Familial Advanced Sleep-Phase Syndrome
Sufferers of Familial Advanced Sleep-Phase Syndrome invariably go to bed and rise early, conventionally three to four hours earlier than the so-called normal sleeper. The circadian rhythm—our body’s processes recurring naturally on a twenty-four hour cycle—of such people is biologically different. The disorder causes melatonin blood levels and the core temperature of the body to cycle at earlier times than others. Geneticists suggest that the inherent problem could be near the 2q gene, or in the hPer2 gene, controlled by the prachiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalamus. Mutations of the gene cause a serine to glycine mutation. Essentially, the body’s natural schedule becomes corrupted where the gene is missing a necessary component and altering typical circadian rhythm.
People with Familial Advanced Sleep-Phase Syndrome conventionally show a near normal sleep pattern of normal quality and span; however, the sleep onset occurs earlier than desired. Other symptoms occurring for more than three months at a time include the inability to stay away until “normal” bedtime or where the opposite is true, and sufferers have the inability to remain asleep until “normal” wake time. Symptoms of this degree usually occur in the elderly more than in their younger counterparts.
Moreover, the affected have less daytime or afternoon energy and alertness, may overdose on sleep medications or alcohol and suffer emotional and physical problems. Statistics show that those with Familial Advanced Sleep-Phase Syndrome are evenly distributed between men and women. Additionally, the condition might bring about digestive complications: diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pains, ulcers and constipation.
Scientists have found FASPS is linked to a mutation in a specific clock gene. No specific mutations have been found for DSPS, but observers feel that there is a major genetic component in the origin of that disorder.
Usually, this syndrome is not treated, unless it becomes such a burden that the subject demands treatment. Treatment for Familial Advanced Sleep-Phase Syndrome involves chronotherapy, which take into account the body’s natural rhythms, along with bright light therapy. The latter attempts to cause the body to think it is daylight longer by extendeding light exposure. Light tables and similar apparatuses are installed in the home to move the sleep phase backwards. Melatonin treatments work for some. Often, when treatment is not successful, those afflicted with Familial Advanced Sleep-Phase Syndrome must adapt their social and physical lifestyles to fit the disturbance.
General Advanced Sleep-Phase Syndrome