Patients find it difficult to fall asleep in the early night, and difficult to wake up naturally before afternoon.
DSPS has reached epidemic proportions in adolescents and students. It has serious repercussions for learning, social life, psychiatric disorders as well as physical well-being. DSPS leads to the epidemic in sleeping pills abuse.
Although light therapy, melatonin and chronotherapy can be used to alleviate the condition, the only true remedy is free-running sleep.
In free running sleep, the patient goes to sleep only when he or she feels tired. This leads to a gradual shift of the waking schedule towards going to sleep later and later. Eventually, the patient sleeps during the day until the cycle shifts further.
Some patients with severe DSPS can successfully continue for decades in free running sleep without apparent side effects. However, their social and professional life may be severely disrupted as a result.