The following is a visitor-submitted question or story. For more, you can submit your own sleep story here, or browse the collection of experiences and questions other visitors have shared here.

What Do You All Do To Cope With DSPS? Please Help!

by Naïssa
(Belgium, Europe)

(First of all, English is not my mother tongue, not even second language, so bear with me, please)

I have been reading several of the stories written on this great website. It's such a relief for me to read that there are people like me. Your stories are all so familiar! Thank you for sharing.

I have been struggling for years, wondering what was wrong with me that I could not function like other people. Recently I was diagnosed with DSPS. I'm 37, I also have had these problems since I was 7, but it has not always been a problem that prevented me to work and live normally. I just slept a little after work and slept the whole weekend. Until that was not enough to balance me out and the fatigue just took over.

The professor who finally diagnosed me with DSPS knew very little about it (OMG, if yet another doctor would had told me that "I was just suffering from a depression", I would have kicked him!) and told me there was nothing that could be done to cure it. It could only be shifted a little bit.

During the 7 last years I have taken a lot of medication... benzos, sleeping pills, pills against depression or neuroleptic diseases to help me sleep at night and (prescribed) amphetamine or ritalin in the morning to help me to stay awake... (BTW, apart from the prescribed medication I do not take drugs) That along with meditation, hypnosis, yoga, building up sleep debt in order to sleep... Name it, I have tried it. Nothing helped and nothing is helping. Things just got worse and worse. For the last 9 months I haven't able to go to work, I became isolated from friends, got fybromyalgie and chronic fatigue due to the deprivation of sleep, got cancer because I was totally exhausted...

Is this all happening to you too? Is DSPS dominating your life too?

It's been 3 months now that I know I have DSPS. I take Provigil in the morning and Melatonine in the evening. It does not help me in that way that I can go to work from 9AM to 5PM.

I have a special LED light and I try chronotherapy, but nothing helps! I'm going crazy. When I finally sleep (from 5AM to 14AM), I sleep like I'm in a coma... I barely hear the alarmclock at 7AM. Or I am too tired to even open my eyes and look into the bright LED light. (I also have sleep paralysis with terrible hallucinations and really bad nightmares - does anybody recognize this???)

My doctors are advising me to ask for invalidity, stop trying and stop torturing myself. After 7 years battling, has it come to this? I have a good degree in law, I love working and I'm supposed to become a vegetable because I can't sleep between normal hours?

I read in a comment about stopping with all the nonsense of treatments and just accept who we are... It sounds like a relief... But then what?

Finding a job to work at night? I applied for a job at a hotel to work as a nightreceptionst, they looked at my degrees and they laughed at me! Am I supposed to lie about my education to find a job? What do you all do? Not working and living in poverty? Keep on trying to work normal hours and destroy myself even more? Suicide? I'm not the type to commit suicide, but for the last week it has started to cross my mind... Me, I survived cancer, I'm so grateful for life and now these thougts are beginning to penetrate my mind. I don't recognize myself anymore.

This hell has been going on for 7 years and it's getting worse every day! I have lost jobs, friends, partners, I have become poor, I'm in fear to lose my house, I have lost my health and now I'm starting to lose my sanity.

What do you all do? Please help! I cannot take it anymore.

Comments for What Do You All Do To Cope With DSPS? Please Help!

Click here to add your own comments

Sep 25, 2013
Sometimes being up all night can be an advantage. NEW
by: Anonymous

You can work while others sleep. Is there any part of your profession that can be done outside usual business hours?

I used to meticulously plan a research schedule in order to work very fast, and efficiently in an archive for a few hours in the evening. The information I gathered took time to sift through, and I planned my next trip in detail via an online catalog - all at night. I wasted no time in the archive doing something I could do later at home.

Maybe you could teach law instead of practice it or do consulting or freelance work. You could write about law or report on it, and I don't know your specific area of study, but law enforcement need knowledge of the law to some extent, and they work around the clock.

Employers usually have to accommodate disabilities.

Feb 13, 2014
schedules NEW
by: Anonymous

You're a lawyer -- can you work for yourself out of your home? Can you do something other than litigation? Why not try to work remotely for someone in a different time zone? A lot of people outsource legal work--you don't necessarily have to be barred in that jurisdiction if you're doing a draft and research for someone who does have the bar in that jurisdiction. I think there are lots of things you could do with some imagination and a good internet connection.... Good luck!

Feb 04, 2015
Some suggestions for afternoon/night work NEW
by: Julia

I too suffer from DSPS and I feel your pain. My answer was to start a home business. Not sure if you are in the US or not, but my father was a lawyer and I saw his friends doing many things on the side that you could do in afternoons and evenings as a lawyer - tutoring for LSAT (the exam required to get into law scool), or for individual law classes, or the bar (final legal licensing exam) for starters. You could begin a business to give people legal advice on purchasing a new home or condo, teach every day legal information classes at a local community center, college or YMCA, or do paralegal work for another lawyer or as a freelancer. Find yourself a few books on alternative legal careers on Amazon and you might be surprised at how numerous and flexible your options really are. Don't panic! And good luck.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Thoughts On Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome.

Enjoy this page? Please help us pay it forward to others who would find it valuable by Liking, Sharing, Tweeting, Stumbling, and/or Voting below.

About This Site

Welcome! This site is continuously being created by students of Dr. William C. Dement's Sleep And Dreams course at Stanford University.

We made this site as a call to action for people all over the world to live healthier, happier, safer, and more productive lives by learning about their own sleep. We have faith that reading the information provided on this site will motivate you to be smart about your sleep deprivation and strategic about your alertness in order to live life to your fullest, most energetic potential.

In fact, we challenge you to do so! What do you say, are you up for the challenge?

A Note On Visitor-Submitted Questions:

Publishing sleep stories and questions from our visitors is meant to create a forum for open and proactive dialogue about an extremely important portion of our lives (one that occupies 1/3 of it and affects the other 2/3) that isn't talked about enough. It is not meant to substitute a trip to the doctor or the advice of a specialist. It's good to talk; it is not good to avoid consulting someone who's profession it is to help you with this kind of stuff.

If you are in any way concerned about your sleep health, don't wait for an answer on here, and don't necessarily rely on them. See a sleep specialist in your area as soon as possible.

More Questions:

Ask | Answer

The Stanford Sleep Book

Stanford Sleep Book Picture

Dr. Dement's pioneering textbook has been the core text for Sleep and Dreams since 1980, but it has just recently been made available to the wider public for the first time.

In it you'll find a more detailed account of the most important things you need to know about sleep, alertness, dreams, and sleep disorders. Studies, statistics, plus plenty of Dr. Dement's classic anecdotes painting the history of sleep medicine.

Preface | Intro | Contents | Get A Copy

More Sleep Resources

The Zeo

A revolution in personal sleep tracking, the Zeo is a wireless headband that transmits your brainwaves in realtime to a dock (pictured here) or your smartphone. The result? You can wake up and see exactly what stages of sleep you were in during the night! Unprecedented personalized sleep knowledge.

Sleep Paralysis: A Dreamer's Guide

Sleep Paralysis Treatment Book

Ever woken up paralyzed? A surprising number of us have, believe it or not. But few know the actual causes of this phenomenon, and fewer still how to exert control over it. Dream researcher and sleep paralysis expert Ryan Hurd shares breakthrough insights into how to do just that.

Important Disclaimer

Please Note:

The information found on this page and throughout this site is intended for general information purposes only. While it may prove useful and empowering, it is NOT intended as a substitute for the expertise and judgments of healthcare practitioners.

For more info, see our
Terms of Use.