Med: Sleeping Disorder

March 16, 2008

For a large part of my time on the blog, I’ve made a big point about the fact that I haven’t attended class as often as I would have liked. I feel it prudent, now, to mention that my lack-of-attendance isn’t simply out of laziness but rather because my sleep cycles are completely screwed up.

I’m not exactly sure when this all started, and my gut feeling tells me I likely started skipping class more often, which led to sleeping later, leading to staying up later, etc. But now that I WANT to go to class again, the sleep cycle problem is proving an intimidating adversary. It’s actually referred to as, “Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome,” and it is not made up, I promise. 🙂

In the clinic, this is a condition that is often diagnosed as insomnia–but is definitely not the same thing. I have no trouble falling asleep, getting 8 hours, and feeling refreshed each day. The problem inherent in this disorder, however, is that the sleep cycle is shifted to non-ideal times. For me, my body likes to fall asleep around 5am and sleep until 1pm. Most of my friends think I’m nuts, but I can stay up until 4-5am just about every night WITHOUT even ingesting any caffeine.

This, of course, is a problem for people trying to fit in with the standard 9-5 workday–or, in my case, trying to wake up for morning classes.

As noted in my last post, I’ve been getting better at getting myself to class in the AM. But also understand that I’ve been doing so after roughly 3-4 hours of sleep/night–NOT FUN. I have my computer as my alarm clock to blast music (ensuring I wake up), and I definitely need a morning caffeine blast as well as a late-afternoon nap to keep myself functioning. People love to say that I should stop napping and that will fix the problem, but it really doesn’t. If I nap, I’m able to be productive for the later portions of the night. If I don’t, I still don’t really fall asleep at a “normal” time, but I’m just kind of “out of it” for the night and cannot be productive.

I’m giving it a little more time to start resolving itself. The clock change & more sunlight should help, and I’ve been trying to integrate OTC sleep aids to make myself tired earlier. So far, results have been only “ok.” A little bit longer, and I’m going to probably ask my doctor for a sleep-aid prescription.

So when we laugh about my inability to go to class, remember I’m not just always being lazy. Sometimes 3 hours of sleep just doesn’t get the job done.

And if you’re interested, check out the link–I’ve actually found Wikipedia’s entry to be quite thorough: 


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