sleep improvement

in ADHD with DSPS

Delayed Sleep-Phase Syndrome (DSPS)

Many people with ADHD suffer from the so-called Delayed Sleep-Phase Syndrome (DSPS), also known as sleep rhythm disturbance. Treatment is in the field of a psychologist, psychiatrist or other specialist. DSPS is a chronic disorder in which the patient’s biological clock is out of sync with the wake-up / night-sleep pattern of most adults and adolescents. People with ADHD and DSPS usually do not fall asleep until very late and also have problems getting up in the morning. Often clients report not being able to fall asleep until early in the morning, but they do fall asleep every night at the same time regardless of the time of bed. As a result, they can get into trouble (sleep debt) if they have to get up on time for a normal school or working day, since in those cases they only had a few hours of sleep. But if they can stick to their own sleep schedule and they don’t have other disorders like sleep apnea besides DSPS, then they sleep well. Then they wake up on their own and don’t feel sleepy until the next night. They have a normal need for sleep in their DSPS, for example from 4 a.m. to 12 noon. The result is that clients receive too little daylight and suffer from a disordered metabolism with overweight or type II diabetes.

Disruption of the alarm system

DSPS is a disruption of the body’s alarm system – the biological clock – and occurs in about 80% of people with ADHD. This problem is thought to be caused by a reduced ability to set the daily sleep-wake schedule. People with DSPS often have an abnormally late set biological clock from childhood or have a reduced response to the activating power of daylight on the biological clock. People with DSPS who try to live and work according to a normal schedule have great difficulty falling asleep on time and waking up on time the following morning, as their biological clock does not match the usual sleep / wake schedule. This is more or less comparable to people with a normally functioning biological clock who always have to work at night, or also with jet lag.


The treatment of DSPS is quite simple but requires the necessary resilience. It requires a different approach than the treatment of insomnia or insomnia (difficulty falling or staying asleep due to worrying). Discipline in following the instructions is extremely important for the method to be successful.

  • Mild and moderate cases of DSPS can be treated by having the client go to sleep 15 minutes earlier each day until the desired bedtime is reached. In the morning, one takes light therapy with the PROPEAQ light glasses for 30 minutes, for example during breakfast, preferably at a fixed time between 7 and 8 am. One gets up late then getting up 15 minutes earlier every day, followed by 30 minutes of light therapy. Go to bed 15 minutes earlier every evening / night until the desired moment is reached, preceded by wearing orange glasses for 30 minutes.
  • Avoid light after 9:00 pm, then put on the PROPEAQ light glasses (light off) with orange lenses. No screens (PC, laptop, tablet, smartphone) after 10 p.m. until the moment you go to sleep.
  • Before the start of treatment, the client is asked to sleep regularly for the week before, without naps during the day, at times that feel right for the patient. It is important that the patient is well rested before starting treatment.
  • Once the client has achieved an earlier sleep schedule, this should be adhered to very strictly. People with DSPS are recommended not to go to bed until they are actually tired, as this usually does not result in an earlier night’s sleep anyway. They are also recommended not to consume alcohol and caffeine from 20:00 onwards.
  • Use a sleep diary or sleep app.
  • Adjust lifestyle. Late chronotypes are often active (and creative) in the evening and night. It is recommended to slowly shift this behavior to an earlier time if DSPS implies a reduction in the quality of life.

21-day sleep better schedule

With the 21-day-sleep-better, the sleep / wake rhythm can be completely normalized within 21 days.

The example is of an individual with DSPS who goes to sleep at 4 AM and gets up at 11 AM. After 21 days, he / she gets up at 07:00 and goes to bed at 00:00. If you have the discipline to do this, you can also shift in steps of 30 – 60 minutes every 24 hours, so that the effect can be achieved within 1 – 2 weeks.

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