How are circadian rhythm sleep disorders treated?
First, we find out what your child's natural sleep patterns are. Then we use strategies to shift the timing of sleep along with timed light exposure to help reset sleep patterns that are closer to desired wake and sleep times.
Since light is the body's biological "time-keeper," light therapy can be a helpful approach to correct a teen’s circadian rhythm. Light therapy may include avoiding bright light and planning exposure to bright light at specific times of day. Bright light options include natural sunlight or a light box, a device that emits very bright light. Light therapy treatment plans are individualized for each teen, based on their current sleep habits and unique situation.
Once your teen reaches the desired sleep schedule, it is important to maintain consistent bedtime and wake times. Even on weekends or holidays, teens should wake up within one hour of their weekday schedule. Naps should be avoided. Your provider can help solve any problems your teen may have with following the schedule so they can be successful.
Before starting treatment for delayed sleep phase disorder, parents should consult a provider at the Children's Hospital Colorado Sleep Program because certain conditions may get worse if not properly treated. Using bright light therapy inappropriately can make a delayed sleep phase disorder worse.
It is important that we also address other causes of daytime sleepiness or sleep disruptions, such as snoring and obstructive sleep apnea, movement disorders, narcolepsy and many others.
Why choose us for treatment of delayed sleep phase disorders?
Our care team has specialized expertise in diagnosing and treating a variety of sleep disorders, including circadian rhythm sleep disorders. The team includes physicians who specialize in sleep medicine, pediatric neurology, pediatric pulmonology and pediatric ear, nose and throat (ENT), sleep psychologists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, respiratory therapists and dedicated sleep nurses.
We see children who have been referred to us from all over the Rocky Mountain region for evaluation of any and all sleep concerns. Our providers are also actively involved in pediatric sleep research. We collaborate with patients and families to develop an individualized treatment plan for a variety of sleep issues.