping out of school and being depressed i am now 29 years old and still struggling with it it really fustrates me sometimes and makes me angry but atleast im not alone in this matter

May 13, 2012
help is out there NEW
by: Anonymous

It may be illegal, but Marijuana has helped a lot of people out with this problem.

May 31, 2012
I am at my wits' end... NEW
by: Erin

I am 31 and am completely frustrated with myself. All of these stories resonate so deeply with me. My heart goes out to all of you.

I remember being very tired at an early age ... probably about 10 or 11. It seems I would prefer to be by myself during the day at school. Since I was so tired all the time, this of course caused me to be a negative person. I didn't have many friends because of this.

I feel worthless during the daylight hours (yes, all of them) and completely do a 180 at night. It is so frustrating! At night I wake up. My eyes go from tired to alive. My body is rejuvenated, ready to go.

It is a relief to find this website. Now I have another perspective and can try a night job as an option.

Jun 01, 2012
by: Anonymous

It is helpful to read other peoples experiences with this condition. My 23 year old son suffers from this condition and I'm worried sick about him. He's up all night, sleeps a bit during the day and is groggy and lathargic when awake. He basically hasn't left my basement for the last 6 weeks! How can I best support him and help him to move on with his life?

Jun 18, 2012
You are not alone! NEW
by: Anonymous

I am so sick of this condition. My earliest memories of life are my mother physically pulling me out of the bed and putting me in the tub(which I also slept through) before school at 6 years old! I am now 25, and a mother of 2 toddlers under 4. I can pull myself out of bed at the sound of my kids being up, but its like being a zombie. I sit there with no energy and watch them play unable to participate. People call me lazy because I can't find the will to clean up during the day and I've lost jobs due to being late and poor performance because of living in a daze. Yet at 2 am I'm up picking up toys and scrubbing dishes like this is normal. Its like watching my life run circles around me and only feeling alive when the world is dead. I don't want to sleep through my life! I am so relieved I'm not the only one.

Jul 06, 2012
This is so ME!!! NEW
by: gwen

OMG! I was diagnosed with narcolepsy almost 8 months ago after dealing with this whatever you want to call it. They put me on medication (Provigil) which worked for about 2 months. I don't know what to say; just that everyone here is reiterating my life word for word. I had to drop out of the university of my dreams because I couldn't stay awake (if I even made it to) in class and ended up having to take so many medical leaves they recommended that their school was not for me. My psychiatrist at the time thought it was narcolepsy. Now I'm questioning this. Everyone here knows my story because I am telling you it is like you know me first hand. It's been since I was a little girl that I have had this problem, now I'm 30, and have decided to go to school online so I can work at night. During the day I have absolutely NO energy. I sleep in until 9am, if I can even wake up, and I go to bed around 3-4am or even later. Sometimes I don't go to bed until 6:30am; depending on certain factors. I always thought it was anxiety but I don't think so anymore. I actually think it is CAUSING my anxiety. I don't know what to do about this but hearing all of your stories makes me feel not so alone. I never really fit in with narcolepsy so THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! Good luck to you all!

Jul 10, 2012
19 years with DSPS. My story. NEW
by: TheFlyingDutchman

I've to say It scares me that you've told the exact same story as mine. I'm Karim and I'm from Holland and I'm 19 years old. I've DSPS too. I knew that I had DSPS since I 16, It started when I was 12 but I'm officially diagnosed with DSPS from the beginning of this year. It sucks to hear the same stories from people with DSPS here. The biggest problem IMO is not the sleeping it self but the psychical stress. I'm depressed and I've suicidal thoughts for 2 years now, like almost everyday. I quit school, I've no job etc. My parents except this but somehow I still think, they think it's exaggerated bullshit. Not only my parents but well society in general... People don't know it exists. All they can say is that you're a lazy fuck. I went into treatment for an half year with light therapy and melatonine but it didn't work and somehow it felt wrong to fight against it because this is how I am, I don't know better after all these years and when I say that to people they say "Society doesn't work at this way so you've to adapt to society." It just makes me so furious and sad. It's like I chose for this kind of lifestyle. For me cannabis is still the best medicine to help me sleep a few hours earlier but still it isn't the answer because the effect become less and less when you use it every night and coming out of bed on time when I felt asleep under the influence of cannabis is for me personally more difficult than coming out of bed sober.

Now I'm looking for a job with later work hours and that isn't easy. I'll wait and see what the future brings but I can't be positive about it.

I wish everybody here the best with their DSPS problems. Keep ya head up!


Oct 02, 2012
Me too. NEW
by: Anonymous

I'm 20 years old, and also have this problem. I can turn it around sometimes by staying awake for 48 hours, but after a month or two there will come a night when I just can't sleep. For no discernable reason. And then it all starts over again.

My father absolutely can't be reasoned with, and neither my closest friend (who has an important career and tends to sleep 4 hours per night on average without problems). They think that I'm not putting any effort into getting up in the morning, but that's not true. There are times when I wake up way past the time I was supposed to, and know that my alarm clock has gone off, but I can't remember any of it. I'm also a deep sleeper, a very vivid dreamer and need about 9-12 hours of sleep every day.

My mother believes me, because she seems to have it too, and she says that I've always been this way. Fortunately for her, she can get by on very little sleep, and usually has no troubles getting up in the morning.

I don't mind working in the evening, or starting my own business. However, at the moment I don't have a job and there is nothing for me to do. I'm bored out of my mind. Nights are so quiet, there is almost no recreation whatsoever available. You can't simply go outside and shop, or go to the cinema, watch a game of ice hockey, see the doctor, etc...

We should all start a city together, or something like that, and live at night. >_>

Oct 05, 2012
My story too! NEW
by: Eagletail

These stories are amazing to me. I am just the same as you. Since I was a small girl I had trouble going to sleep, didn't want to go at regular bed time and liked to sleep late. All my friends would get frustrated because they wanted me to wake up so we could play. I would, if left to my own cycle, wake up about 11:00 or noon. Come puberty I was constantly sleep deprived. My dad even gave me a trophy engraved, "World's Greatest Sleeper!" Sleeping 18 hours was no problem.

Now, I'm almost 60 and was basically pushed on to long term disability from my employer where i worked for 22 uears, because I had such chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia type symptoms and missed too much work. For the past two years I have slept on my own schedule which is 5:00 AM - 1:00 if I don't take sleeping meds. Or 3:00 to 11:00 if I do. So now I am being kicked off long term disability since two years are up. I think now I will have my doctor explore this DSPS. it appears that if it as severe as mine it can be classified as a disability. The only other option I see is to try to find evening shift work.

The idea of our own community sounds good. Delayed Sleep Phase City. Quiet hours 2:00am - 12:00 noon. No construction sounds before noon. Yay!

Anyway, it's nice to know there others who are up and about washing the kitchen floor at 1:00 am and althouh the rest of the world sees me as weird, there are others, around whom I could fit right In.

Dec 05, 2012
Same Thing Here NEW
by: Anonymous

Readin all of your comments made me really feel good about not being the only one suffering from this! But of course feeling bad for all of us here lol

This is not easy at all. The worst part of it is the negative effects on your life in many levels: socially, physiologically, financially. You feel down, you hate how people look at you because of it, thinking you are lazy, by the time you get affected, thinking to your self "maybe I am really lazy!" and that's really tough.

I had this trouble of not sleeping normally like people do since high school, I have this unbelievable tendency of wanting to sleep late and wake up in the afternoon. The reason for that is I got used to it in summer vacations. Year after year, my body adapted this pattern, and once you go in, it's extremely difficult to get out. College years are full of late classes or even absences. I got to the point of not sleeping at all in order to make sure I go to the early classes. (which makes it worse for the biological clock)

Now I'm 27. Graduated 3 years ago but I couldn't take any job because of this problem. That's why I choose freelancing as an escape from this situation, even though it's not a comfortable form of income for me.

I just knew about the term DSPS this month. I thought it is a personal issue, but now it made me feel that it is common between many people. I wish there is a known solution for it.

May 07, 2013
To "WOW" Anonymous NEW
by: Anonymous

I know it was a year ago, but in response to the woman who was concerned about her son, I think I do best when I'm on a schedule--even if it's not a "normal" person's schedule. Exercise is so important, not so much I think for sleeping but for staving off depression which seems to coincide with shorter days and this odd feeling of not being grounded like the rest of the world. Sometimes I feel like I'm just floating in space and I'm always hiding something. But when things are good-- for example-- I wake up usually at 11, it takes me a while to feel fully awake--I clean up around the house, go to the gym around 2 and when I come home I make something healthy to eat and then get to work. But I'm a musician so I have this kind of flexibility. If he can get involved in a basketball game, or going to the gym, or afternoon and evening classes, or a job/career that fits his sleep cycle that would probably help a lot!

Oct 17, 2013
DSPS,, finally i know what im dealing with. NEW
by: jeanne

Hi Dennis, my son had a terrible bike accident about 1 and a half years ago and every since than I have noticed changes with his sleeping and he was ADHD before this all happened but now hes 16 and it has gotten worse. Now to find out he has DSPS this is going to help him in school for poor attendance, tardies. We are homeless and just soon should be on our feet but the lack of help from the school is going to put me in jail.My son is my everything. I knew there was something wrong hes not a lazy kid at all in fact he is like his father NON STOP!!!But I noticed how hard it was for him to go to sleep at night and than sleep maybe 4 or 5 hours and have to get up. It was impossible for me to wake him up he was in such a deep sleep like a coma I actually felt sorry for him until now. Dennis,, how do I get my son diagnosed?? sleep doctor or neurosurgeon?? IDK,,i just need to get things in motion before im in jail and my son gets in trouble too!Do you have any advice at all?? Anything ive barely got my head above water. Thank You and good luck to you in this DSPS. Schools and doctors need to update their information on ADHD!

Sep 06, 2015
An Unfair Life NEW
by: Lily

As a kid my mum started dressing me for school while I was still in bed & I'd get up & have to run to the bus. Other kids were up at 6 watching cartoons.
Through my teen years I still had to be woken up by mum or dad for school or i'd sleep in. I never ate breakfast because I felt so yuck of a morning & didnt do much self-care. I tied my hair up in a ball every morning. never had time or motivation for anything more.
I had my first child at age 21 and over the years had another 2 children. Their father had to wake me up most of the time when our babies needed feeding because I slept so soundly. I struggled every morning & when my man left me after 10 years together life got a lot harder. My daughter was always very difficult to get ready for school & every day was a struggle especially without my man to wake me up. Over time I fell apart & smoked meth to make sure i was awake to get my kids to school on time. Sounds like a stupid thing to do but I had no family support & I couldn't trust myself to wake on time as alarms would not wake me. This worked & the house was spotless & I had more energy & I lost weight & looked great. It was only meant to be a means to an end but I ended up hooked & had my kids taken off me. They're with their father now & I'm not proud of myself for turning to drugs. I just wish I could have functioned like a normal human being.
I'm now 34 & was diagnosed not long ago. After losing everything that ever mattered to me. Doctors never helped, only ever prescribed happy pills for my symptoms. I wish I'd known I had DSPS all these years..ive had a hard life & been misunderstood by others for the majority of it. I just hope that my quality of life can be improved now after my diagnosis, for me & my family

Sep 22, 2015
finally acceptance NEW
by: Debra

I have had dpsd pretty much since I was a young girl and have only just found a name for it. I attempted to cope with the disorder by having serapax on the odd occasion during important schedules or holidays but over the years become intolerant.
To finally have a name for the way I am after so long is a relief and also a way for others to understand me if they choose to read about it. but it also brings sadness that I will never fit with a normal schedule the person who suggested we should have a night city that gave me a giggle so thanks if anything there needs to be more told about this condition so people can stop thinking we can just get up if we want to. I don't think any of us would choose this if we had a choice,There are many days I feel like a dissapointment to my husband, my daughter and all the apologies of not being able to attend d things, hopefully one day they might come up with a pill or a real treatment program that will help with this condition. It can be a very lonely life with this disorder thanks for making me feel not so alone x I Would love to hear what things have worked for you also

Nov 26, 2015
by: Mary

Wow. Just wow. I honestly did think that i was the only one in the world with this syndrome. Im only 18 but i have had DSPS since i was 13. Until 2 days ago i thought this was called "being lazy" and then i came across this website and i am soo happy that it actually has a name. I stay up all night baking, cleaning, eating and just doing things a normal person would do in the day time. But for me, there is no daytime. It doesnt exist for me. I sleep through it and im not proud of this. I sleep around 7am and wake up around 3pm. Thats my daily sleep routine. And even after waking up at 3pm, im still sleepy and tired. I hate this. Its ruining my life and i honestly do not know what to do anymore. Im only young and i have no social life what so ever. I never even had a job in my life. And waking up for school meant suffering to me, i honestly dont know how i even managed to graduate after being absent and late all the time. The sad thing is.. i told my mum about it just yesterday.. and she thinks im talking nonsense. She says that if i get off the internet and just sleep early then i can wake up early. Haha! Yeah mum.. it was that easy. I felt so happy to see some parents commenting on here worried sick about their kids because its great to see that they understand their kids and dont think that they are just lazy like my mum.. i am not lazy! I love to get things done and i am a great multitasker. But just not when the suns out. I am smart, but just not when the suns out. I am healthy, active, happy and alive.. but just not when the suns out.. Thankyou DSPS.. you have officially ruined my life.

Dec 09, 2015
wow NEW
by: Asmaa

Hi you just described my life!! every single word!

Jan 09, 2016
Will it end? NEW
by: Anonymous

18 right now, it feels like my brain is shrinking and people always try and tell me it's my own fault. I have to do all my essays after 2am in university because my brain starts working, and I had to quit basketball despite playing for one of the top teams in the country because my body doesn't recover. I stay up for 28 30 hours, no light, no electronics, proper meal times but when I lay down, it's as if my body rejects the sleep. And if I do manage to sleep at s like 10pm my body thinks it's a nap and I wake up around 12 to 1am. I need help man my whole body aches and I'm tired everyday all day. God bless you all and good luck.

Apr 01, 2016
Relate NEW

I was diagnosed between the ages of 13-15 (25 now). You're story is so similar, especially the alarm clocks. Unfortunatly I was never able to complete middle school

May 22, 2016
This is my Plan of Action NEW
by: Anonymous

Thank you all for sharing what you are going through. I am 34 and have had this problem since I was about 16. Until today I didn't know what it was called [i thought it was called inertia as feel zombie like when i awake] and i am here out of desperation. It has in the past ruined relationships, jobs and more importantly my self esteem. This condition makes others think you are lazy and self indulgent, when in reality its anything but. When I was younger I manager to adapt to society by getting jobs which had later shift times and whilst this worked for a while, you will find that these types of jobs are low paid and wont fulfill your ambitions. I am now a father of two [and one on the way] and i am fed up of not being able to sleep till 4-5am and not being able to wake before 9-10am, somethimes even much later. So I need a battle plan. I came across a study today on DSPS which you might also find useful. []

From what I can gather from this study is that in normal people when the sun comes up it triggers the brain to release chemicals in the body to help them wake up. In DSPS it appears to have the opposite effect and the sun rising doesn't have the same effect. The study also shows that the internal body clock of those with DSPS is different to those of normal people. I also can see that the internal body temperature of those with DSPS is slightly higher as well. I am so tired of having this condition, and i am going to try and 'hot-wire' my internal body clock. I cant see anyone who has managed to overcome this thing that affects us so badly. but will try a few things based upon 'temperature and light' and let you all know how i get on. I am thinking back to when i was a kid and used to spring out of bed at 5am..........i want to be that kid again : )

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