Advanced Sleep Phase Disorder
Advanced Sleep Phase Disorder Nov 21, 2023

1. What is Advanced Sleep Phase Disorder?

Imagine your body has a built-in clock, like a conductor leading an orchestra. This “conductor” guides your daily routine, signaling when it’s time for you to sleep and wake up. There’s something called Advanced Sleep Phase Disorder (ASPD) in sleep issues. It’s like having a conductor who decides to kick off the day’s performance much too early.

Think of it this way. You’ve got this big show; let’s say it’s like a grand opera scheduled for 8 pm. But your internal conductor decides it’s time to start at 2 pm. So, while everyone else is still bustling around in the daytime, you feel ready for the night. It’s as if you’re on a different schedule like your body is tuned to a nighttime performance when the rest of the world is still caught up in the daytime hustle and bustle.

In simple terms, with ASPD, your internal clock is like a rogue conductor, making you feel sleepy and ready for bed way earlier than everyone else. It’s like being a nighttime creature in a world still enjoying the daytime.

2. What Causes It?

Let’s delve into the roots of Advanced Sleep Phase Disorder (ASPD) and why it happens:

  1. Circadian Rhythm Misalignment: Your body operates on a natural internal clock called the circadian rhythm. Like a built-in schedule, this rhythm dictates when you should sleep and wake up. There’s a glitch in ASPD in this schedule – it’s out of sync with the external world.
  2. The Brain’s Timekeeper: The suprachiasmatic nucleus, a tiny but influential part of your brain, is the conductor of this internal orchestra. It’s responsible for signaling when it’s time to hit the hay and when it’s time to rise and shine.
  3. Premature Signals: Imagine these signals as early birds in ASPD. Instead of waiting for the accepted bedtime, your internal clock signals for sleep way ahead of schedule. It’s like your brain tells you to cozy up in bed while everyone else is still out and about.
  4. Genetic Predisposition: Some individuals might have a genetic tendency for ASPD. It’s like inheriting a family trait, where your genes lean towards favoring an early-to-bed, early-to-rise lifestyle. So, your body is inclined to be a night owl in a world that’s not quite ready for bedtime.

In simpler terms, ASPD is like having an internal clock that rings the bedtime bell earlier than usual, and your genes might be playing a part in this quirky schedule. Understanding these factors helps to understand why some people feel the urge to hit the hay while the night is still young.

Let us consider an example: Case Study: Claudia’s Journey with Advanced Sleep Phase Disorder (ASPD)

  1. What are the Symptoms and Risk Factors?
  2. Yawning Out of Sync. You catch yourself yawning when others start their day with morning coffee.
  3. Early Bedtime Blues. As early evening approaches, around 6 pm, you might think about bedtime while others are still going strong.
  4. Constant Fatigue. Feeling tired is like a tag-along friend that never leaves; it’s a regular daily companion.
  5. Insomnia Intrudes. Difficulty in falling or staying asleep becomes a familiar nighttime struggle.

3. Risk Factors for ASPD:

  1. Age Matters. Older individuals are more likely to experience ASPD, as it affects them more.
  2. Family Ties to Sleep Woes. If there’s a history of circadian rhythm disorders in your family, the chances of developing ASPD are higher. It’s like a family trait that might make you more susceptible to this early-to-bed syndrome.
  3. How is Advanced Sleep Phase Disorder Managed?

Managing and treating Advanced Sleep Phase Disorder (ASPD) involves a combination of lifestyle adjustments, behavioral changes, and, sometimes, medical interventions. Here are some strategies:

  1. Light Therapy: Expose yourself to bright light in the evening to help shift your internal clock. This can be achieved through natural sunlight or designed light boxes. Light therapy can help reset your circadian rhythm.
  2. Darkness in the Morning: Ensure that your mornings are lit to cut exposure to bright light, as this can reinforce your body’s natural wake-up signals.
  3. Melatonin Supplements: Melatonin is a hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles. Taking melatonin supplements in the evening may help delay sleep onset, aligning it with a typical bedtime.
  4. Consistent Sleep Schedule: Stick to a regular sleep schedule. Going to bed and waking up daily helps regulate your body’s internal clock.
  5. Bedtime Routine: Establish a relaxing bedtime routine to signal your body that it’s time to wind down. This can include reading a book or taking a warm bath.
  6. Avoid Stimulants: Limit the intake of caffeine and other stimulants in the evening, as these can interfere with your ability to fall asleep.
  7. Physical Activity: Engage in regular physical activity, but avoid vigorous exercise close to bedtime. Exercise can help regulate your sleep patterns.
  8. Professional Guidance: Consult with a healthcare or sleep specialist to discuss your symptoms and explore tailored treatment options. They may recommend cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) or other therapeutic approaches.

It’s important to note that the effectiveness of these strategies can vary from person to person. Finding the right combination of approaches often involves some trial and error. If you suspect you have ASPD or any sleep disorder, seeking guidance from a healthcare professional is crucial for proper diagnosis and personalized treatment.

4. How is Advanced Sleep Phase Disorder Different from DELAYED Sleep-Wake Phase Disorder (ASPD)?

The crucial distinction lies in the timing. While both disorders involve misaligning the circadian rhythm, ASPD prompts an earlier-than-usual sleep onset, making you a nocturnal creature in the daily world. Delayed Sleep-Wake Phase Disorder (DSWPD) is characterized by a delayed start of sleep, where the internal clock cues sleep at a later-than-typical hour.

In conclusion, Advanced Sleep Phase Disorder is a captivating deviation from ordinary sleep patterns, making you the early bird in a world yet to catch the worm. Understanding the intricacies of your circadian rhythm and seeking tailored interventions can help you synchronize with the rhythm of the world around you.

About author

Karuna Kaul is psycho socio clinical psychologist, who works with all age group people. Her profession motivates her to serve people who are facing behavioral issues. She has over 8 years of experience and has successfully established credibility in the areas of counselling and wellness. Assessment and behavioral analysis and training and coaching. She has been an active advocate of mental health awareness. And all her endeavors in the field are primarily focused on educating more and more people about Mental Health concerns and promoting Holistic Wellbeing. She has done master in clinical psychology PG Diploma in counselling and guidance and certified in drug addiction counselling Also she has done neuro medicine psychology from London University, Kent College of United Kingdom. With an experience of six years, she had worked with various organization which provides mental health services.