Question: I’m in my 40s now and I have always been like this. My natural sleep time would be 3-4 am to 12-1 pm. College was great because in the dorms people stayed up late. I specifically remember having a problem with early classes so I tried to choose later ones. It was a running joke in my freshman dorm that no one should try to wake me up because I would bite everyone’s head off!
After college I tried an 8-4 job and was miserable. I only lasted a year and a half. Occasionally getting up early was doable but 5 days a week over and over again was impossible, even with coffee. I waited tables for awhile at night which I was well suited for.Eventually I went to graduate school to become a professor. I tell people that yes I love books and intellectual thought but I also chose this profession because of DSPS. I simply tell my boss I cannot teach morning classes. So I teach afternoon and night classes.The problem is that unless you marry a person with DSPS it can still make life difficult. My spouse has an 8-5 job. Sometimes it’s tough because I feel like we are on different cycles and get less time with each other than other couples. And he tries not to wake me up in the morning and I try not to wake him up at night. Perhaps this is why I chose not to have children. I’d be great getting up at night to feed the baby but having to get kids ready for early morning school would be so painful. My advice is that if you are young put some thought into career paths that could accommodate this sleep disorder, either by flexible scheduling or late night work. Talk to a career counselor. Don’t beat yourself up for having a difficult time getting on the “real world” schedule. You are what you are. And you might be one of those with a mild case where melatonin, light boxes etc. can help. Also consider living in a city like New York, New Orleans, or Los Angeles where you will find more people awake at later times–it can help with the loneliness.Mine has gotten worse over time. I’ve learned to live with it as best I can. Good luck!