Parent's Guide: Delayed Sleep-Wake Phase Disorder


Bedtime can be a struggle for parents trying to get their kids to go to sleep. But for some kids, even getting them into bed won't offer relief. While occasional difficulty falling asleep is perfectly normal, some children and teens find it nearly impossible to go to sleep when they want to, and if that's the case for your child, you might be facing something called Delayed Sleep-Wake Phase Disorder (DSWPD). At 5 Little Monkeys, our mission is to help kids everywhere get better, healthier sleep, so we'd like to shed some light on this common problem.

What to Do About DSWPD

DSWPD is a common sleep disorder that causes the body's natural cycle of sleeping and wakefulness to happen later than the normal or desired time, which can cause a whole host of problems. DSWPD affects between 7% and 16% of adolescence, and in fact, some scientists believe that it's actually an exaggeration of the normal delay in sleep cycles that happens after puberty.

For kids who do develop DSWPD, the biggest symptom is an inability to fall asleep at the desired time. But DSWPD is different from insomnia: whereas sufferers of insomnia have trouble sleeping in general, those with DSWPD sleep fine once they fall asleep. Instead, the problem is that their circadian rhythm, which is the 'biological clock' that guides bodily functions, is simply pushed back a couple of hours.

However, with the reality of early school start times, DSWPD can cause serious problems for teens. DSWPD can make it nearly impossible for kids to get up in the morning and can cause excessive daytime sleepiness. Left untreated, the lack of sleep from DSWPD can cause emotional and behavioral problems like depression, lowered academic performance, and even dependency on sedatives or caffeine to compensate for the issue. If you think your child may suffer from Delayed Sleep-Wake Phase Disorder, the best thing to do is contact your pediatrician to schedule an evaluation. They can work with you to design a treatment that works for your family's lifestyle.

Order Our Kids Mattress Online Today

DSWPD is a common medical condition, but for some kids, the problem isn't their bodily clock: it's their mattress. And if that's the case for your child, we can help! The 5 Little Monkeys bed is custom-designed to give kids' growing bodies the support they need for healthy, restful sleep, and we offer a 100-day satisfaction guarantee. So what are you waiting for? Order online and try our children's mattress today!