Summary: My body clock is shifted back about 4 hours. I go to bed after 2 AM and feel depressed after that time. How would you deal with it?
I can happily go to bed as early as 10 PM and as late as 5 AM (and now and then not at all). My median bedtime is around 2 AM, simply because I fail to wrap up other projects before a "proper" bedtime, and will insist on finishing them unless exhaustion overtakes me. The problem I am having is a pattern that I've fallen into for a year or longer, and it's not drowsiness in class or anything like that.
Every time I stay up past 2 AM, and am on the computer, I will become depressed and emotional, wishing for somebody on my chat program to keep me company. I often vent at them when this occurs, claiming that nobody really cares to help me through my weak moments in favor of going to bed. It makes me unpleasant, to say the least. This week, I am attempting to fix my sleeping patterns through any reasonable means, to rid myself of my nighttime depression and possibly boost my energy during classes.
Wikipedia calls my problem "Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome," distinct from insomnia in that sleep is only possible at the body's own bedtime, rather than being continually difficult. It goes on to state that the syndrome is extremely difficult to shake: in a study, 55 out of 61 patients who were treated with melanin for 6 weeks reverted to their old sleeping habits within the year. It also mentions that half of DSPS sufferers are also clinically depressed, though they are not necessarily related; nonetheless, the editors suggest that treatment for one problem will aid treatment of the other.
Sleep itself is relaxing and effective, provided I wake up of my own volition, after 6-9 hours, though once I slept for a full 16. I have a comfortable cot and typically fall asleep within 15 minutes of setting my mind to it. The problem is making the journey from my computer to the bed. I understand the importance of sleep, and even want to start napping during the day, but it really hasn't sunk in that it's causing me problems. I still seem to unconsciously view other, relatively inane activities as higher priorities.
My current plan of treatment is to take up meditation, every night at 11:30 PM. I will conduct some research as to proper meditation practices and applications. My hope is that I can transition from a relaxed, meditative state directly into sleep with nothing more than standing up and getting into bed.