Jefferson University Hospitals

Delayed Sleep-Phase Syndrome

If you have delayed sleep-phase syndrome (DSPS), then you generally fall asleep at a later time and have difficulty waking up in the morning. For an accurate diagnosis of this disorder, seek the expertise of sleep medicine specialists of the Jefferson Sleep Disorders Center.

Since DSPS is frequently misdiagnosed and often confused with other disorders such as depression or ADHD, our specialists will perform several tests to reach an adequate diagnosis. Tests may include a polysomnogram (or sleep study, to rule out other disorders) and a sleep log to evaluate daily sleep and wake times, among others.


  • Bright light therapy, so you are better able to go to bed and fall asleep at a relatively normal time in the evening, and able to wake up and get out of bed at a normal time the next day
  • Melatonin supplements, to help realign biological rhythms with the light/darkness cycle
  • Chronotherapy, a gradual change in your sleep/wake times over the course of a few weeks to implement a new sleep/wake schedule that allows you to fall asleep earlier and wake up earlier in the morning
  • Use of various devices to lessen light exposure in the evening

Delayed Sleep-Phase Syndrome in Children

Children with DSPS resist going to bed before they are sleepy and have difficulty getting up in the morning. Although there is no formal test to diagnose delayed sleep phase syndrome, Jefferson pediatric sleep medicine specialists will ask for a description of the sleep problem. An overnight sleep study may be recommended to be sure that no other sleep disorder is present.

If your child is undergoing a sleep study at Jefferson, our staff is willing to accommodate a parent's or caregiver's needs so that you and your child feel as comfortable as possible during the overnight stay. If you'd like to stay in the room with your child, we can provide a cot or recliner for you to sleep on. If you prefer to sleep in an adjacent room, we will provide you with a wireless baby monitor so that you can hear your child should he or she need you.

Make an Appointment

Call 1-800-JEFF-NOW (1-800-533-3669) to make an appointment with a Jefferson Health specialist.