Can you barely handle early mornings? Do you ever find yourself nodding off in morning meetings? Feeling like you’re going to die when your alarm clock goes off at 7 a.m.? If so, you aren’t alone. You may be suffering from a sleep disorder known as delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS).
The Atlantic reports that it’s estimated that 400,000 Americans are affected by this sleep disorder. So, why does DSPS make it so difficult for many workers to thrive? The syndrome means that an individual’s internal clock is set differently. We all know this internal clock well: it’s what controls each of our circadian rhythms.
Most people suffering from DSPS have “internal clocks that run at least two hours slower than normal, giving them ‘social jet lag,’ which is pretty much what it sounds like: They’re out of sync with the rest of society.”
And, no. Just because you prefer staying up late doesn’t mean you have DSPS (sorry, people). People with DSPS “can’t fall asleep early even if they want to.”
This may sound kind of ridiculous, but it’s not. People who have this can have a really hard time finding work. And when they do, they often times aren’t as innovative or creative at the office.
So, how can people who can't do early mornings succeed and thrive? Perhaps they can try flexible work – jobs that allow a person to work whenever she wants, as long as she gets the work done. Honestly, flexible work should be allowed in most any office, really. People have lives, kids, etc., that interfere with work more often than not. And why shouldn’t they! That’s the stuff that really matters.
Anyhow, let me step off my flexible work soapbox and get to the point. DSPS is a real issue. I hope more research is done on sleep preferences and disorders in general, as it’s clear that many people don’t sleep “normally.”
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