Welcome, night owls!

I have seen a lot of people online complaining about how they are just not adjusting well to the time change from Standard to Daylight Saving time. It's been hard on me, too, but I keep it in perspective because of my son's sleep disorder. He has Non-24-Hour Circadian Rhythm Disorder. His circadian rhythm has his body thinking there are about 25.5 hours in a day. What happens is, if he's allowed to "free-run" or sleep and wake on his own body's natural rhythms, he will eventually go all the way around the clock to where he's going to sleep in the morning and waking up in the evening, etc. As you might imagine, this has caused a LOT of trouble at school.

All that trouble is behind him now that he's only a few weeks away from graduation, but there was a point in time where I didn't think he'd finish high school. It was sleep rehabilitation at Kennedy Krieger Institute, an incredible doctor at Johns Hopkins, and the miracle drug Rozerem that finally helped.

Here's an article written about him in the Johns Hopkins publication Pediatrician (he's on page 3, and that's his doctor in the photo and one of his sleep logs on her computer screen):
Johns Hopkins Article

All that being said, I wanted to share the letter I wrote for his teachers at school when he was in middle school to explain to them exactly what he was going through and how just having him go to bed earlier wouldn't solve his problems. I also had to explain to them how his sleep disorder affected him in more ways than just having trouble sleeping.

My son's doctor at Johns Hopkins liked this letter so much, she adapted it for use with her other patients' parents. It's also been posted online in several places and has helped a lot of other kids and their parents. For those of you who are true larks and think people who can't wake up early are just being lazy, hopefully this letter will help you see that is not the case.

If you're a parent of a teenager with DSPS (Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome, where their natural circadian rhythm is shifted to later bedtime and later wake time) or Non-24 and need some help explaining the disorder to your child's school, contact me via email for a consultation. [lauracurtis at gmail]

Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome and Non-24-hour Circadian Rhythm Disorder 
Document explaining DSPS and non-24-hour circadian rhythm disorder and the disorders' effects on my teenaged son. 
Intended audience: School teachers and administrators
Used by Children's Sleep Center at Johns Hopkins to offer help to other parents of night owl children. 

Links to document sources: 

Circadian rhythm sleep disorders: pathophysiology and potential approaches to management.

Treatment of delayed sleep phase syndrome

The psychological aspects of patients with delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS)


Links to other sources not used in this paper, but helpful nonetheless:

Frequency of Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome Among Hospitalized Adolescent Psychiatric Patients

Pathways to Adolescent Health: Sleep Regulation and Behavior

Poor recovery sleep after sleep deprivation in delayed sleep phase syndrome

Predisposing factors in delayed sleep phase syndrome

Effects of melatonin on the quality of life in patients with delayed
sleep phase syndrome

If this page and/or my paper has helped you, please consider making a donation. Thank you very much, and pleasant dreams! :)