Question: I am 42 and have suffered from DSPS my entire life. I suspect I also have N24. I’ve tried sleep debt to no avail. I found that Melatonin at night helped me to “manage” the problem, allowing me to fall asleep around 2 and get up around 10.
However, now that I am pregnant, my Ob won’t let me take Melatonin, and because one of the symptoms of pregnancy in the 1st trimester is extreme fatigue and tiredness, I find myself sometimes napping in the afternoon, which makes everything worse. Since I am pregnant and have had two previous miscarriages, I am not willing to deprive myself of sleep in any way when I am able to fall asleep. The problem has gotten so bad that I am now having a hard time falling asleep before the sun comes up. Yesterday, for example, I didn’t fall asleep until 7 am and then slept until 2. I am extremely distressed b/c I can’t function. I can’t work, can’t get to some of my doctor’s appts (my clinic only has appts until 1 pm), and my marriage is suffering. I’m really worried about what is going to happen once the baby comes, if I am even able to hang on to this pregnancy. Please help me. What can I do to normalize my sleep pattern without taking something that might harm the baby, and without sleep deprivation?Kevin: Hey Kelly, thanks for writing in and sharing your situation. Have you looked into or tried bright light therapy before? It’s the most natural way to adjust your internal body clock, the mechanism that controls when you feel tired. Granted, one of the characteristics of people who are prone to delayed sleep phases is a body clock that is less easily shifted with bright light, but using a light therapy device over 10,000 lux regularly could help you out, without taking the melatonin which is thought to possibly have strange effects on fertility.I hope to have a more comprehensive article on bright light therapy coming soon. If you’d like to stay alerted about it you can follow our RSS feed.All the best with your pregnancy!Kevin