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Battling with DSPS - Biological Rhythms, Chronomedicine & Light Therapy

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August 26th, 2005

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07:24 am - Battling with DSPS
I appear to have a combination of DSPS (Delayed Sleep Phase Syndome, makes me fall asleep much too late) and non-24 sleep-wake cycle (left to its own devices, my body runs on a 25 hour clock). I can keep the latter in check by using a lightbox every morning, but while I was falling asleep at the right time for a good few months, I went on holiday last month, it knocked my rhythms out as well as completely exhausting me (I have severe ME) and I've ended up falling asleep at 4-5 am for a while. I've got a friend coming to stay on Wednesday and this is generally causing trouble. Sleeping pills are out of the question, the last time I tried one I ended up hallucinating.

So I'm trying the method where you stay up three hours later every day. Has anyone tried this, and if so, how did you find it? I've been doing it for a couple of days now, and while falling asleep isn't too tricky, I'm waking up an hour or two earlier than planned. At least my sleep is moving, but the sleep deprivation is getting me, and the way I'm running on a different time scheme every day is completely confusing. I'm due to go to bed at 1.00 pm or possibly 1.30 (didn't get to bed until 10.30 instead of 10 as planned yesterday) this afternoon. I'm thinking of using the lightbox at the same time every day, say 8.30 am, as I'll be awake at that hour from now on. Do you reckon that will work? Any tips for what else I should be doing, for instance with light or mealtimes? I'm noticing that I go through an hour or so of feeling really, really tired during what would be mid-afternoon, and have been like this for a while. I'm not too well at the moment, ME relapse plus the humidity in August always knocks me out, but I can't leave this wonky sleep cycle any longer. I'm too tired to get much done, even reading isn't happening much, but at the moment I'm having an embroidery phase and that turns out to be something I can do even when half-asleep.

I'm just worried that I'll end up not getting enough sleep for a few nights (and I can't function when sleep-deprived, I end up in a lot of pain for starters) and then crashing at a completely wrong hour and setting my cycle even further out. Or else that I'll keep falling asleep later even once I reach my target time, though hopefully using the lightbox in the morning should combat that. The last time I tried anything like this was a while back, before I got the lightbox, and I went to bed one hour later at a time. Worked fairly well, though I ended up making it two hours a lot of the time, but then I kept cycling on. Apparently the three-hour thing is in tune with natural sleep rhythms.

cross-posted to bodyclocks, sleep_disorders and cfids_me.

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Date:September 18th, 2005 04:32 pm (UTC)
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