Sun, 12 Aug 2007

delayed sleep phase syndrome

My girlfriend recently found this article on wikipedia about delayed sleep phase syndrome, and immediately showed it to me since it describes my sleeping habits exactly. It's interesting as it seems just be a more extreme case of the natural circadian rhythm which has some people being "owls" or those who tend to go to sleep naturally later in the night (midnight - 2am). And on the flip side there are "Larks" who naturally go to bed earlier, and in turn wake up earlier. Along with that there is advanced sleep phase syndrome which is the exact opposite to delayed sleep phase syndrome. And in between are people who sleep more regular hours, sometimes referred to as "hummingbirds". From what I read Owls and Larks each account for about 15% of the population while the remaining 70% are hummingbirds.

In the case of these sleeping problems the best solution seems to be to find a lifestyle that fits with your sleeping since the trouble isn't sleeping at all, it's just when you sleep. All through school, and while I was working 9-5 I always had massive trouble going to bed at night, and getting up in the morning. I tried all kinds of different methods to try and get myself to sleep earlier but nothing ever worked. Even after struggling to get up in the morning, working a long day and then trying to go to bed early I would just lay there forever not falling asleep until after 2am. And thus getting up in the morning would be a massive pain, and thus I've always been late for everything in life if it's in the morning hours. Now that I'm self employed I can pretty much work my own hours and so I just go to sleep when I'm tired at 4 or 5am and sleep until I'm not tired and get up around noon. Unfortunately the world doesn't really work on those hours so finding a lifestyle to fit the more extreme cases of owls and larks isn't always easy, and is almost always a problem during school. But knowing what the problem is certainly makes it easier to find a solution. All through school it was assumed that I just slept too much and the solution seems to be finding out why I slept such long hours, when in fact, I wasn't sleeping very much at all since I was mostly just laying in bed at night not sleeping, or at least not getting any good sleep, and then getting up way to early. In turn making me seem tired all of the time as school hours are nearly my natural sleep hours.

This article titled Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sleep (But Were Too Afraid To Ask) is a great overview of sleep in general and worth reading if your interested.

posted at: 05:46 | path: /general | permanent link to this entry


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