Advanced Sleep Phase Disorder is a natural tendency to go to sleep earlier as we age. It is characterized as going to sleep too early and awakening too early. This is ok if it does not interfere with your social or work schedules or if it does not cause sleep deprivation or disruption. This tendency may be worsened by illness, medication, and the Fall and Winter season due to less natural light exposure. The goal of therapy is to move or delay your sleep cycle into a more neutral/optimized position. Remember that we all need about 7 hours of sleep a night and 50 hours a week. We recommend a short early day nap if needed to get the necessary amount of sleep. We try to avoid long or late naps as they may alter the sleep cycle/ rhythm further.
1. Build a sleep schedule to push back/ delay your sleep onset by 30 minutes at a time. repeat this as often as necessary to delay your sleep cycle to where you want it to be. Always build your sleep schedule with 7 hours of sleep.
2. Do engaged activities to stay up later. Do not just sit and watch boring TV
3. Get bright light or use light therapy later in the evening to delay melatonin secretion and sleep onset. Light therapy = at least 4,000 lux (brightness) from 20:00 to 22:00 (time).
4. Ok to have 1 cup of caffeinated beverage at dinner
5. Avoid medications and alcohol in the evening that may cause sleepiness in the evening.
6. Exercise later in the day or evening
7. Stay in dark, quiet, bedroom and rest even if you awaken early until the 7 hours is up. Try not to think or do any activity. Do not read, watch TV, or use electronic devices that awaken and engage your brain.
8. If an inability to sleep (Insomnia), please refer to our Insomnia section and tip sheet.
9. Do not take melatonin when we are trying to treat advanced sleep phase disorder