Thursday, April 02, 2009


It turns out that Tim and I are both so characteristic of those with Delayed Sleep-Phase Syndrome (or disorder, depending on how much is messes up your life) that when we volunteered for a genetic research study on sleep, they were happy to hear from us.

Apparently this Delayed Sleep-Phase Syndrome is genetic, and research indicates it is a dominant gene.

If this is the case, then more people in my family ought to have it, right? And at least one of my parents should right?


But my mother, her sisters, and her mother all have sleep patterns characteristic of a different circadian rhythm disorder called Advanced Sleep-Phase Syndrome (where you go to bed and get up unusually early, instead of late). They say this syndrome is unusually rare. (I suspect it's not rare in occurrence, but only rare in incidence of reporting because people with ASPS have nothing to complain about--they get up in time for work, school, and church, so it wouldn't be seen as the disorder that DSPS is. The world is set up for morning people.).

My quick studies of the literature on these disorders indicates they focus entirely on the treatments of the disorders, not the neurobiology involved. Both are treated as separate but related disorders.

I have a different theory. I think they are genetically the same disorder: Your circadian rhythms are being regulated by something other than light, resulting in a shifted sleep-wake cycle that is not regulated by light like most peoples'. Whether is is shifted early or late is significant on in the choice of treatment, but shouldn't be classed as separate disorders.

I'll keep you posted on how all this develops.

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