Is Your Health Being Affected by Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome?
Table of Contents
Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome (DSPS) is a condition in which your body’s biological clock is not in synchronization with the daylight waking and night sleep cycle. You may find it difficult or impossible to fall asleep in the night and wake up in the morning like the others in your family or friends’ circles. There are many types of symptoms involved with the DSPS.
Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome Symptoms
- You may not feel sleepy until early morning hours. You may still complete your normal sleeping duration and wake up late in the morning or the afternoon. In this type of DSPS, you may not experience any health problems related to metabolism, concentration in work, fatigue, etc.
- You may fall asleep late after midnight and wake up early in the morning. Your body is now deprived of its natural sleep duration. The cycle may repeat every night. But your body may never adjust to the regular sleep-wake cycle. This kind of DSPS may lead to health problems like indigestion, drowsiness, lack of concentration, consistent fatigue, etc.
- You may sleep at odd hours in the afternoon. But the sleep cycle is broken, and your body is never relaxed and comfortable. Your mind is alert, yet unable to perform any productive work due to sleep deprivation.
There could be many other symptoms associated with DSPS, which you may ignore due to unawareness or circumstances. You may be forced to carry on with the abnormal sleep-wake cycle due to consistent change in working shifts (one week of night shift work and the next week of day shift work). It could also be due to extensive travel schedules or other reasons. The conditions may return to normal once you change your schedule and resume your nine to six work routine. It may take time for your body’s internal clock (Circadian rhythm) to return to the normal state. But there may not be any risk of long-term health problems.
In the DSPS severe stage, your body and mind are not in coordination with each other. Sleep deprivation may lead to severe health disorders like high blood pressure, an excess of stress and fatigue, and muscle and joint pain. Psychological implications could be restlessness and irritation. It may lead to inconsistency in performance at work.
Stress and fatigue leads to lack of concentration in work. Your performance may steadily decline over a period of time. Since you are not able to complete your projects on time, you may get into depression. When the mind is in a state of continued depression and the body is a state of fatigue, it is natural for you to look at alternates which can forcefully induce sleep. Medications, alcohol dependency, or narcotic drug dependency could be some of the potential risks according to the extensive research works done by the leading sleep specialists all over the world.
There is a strong link between DSPS and health disorders related to blood pressure, palpitation, weakening of heart and loss of body and mind coordination. High blood pressure and hypertension could be caused by body’s negative reaction to sleep deprivation. Normally, your body goes through the pre-sleep and four stages of sleep to normalize the stress levels accumulated during the day. In the next section of this article, we will explain how the DSPS can affect the circulation, muscles, joints, connective tissues, and cardiovascular system, apart from the metabolic system.
When we mention the word DSPS, you don’t need to panic since the phenomenon is common among all age groups of teen and adult males and females. Severe cases of DSPS may lead to social disorder since you are unable to coordinate with your colleagues and superiors in your office. Your child’s schooling and studies may get disturbed since you are unable to pay attention. Your spouse may become discontented with your consistent “non-cooperation” in managing the family responsibilities. You may start missing your friends due to extreme variations in time schedules. It could lead to several other social, work, and family discontentment.
The Central Nervous System (CNS) is the most important part of the human body, which connects to every muscle, tissue, bone, internal and external organs including the protective sheath called the skin. It has millions of neurons which pass through the spinal cord as one of the vital connecting medium between the brain and the body. Normal sleep cycle relaxes the spinal cord and heals the symptoms of potential trauma that may result from everyday stress and fatigue. So, your body and brain get refreshed due to the healthy CNS. The DSPS may affect the spinal cord by not letting it relax to the fullest extent which happens only during the deep sleep stage. Hence, the accumulation of physical stress on the spinal cord continues to grow in volume. It may reach a stage in which the spinal cord is unable to cope with the stress as there is no way of eliminating it. Then the first obvious negative impact is on the CNS. Effect of toxic chemicals produced within the spinal cord may affect the stability of the nervous system. You can experience shivering in your hands when you don’t sleep properly for two or three days continuously. The symptoms may start in a mild stage in which you are unable to hold a coffee cup without the fear of spilling content due to shivering. We have conducted extensive research works with DSPS patients in the critical stage. Our work shows certain serious issues which may include weakening of CNS with time. The nervous instability starts from the toes, and it may extend up to the knees wherein a strong feeling of numbness occurs. Initially, it may be sporadic. But it becomes more frequent with time.
DSPS among active professionals like doctors, engineers, factory shift workers, research scholars, writers, and people associated with the irregular working schedule may cause muscular disorders. If you happen to be one among this class of people and in the DSPS risk group, it is time to analyze the probable issues related to muscle problems and DSPS. One such problem which we have commonly observed is muscle pull. It is possible that you may not get enough physical workouts regularly due to DSPS problem. Even if you practice workouts, the schedule could be highly erratic. Hence, the probability of muscle relaxation, strengthening, growth, and flexing may not happen in a healthy manner. It could also lead to lack of nutrient, proteins, and vitamin supplies to muscles. They are consistently in a state of stress and fatigue. In some cases, they may also get dry due to dehydration. The probability of contraction could lead to the sensation called “muscle pull”. In the initial stages, it could be moderate to severe. In the severe and critical stage, it becomes uncontrollable.
Your cardiovascular system needs a consistent supply of oxygenated circulation, along with a supply of vitamins and micronutrients. A regular sleep cycle is also another potential energizer which can help stabilize the system. Heart pulse, breathing rate, and circulation pressure remain normal. The DSPS disturbs the Alpha 9HZ to 14HZ of neural waves (from the brain) which interact within these internal organs to streamline the regular functions. The abnormal variation may affect the health condition of these internal organs, leading to constant fatigue and stress. The probable results could be palpitation, shortness of breath, shallow breathing, toxic accumulation, and weakening of the smooth muscles.
Metabolic functions are stated to be at peak levels, when your body is in the deep sleep stage. The muscles and internal organs relax. Waste excretion from the organs gets streamlined. All the toxic elements in your body are routed into the kidneys, bowels, and the skin. Healthy sweating eliminates contaminants, an excess of heat, and normalizes the body temperature. Digestion happens efficiently, and the distribution of nutrients to the internal organs also gets streamlined. DSPS can disturb the entire cycle. Excess of toxic accumulation over a long time may lead to conditions like cancer, kidney stone formation, and other critical issues.
At the chronic stage, the DSPS may transform into a disorder which results in nervous failure. Our advanced research related to the chronic DSPS and CNS weakening focuses on prolonged symptoms that are left untreated.
The human heat is stated to be one of the most efficient “engines” in the world which keeps working relentlessly in spite of stress and strain of everyday life. Chronic sleep disorder may not affect the heart directly. But it may result from the nervous and cardiovascular problems may slowly develop into what is called the DOMINO EFFECT which may ultimately result in heart failure. It may not be a heart attack. But the organ may lose its efficiency at a significant level. There could be many other negative impacts from the DSPS as well.
Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome Treatments
If your DSPS problem is in the initial stages, we recommend you to expose your body and eyes to the early morning sunlight. In the initial days, it could be a problem since your mind and body refuse to let you get up from the bed as the Melatonin secretions are more at that time. But it is not consistent. Once you condition your mind and body, the routine will automatically switch over to the early to bed and early to wake system. It may take a few days or a few weeks, depending on your present health conditions.
Severs Stage Treatments
In the severe stage, your body is essentially deprived of the essential and vital proteins and nutrients. It may also result in lack of water content. Your first task is to supply these two essential items though foods, fruit juices, and protein supplements. Try and change your work in the morning to the evening schedule. We are aware of the practical problems if you happen to be a shift worker, or a doctor, etc. in such cases you may need medical treatments to condition the Circadian rhythms to your work schedule.
If you can afford to change your schedule, you should do it immediately. But your sleep cycle will not return to normalcy abruptly. You may need light therapy, massage therapy, or other forms of natural stimulation of melatonin secretion. It may take several weeks before your sleep cycle becomes normal.
Critical Stage Treatments
In the chronic stages also, the first step is to restore the body to healthy conditions. For the DSPS you may consult your physician. He may prescribe the medications and therapy based on your DSPS intensity. Besides, he will also treat you for the negative impact of DSPS on your physical and psychological health and wellbeing. It may include light therapy, psychotherapy, and relaxation exercises for your body and mind. The duration of medication and treatment may vary, depending on how fast your recovery is. But you can expect positive results.
Chronic Stage Treatments
In the chronic stage, the medical or therapeutic method as prescribed by your physician is the first step in restoring your body to the normal health conditions. Then he may prescribe medication and light therapy to restore your sleep to normal cycle gradually. At this stage, he may advise you on making some critical changes in your job, lifestyle, addictive habits, and other related aspects. We suggest you follow the guidelines strictly to ensure healing. You should also try and follow the instructions in the post-recovery period.
Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome – Behavioral Change Therapy
In spite of all the efforts and treatments, the probability of DSPS relapse is still high. It could be due to the deep-rooted behavioral disorder. In such cases, we suggest you go through the Behavioral Change Therapy to make the positive impact of earlier treatments long lasting.