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The difference between delayed sleep phase syndrome and insomnia

Do you find it impossible to fall asleep before a certain time? Perhaps you suffer from delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS) rather than insomnia. They're actually two different disorders, although they share similar symptoms.

Many people who suffer with DSPS will consider themselves 'night owls'. No matter how hard they try, they'll find it very difficult to have a 'normal' sleep schedule - often spending a long time in bed before falling asleep. Once they fall asleep though, they tend not to have any difficulty getting a full night of sleep - often meaning they'll wake in the late morning or afternoon when there are no restrictions on wake times.

Insomniacs, on the other hand, will still have difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, waking too early and not feeling 'restored' upon waking - regardless of how much time they have available for sleep.

It's important to understand the difference between insomnia and delayed sleep phase syndrome as the treatment options are different. Take a look at the advice shared by Dr Harris and Dr Thorpy over at the NY Times consults column for more information and advice.

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Last updated: September 9, 2010

This Article Was Written By

Martin Reed

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