Question: I’ve had a tendency to stay up late and sleep in at least since high school. I’m now currently 28 years old, and a natural bedtime for me would be between 1 and 2:30 AM typically. The article says that 2 to 4 AM is typical for DSPS (so maybe I have a “mild” case?)
I’ve been able to get on a more “normal” sleep schedule on and off, but never permanently. Over the last couple of years I’ve been treated for depression and ADHD with limited success. Daytime sleepiness has been a big part of this as I continually try to adjust my schedule to my job’s 8-5 office hours. I had never considered the possibility that my body’s natural sleep phase was delayed, I’ve just been working off the assumption that I’m tired because I’m depressed and I lack the discipline to fight through it. Could it be that I have it backwards and that I’m depressed because I’m tired all the time?I am lucky in that my boss is flexible with my work hours to an extent. It is difficult enough for me to get up in the morning that I’ll often get into work after 10 and work until around 7:30 PM. However, I have been told that it would be preferable for me to at least get in by around 9 AM. So I always try to shoot for normal work hours, going to bed around 10 PM and setting my alarm for 6 AM. Of course this results in me staring at the ceiling for hours (time that I could be using to do house work, making dinner, take up a hobby…), and then in the morning I don’t think it’s overstating it to say that I probably hit the snooze button 10 or more times typically. So I roll in to work late (and feel guilty and embarrassed about it), stay late so I get a full day in, then when I get home I only have an hour or two before I have to try to go to bed again and repeat the excruciating process.So, last night and this morning I tried an experiment. I figured I’d be late to work anyway, so I thought I’d see what happened if I just went to bed at 1 AM and set my alarm for 9. I fell asleep probably around 1:30 and actually woke up a little bit before my alarm went off, feeling considerably more refreshed than usual. (And since I’d made the decision to go to bed later, I was able to actually use the time between 10 PM and 1 AM productively!) I think I may have a conversation with my boss about the possibility of making this schedule permanent as I think I will be considerably happier. Now if I could just find a bank that’s open after 10 PM…