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Thread: Non-AB problem: Delayed sleep

  1. #1

    Default Non-AB problem: Delayed sleep

    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.

  2. #2


    Wow, that's rough! Sorry I don't have any helpful advice; my sleep has always been regular and readily available. A friend of mine periodically winds up with a shifting clock, with his internal bedtime clock shifting forward an hour every couple days when he's not working. He doesn't like it, but he just rides it out until it works back around the clock to a reasonable time and then makes every effort to hold it there.

    Good luck with your cunning scheme

  3. #3


    Hey DLGrif, I know exactly how you feel, I'm pretty much the same way including being bipolar. 2am is usually the time I like to go to bed if I have nothing going on however typically I'm unable to go to bed any earlier than that. Lucky for you, you fall asleep much faster than I do, I can take hours to fall asleep. Seems that sometimes I wake up the second I hit the pillow. Only thing that has ever gotten me to keep normal sleep hours is a full time job 10 hours a day along with school in the evening. Problem with that was I burned out and also had a bit of a nervous breakdown on the job before my trial was over, decided not to stay for personal reasons.

  4. #4


    I have Insomia ; It's a bitch.
    I am dependent on medication and can't sleep without it. But even if I don't sleep I can funtion normally all day , for a couple days. Sometimes I'll get lucky and have an hour nap.

    It is incredibly boring in the middle of the night but I read alot. I do feel lonely but not to an extent where I am lonely. Good luck to you! I hope you find something that works for you. It took me a while . I have to switch up the meds cause my body will get used to one after a while and won't affect me.

  5. #5


    Besides the typical behavioral intervention*, I would also recommend a sun light / lightbox for your use first thing in the morning. It'd likely help your circadian cycle get back into synch.

    *I'll edit them in here if you really want, but I'm assuming you've been told these things before.

  6. #6


    People who are prone to depression need to keep to a fairly stable sleep schedule. Depression is caused by a shortage of seratonin, a group of chemicals that are produced while you sleep. If you are prone to depression, even if you are normally stable, you need to avoid deviating too much from a normal schedule or you will find you quickly destabilize and become depressed until you get sufficient sleep.

    One important thing to note is that, because of this, you can no longer perform major sudden changes to your sleep schedule, such as by getting yourself up way earlier than normal then trying to just go to bed at a new time the next night. You will find yourself rather depressed for the duration of that day, in most cases. What you must do instead is roll back your wakeup time an hour or two a day and then go to bed at the appropriate time, thus ensuring you get at least 6 or 7 hours of sleep.

    Ask me how I know. After several years of deep depression and a couple of years of meds to straighten me out, I'm left in that boat. I'm still prone to depression, having had it before, and if I do not keep a stable schedule it rears its ugly head again.
    Last edited by BabyWolf; 10-Feb-2009 at 06:51.

  7. #7


    First night went fairly well. I got settled down around 12:20 AM but found myself distracted by just about every noise. After only 15 minutes though, I felt exactly as if I'd put myself in a hypnotic trance (which I am very familiar with, from roleplaying.) I couldn't think of anything but my own breathing. When I finally decided to wake myself up, I had to remind myself that I existed, and that my body existed, before I could regain control. Sleep came very easily afterwards, but I still slept until 11 AM.

  8. #8


    Meditation helps...alot. I'd also suggest really really tiring yourself out during the day and if you aren't already cutting the caffine and naps/dozing in class. It really helps more than you might think. Also white noise or static might help you. Figure out what element you're connected to. If it's water maybe listen to a waterfall or the ocean as you meditate you might fall asleep faster, I don't recomend falling asleep while meditating though. Good luck

  9. #9


    I have a similar problem in that if I don't have a set schedule, or a reason to go to bed at a normal time (say, 10) my internal clock will slip until I get to a 2 a.m. bedtime, and sleep for 8-9 hrs usually. It's hard to be productive when waking at 10-11 a.m. so I try to enforce a 10-11:30 bedtime to ensure a comfortable rest and a reasonable wake time. If you have to prompt yourself (alarm) do it until you get into the routine. It will also help if you do an activity that is less mentally taxing about an hour before your chosen bedtime, to allow your mind to start calming down. If I have difficulty falling asleep, I find the perfect sleep inducer is to drift into fantasyland and rub one out, if you get the meaning. No pills necessary, works everytime, 100% natural!

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