Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome example
Case Study, Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome Nov 21, 2023


Travis is a dedicated firefighter. He has found himself amid an unexpected battle that unfolds not in the flames he faces at work but within the silent confines of his bedroom. Travis is grappling with Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome (DSPS). A circadian rhythm sleep disorder that has cast a shadow over his restful nights. Nighttime Rebels: Breaking Free from Delayed Sleep-Wake Phase Disorder


As a firefighter, Travis’s schedule is unpredictable. Emergency calls at all hours of the day and night have become routine. It has disrupted the conventional sleep-wake cycle that most people take for granted. Travis’s commitment to his duties often means transitioning from a deep sleep to a state of high alertness. This challenges the natural flow of his circadian rhythm.

Symptoms and Struggles:

  1. Inability to Unwind: Travis cannot unwind and fall asleep at an acceptable bedtime. After intense emergency responses, his adrenaline remains elevated, making it difficult for him to shift into a restful state.
  2. Morning Battle: The morning sun, a signal for most to rise and shine, often finds Travis immersed in a deep slumber. Despite his best efforts to adhere to a regular wake-up time, his body resists, leaving him exhausted and sleep-deprived.
  3. Daytime Fatigue: The consequences of disrupted sleep extend into Travis’s daytime activities. Fatigue becomes a constant companion, impacting his focus, decision-making abilities, and well-being.

Risk Factors:

Travis’s demanding profession introduces extra risk factors for DSPS:

  1. Irregular Shifts: Firefighters often work in shifts with unpredictable hours. Travis’s irregular work schedule exacerbates the challenges of maintaining a consistent sleep routine.
  2. Emergency Responses: The urgency of emergency calls disrupts Travis’s circadian rhythm, making it challenging for his body to distinguish between day and night.
  3. Stress and Vigilance: The high-stress nature of firefighting demands constant vigilance, contributing to the development and persistence of DSPS symptoms.

Management Strategies:

  1. Light Therapy Integration: Travis has incorporated light therapy into his morning routine. Exposure to bright light, mimicking natural sunlight, helps signal to his body that it’s time to wake up, assisting in shifting his circadian rhythm.
  2. Sleep Hygiene Practices: Establishing a consistent bedtime routine has become a priority for Travis. A calming way before sleep, such as reading or listening to soothing music, aids in signaling to his body that it’s time to wind down.
  3. Consultation with Healthcare Professionals. Recognizing the need for specialized guidance, Travis has sought the expertise of healthcare professionals. Together, they explore the potential role of melatonin supplements, considering the dosage and timing to align with Travis’s unique schedule.


Travis’s journey with Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome sheds light on the complexities faced by individuals in professions with irregular schedules, particularly those in high-stakes roles like firefighting. By embracing tailored management strategies and seeking professional guidance, Travis endeavors to reclaim a sense of balance in his sleep-wake rhythm, ensuring that he remains prepared and resilient in the face of daytime and nocturnal challenges.

"The world sleeps while I navigate the labyrinth of delayed dreams. Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome, where the night extends its tender hand long after the world bids it farewell."
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.