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3 Key Steps for Treating Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome
In this section, we will discuss delayed sleep phase syndrome. Delayed sleep phase syndrome is a different type of circadian rhythm maladjustment. In Jeff’s case, delayed sleep phase syndrome became a somewhat urgent matter. Jeff was a school teacher who scheduled a session with me in late August.
Jeff explained that he was a night owl throughout the summer and had therefore fallen into an atypical sleep pattern. By the time Jeff had scheduled his first session, he was going to bed as late as 4 or 5 a.m. Jeff stated, "I’m starting to panic. I’m sure you know that within two weeks I have to conform to the normal class schedule and be in the classroom by nine." Before Jeff contacted me, he had tried to get to sleep earlier each night, but his circadian rhythms were aligned on a 4 a.m. to noon schedule.
Step 1: Initial Phase Delay
Step 2: Subsequent Phase Delays
If your client cannot devote this amount of time to treatment, you might consider referring back to the techniques on track 7. However, in Jeff’s case phase delay could be worked into his schedule. Therefore, Jeff agreed to continue the therapy. Is it possible for your client to devote a week to phase delay?
Step 3: Maintaining the Rhythm
Jeff asked, "How do I do that?" How might you have responded to Jeff? I reviewed techniques from other tracks on this course with Jeff. These techniques can be found in your Reproducible Client Worksheets and include mental imagery and relaxation techniques. Would you agree that by letting Jeff choose from a number of techniques he could find the one that works for him? At a later session, Jeff stated, "It was helpful to have a number of different ways to get to sleep.I just chose the one I liked and it seemed to work better than the other ones."
Would you consider using phase delay to treat a client with delayed sleep phase syndrome?
In this section, we discussed delayed sleep phase syndrome. Delayed sleep phase syndrome is a different type of circadian rhythm maladjustment. Our discussion focused on treating delayed sleep phase syndrome through a three step intervention called phase delay. The three steps to phase delay are initial phase delays, subsequent phase delays, and maintaining the rhythm.
In the next section, we will discuss treating narcolepsy. We will discuss methods for decreasing narcoleptic occurrences, tips for those who live with a narcoleptic, and sleep inertia.
Peer-Reviewed Journal Article References:
Richardson, C., Micic, G., Cain, N., Bartel, K., Maddock, B., & Gradisar, M. (2019). Cognitive “insomnia” processes in delayed sleep–wake phase disorder: Do they exist and are they responsive to chronobiological treatment? Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 87(1), 16–32.
Selby, E. A. (2013). Chronic sleep disturbances and borderline personality disorder symptoms. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 81(5), 941–947.
Walters, E. M., Jenkins, M. M., Nappi, C. M., Clark, J., Lies, J., Norman, S. B., & Drummond, S. P. A. (2020). The impact of prolonged exposure on sleep and enhancing treatment outcomes with evidence-based sleep interventions: A pilot study. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 12(2), 175–185.
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