Advanced Sleep Phase Disorder | PlushBeds Green Sleep Blog

Advanced Sleep Phase Disorder

As one of many sleep disorders, advanced sleep phase disorder (ASPD) is one in which your internal body clock is off. It is timed earlier than what is considered normal. This means that you want to go to sleep and wake up earlier than what other people consider to be normal times.

Many people suffering from advanced sleep phase disorder feel a strong urge to go to sleep, often between the hours of 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm in the evening while waking up ready for the day at earlier hours – some as early as 3:00 am in the morning.

Symptoms of Advanced Sleep Phase Disorder

In order to be diagnosed as advanced sleep phase disorder, which is sometimes referred to as Advanced Sleep Phase Syndrome, symptoms must be present for a minimum of three months. Symptoms include the following.

  • Inability to maintain a stable 24-hour sleep to wake pattern.
  • Spontaneous awakenings earlier than the desired hour.
  • Habitually early sleep onset.
  • Chronic inability to remain awake during evening hours or to remain asleep into the morning hours.

This condition differs from other sleep disorders in that those who suffer with it get a normal amount of sleep. It isn’t the amount that’s the problem. It’s the timing of the sleep that causes issues.

The Trouble with ASPD

The problem with most people who suffer from ASPD is that it impacts quality of life and, in some cases, job performance. The result is an inability to participate in many after hour activities such as evening gatherings, children’s school performances, parental duties and responsibilities, holiday celebrations, etc.

Attempting to do so, depending on the severity and scale of the tiredness that creeps in, can result in falling asleep during evening activities or while driving to and from these activities. It’s a huge risk for not only embarrassment, but also physical harm to yourself or others.

This condition is more common among elderly adults though it impacts only one percent of all middle to older-aged adults, according to Australia’s Sleep Health Foundation. It is less common of a sleep disorder than delayed sleep phase disorder.

It has a strong genetic link with current estimates that 40 to 50 percent of adults who have a genetic link to the disorder developing the disorder themselves, reports the American Sleep Association.

What About Treatment?

Treatment for this condition, since it doesn’t actually impact the amount of sleep you get, is optional. While it can interfere with quality of life, it doesn’t have to.

It’s quite simple for elderly people who have this condition to arrange personal schedules to accommodate earlier hours.

If treatment is something you prefer, you’re likely to be asked to undergo an overnight sleep study so doctors can fully explore the condition as well as the quality of sleep you’re getting. For those who do seek treatment, common options include bright light therapy or behavioral treatment called chronotherapy. For most people, though, knowing you’re not alone in suffering with this condition and understanding that it’s a valid medical condition is enough to help calm your concerns and either adjust your lifestyle to accommodate the condition or seek treatment to overcome it.

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