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Advanced Sleep Phase Syndrome (ASPS)

What is Advanced Sleep Phase Syndrome (ASPS)?

Everyone has a circadian rhythm (natural "clock") that tells the body when to sleep and when to wake up. In children with Advanced Sleep Phase Syndrome (ASPS), this "clock" is set at least two hours earlier than in most people. This causes them to feel tired earlier than a normal bedtime.

Children with ASPS feel tired early in the evening and wake up too early for school or other activities. Even if they go to bed at a normal time, they tend to wake up too early. Once kids with ASPS fall asleep, they usually sleep normally. Kids with ASPS can have trouble functioning in the late afternoon and evening time. They can also wake others in the home.

What causes Advanced Sleep Phase Syndrome (ASPS)?

  • It can be due to behavior, such as when children wake up early to watch television
  • It is more common in children with neurodevelopmental disorders
  • It can be genetically passed on from family to family

What are the signs of Advanced Sleep Phase Syndrome (ASPS)?

  • Waking up too early for at least 3 months; and
  • Trouble staying awake in the afternoon/evening for at least 3 months

How is it diagnosed?

  • Provider will talk with you and your child
  • A physical exam will be done
  • You may be asked to keep a sleep log to write down the sleep and awake times, as well as if your child is feeling sleepy or wide awake. If your child is old enough, they can keep their own log.

How should I care for my child?

The body’s natural “clock” needs help to reset (awake during the day and sleep during the night). Some of the ways to do this can include:

  • Change sleep and wake times by using bright light exposure and having a bedtime routine.
  • Do not give melatonin or other sleep aids unless directed by provider.
  • Your provider may suggest sitting in front of a sunny window or using a light box in the afternoon to adjust the body's clock.

When should I call the clinic?

Call the clinic if:

  • You have any questions
  • Continued trouble staying awake or sleeping at night


This information is not specific to your child but provides general information. If you have any questions, please call your clinic.

Reviewed 10/2018

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This page is not specific to your child, but provides general information on the topic above. If you have any questions, please call your clinic. For more reading material about this and other health topics, please call or visit Children's Minnesota Family Resource Center library, or visit

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