Tips for Treating Sleep Phase Disorders

The following techniques can be useful in the treatment of sleep phase disorders.

Sleep Hygiene

Our daily activities, especially before bedtime, can have a major impact on our ability to fall asleep at a normal hour. For example, drinking caffeine or exercising before bed can make it hard to achieve quality sleep and/or stay asleep throughout the night. Finding a healthy sleep routine and exercising it daily is key in achieving adequate sleep night after night.

Improve your sleep hygiene by doing the following:

  • Ensure that your sleep area is comfortable, quiet and dark. If light is a problem, consider using heavy curtains over the windows or wearing a sleep mask.

  • Reserve the bedroom for sleeping and intimacy only.

  • Avoid stimulants such as alcohol, nicotine and caffeine before bed. While alcohol may seem to help you fall asleep, your body cannot fully rest because it is working to metabolize the alcohol.

  • Try to spend some time relaxing before going to sleep.

  • Do not do any serious exercise for a few hours before bedtime.

  • If you have trouble sleeping at night, avoid taking naps during the day.

  • Set a sleep schedule and stick to it every day.

Light Therapy

feel bright light therapy deviceOne of the most effective treatments in shifting one’s sleep schedule is exposure to bright light. Light therapy, also known as phototherapy, is a treatment that consists of exposure to artificial light. The artificial light is intended to simulate sunlight, and is used in a controlled environment at set times. Light therapy is used to treat a number of circadian rhythm disorders such as jet lag, sleep phase, shift work fatigue and excessive daytime sleepiness. Light therapy is also the main form of treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which is a common form of depression related to changing seasons.

The Feel Bright Light is an effective light therapy device in treating jet lag, shift work fatigue, SAD and some insomnias.

Light Restriction

blue light filter ipadSensitivity to low levels of blue or green light at night can delay the circadian clock from producing the melatonin your brain needs to encourage sleep. Some common blue-green light emitting devices include televisions, computer screens, tablets and smartphones. By restricting exposure to this light several hours before bed, your body clock is able to operate at a normal sleep-wake cycle.

Do you often use your electronic devices before bed? Try wearing blue-light blocking glasses or using blue-light blocking filters on your iPhone or iPad a few hours before bed.


Melatonin is a hormone produced naturally by the pineal gland in the brain. Its concentration varies in a daily cycle, and is higher during the hours of sleep and lower during wakefulness.

Melatonin supplements are often recommended by doctors to assist in advancing sleep times. Take a couple hours before desired sleep time, the recommended dose is typically between 1 and 3 milligrams. Talk to your doctor before using melatonin as it is important to be taken at the right time of day in the correct dosage for your situation.

Notice: The information and advice contained in this website should be acted or relied upon only after consultation with your physician or sleep clinic.