Circadian phase, dynamics of subjective sleepiness and sensitivity to blue light in young adults complaining of a delayed sleep schedule.
Sleep Med. 2017 Jun ;34:148-155. Epub 2017 Apr 4. PMID: 28522084
OBJECTIVE: To assess factors that might contribute to a delayed sleep schedule in young adults with sub-clinical features of delayed sleep phase disorder.
METHODS: Two groups of 14 young adults (eight women) were compared: one group complaining of a delayed sleep schedule and a control group with an earlier bedtime and no complaint. For one week, each subject maintained a target bedtime reflecting their habitual sleep schedule. Subjects were then admitted to the laboratory for the assessment of circadian phase (dim light melatonin onset), subjective sleepiness, and non-visual light sensitivity. All measures were timed relative to each participant's target bedtime. Non-visual light sensitivity was evaluated using subjective sleepiness and salivary melatonin during 1.5-h exposure to blue light, starting one hour after target bedtime.
RESULTS: Compared to control subjects, delayed subjects had a later circadian phase and a slower increase of subjective sleepiness in the late evening. There was no group difference in non-visual sensitivity to blue light, but we found a positive correlation between melatonin suppression and circadian phase within the delayed group.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that a late circadian phase, a slow build-up of sleep need, and an increased circadian sensitivity to blue light contribute to the complaint of a delayed sleep schedule. These findings provide targets for strategies aiming to decreasing the severity of a sleep delay and the negative consequences on daytime functioning and health.