Question: I have been suffering with the exact symptoms since about year 10 at school; which was about 6-7 years ago! My Mum always nagged at me saying it was my fault, that if I went to bed earlier, stopped reading late into the night, woke up on time.. that it would fix it.
She refused to believe that I COULD NOT fall asleep.. I’d go to bed at 9-10pm… lay awake until about 3am and then it would be practically impossible to wake me up for school… it’s been like that since… the only times I’ve been able to sleep before 2am is when I skip an entire night of sleep and am thus utterly exhausted… but then because of the lack of sleep the day before I’ll sleep all day and thus it won’t have changed anything… People thought I might have Insomnia.. but once I’m asleep.. I sleep fine! Will sleep right through, without waking up until noon… If I go off my own schedule of when I want to sleep and when I want to wake up, I’m fine, I’m energetic, I sleep great… but when I have to get up for work, or other things… I’m exhausted all day, I’m often late for morning shifts at work and I feel awful…So when I stumbled across “Delayed sleep phase syndrome’ last night… I’ve never felt so relieved in my life.. that it is NOT my fault, that I’m not just lazy and everything… It holds hope.. that maybe it can be corrected… and if it can’t I have an actual condition to blame it on, rather than people thinking I’m just lazy.Kevin: Hey Jess, your story rings familiarity to the situations of many others, and is testament to why we need to continue to educate people about the science of sleep and alertness, so these misunderstandings can be diminished and helpful solutions can be arrived at. I’m glad you took the time to find out about it! :-)If you’re keen on reducing your delayed sleep phase symptoms and sleeping at more “traditional” hours, you’ll want to learn about shifting your circadian rhythms. As it applies to sleep, this means shifting the times at which sleep or alertness-inducing hormones are released in your body. The most effective way to make this shift is using bright light therapy. We’ll have more articles on this soon.All the best,Kevin