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Attempting to force oneself onto daytime society's schedule with DSPD has been compared to constantly living with jet lag; DSPD has, in fact, been referred to as "social jet lag".
Lack of public awareness of the disorder contributes to the difficulties experienced by people with DSPD, who are commonly stereotyped as undisciplined or lazy. Parents may be chastised for not giving their children acceptable sleep patterns, and schools and workplaces rarely tolerate chronically late, absent, or sleepy students and workers, failing to see them as having a chronic illness. By the time DSPD sufferers receive an accurate diagnosis, they often have been misdiagnosed or labelled as lazy and incompetent workers or students for years. Misdiagnosis of circadian rhythm sleep disorders as psychiatric conditions causes considerable distress to patients and their families, and leads to some patients being inappropriately prescribed psychoactive drugs. For many patients, diagnosis of DSPD is itself a life-changing breakthrough
People with normal circadian systems can generally fall asleep quickly at night if they slept too little the night before. Falling asleep earlier will in turn automatically help to advance their circadian clocks due to decreased light exposure in the evening. In contrast, people with DSPD have difficulty falling asleep before their usual sleep time, even if they are sleep-deprived. Sleep deprivation does not reset the circadian clock of DSPD patients, as it does with normal people