Sleep Wake

Understanding the Symptoms, Treatment, & Implications of Advanced Sleep-Wake Phase Disorder

Advanced sleep-wake phase disorder may cause some people to feel sleepy very early every evening and wake up quite early every morning. What do you mean by advanced sleep-wake phase disorder? ASP or Advanced sleep-wake phase disorder is supposed to be a circadian rhythm sleep issue. This sort of a disorder would be occurring in individuals who are used to sleeping at times which are not compatible with usual sleep times. Individuals with ASP are known to experience ‘early bird circadian clock’. These people would be falling asleep many hours before a usual bedtime. Therefore, we find that they even wake up many hours before normal waking hours as compared to most of the people. Individuals who are having ASP generally feel drowsy every afternoon and bedtime for them would be anytime between 6 p.m. to around 9 p.m. As bedtime is really early, you may find that these people would be waking up at odd hours such as 2 a.m. to 5 a.m.

As per, “Advanced sleep-wake phase disorder involves a shift in the circadian rhythm that leads to early bedtimes and arousals. People with advanced sleep-wake phase disorder experience a strong, sometimes irresistible urge to fall asleep in the evening.” These sorts of erratic circadian patterns may culminate in fatigue that makes it impossible to stay awake till normal bedtime. In certain cases, individuals having ASP may go off to sleep while eating dinner or driving the car.


Unlike some other common sleep disorders like insomnia or sleep apnea a person suffering from advance sleep phase syndrome would actually be sleeping soundly and the overall sleep quality is quite good and not disruptive, So we must understand that ASP does not at all compromise your sleep quality but people may experience just a short sleep if their bedtime is pushed backward or delayed in the evening. This type of sleep disorder does not adversely impact the school activities and daytime work. Usually, these people are frustrated as their evening outings and activities need to be cut short to respond to the urge to sleep early as opposed to the normal sleep time. This could be adversely impacting social and family relationships.  People who are having ASP, must pay attention to and be extremely cautious about driving in the evening or late afternoon. 

Symptoms of ASP

The common symptoms would include the following:

·         A strong urge to fall asleep early evening.

·         Consistent arousals every morning and people find it difficult to go back to sleep once awake so early in the morning.

·         Falling asleep effortlessly while doing certain passive activities such as eating or reading in the evening.

·         Though rarely, ASP could trigger sleepiness even during active pursuits such as exercising or driving.

·         Feeling refreshed and fully-rejuvenated once awake.


ASP is usually treated using the method called “progressive phase delay.” This method involves using light therapy, as well as, behavioral modifications for helping patients stay alert and active in the evening and fall off to sleep at a normal time at night so that he or she does not wake up very early the next morning.



Advanced Sleep-Wake Phase Disorder is supposed to be most prevalent among the relatively older or senior adults. It is equally prevalent in both women and men. There seems to be a robust genetic connection and research has revealed that somewhere between 40 percent and 50 percent of the individuals suffering from ASP are actually related to a person who seems to have the syndrome.

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