Advanced Sleep Phase Syndrome (ASPS)
Overview of Advanced Sleep Phase Syndrome
ASPS is relatively rare, but there is a suggestion that the elderly are more likely to complain of symptoms. There is also a genetic link – if anyone in your family has it, you are more likely to experience symptoms. Many people are early to bed, early to rise, but this syndrome is characterized by an inability to stay awake past 8-9pm.
People whose body clock is shifted early may try to stay up later, despite their tiredness, but still wake early in the morning. The reduced amount of sleep can be a problem, causing sleepiness at other times during the day, and can affect quality of life and health.
Causes of Advanced Sleep Phase Syndrome
Similar to many animals, we tend to feel tired when the sun goes down and awake when it gets lighter. It is possible that people with ASPS have an extreme sensitivity to the amount of light and their feeling of tiredness. This is supported by evidence that treatment with bright lights in the evening can help people feel less tired in the early evening. The genetic link means that if anyone in your close family suffers from ASPS, you are more likely to experience symptoms. Damage to the part of the brain that regulates the circadian rhythm can also cause circadian rhythm disorders.
Treatment for Advanced Sleep Phase Syndrome
Apart from bright light therapy, drugs that can minimize daytime sleepiness and help reset the biological clock (like melatonin) can be helpful.
Even mild advancement of the body clock can cause problems, especially in family and social situations, or for shift workers and people who drive, even occasionally, later in the evening. Talk to your doctor about remedies.
Light Treatment for Sleep Disorders: Consensus Report: IV. Sleep Phase and Duration Disturbances
Efficacy of Enhanced Evening Light for Advanced Sleep Phase Syndrome
Delayed and advanced sleep phase symptoms.