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Abnormal sleep schedule
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Abnormal sleep schedule

For the last 11 years I've had the same issue with my sleep. I sleep a normal amount of time, between 7 and 8 hours, but it occurs at the 'wrong' time of day. My normal time to fall asleep is around 6am. I've tried both prescription and over-the-counter sleep aids to try and sleep at a normal time. But these only result in me being tired and groggy, yet still unable to fall asleep until around 6am. If I force myself to stay awake for a prolonged period of time (36+ hours) I can fall asleep from exhaustion at a normal time, and even wake at a normal time. But this only corrects the problem for a day or two before I find myself again unable to sleep before my usual 6am bedtime. I've also tried herbal remedies, relaxation techniques, inducing severe boredom to try to induce sleep, and seen psychiatrists about the issue being caused by depression/anxiety. If I have other people force me awake at a normal time, I feel severely sleep deprived and tired, yet can't fall back to sleep again until nearly the usual time, around 5am in these cases. Other than the odd timing of my sleep, everything seems normal. I have normal REM sleep, wake refreshed and alert, have no periods of tiredness or grogginess throughout the day and by all accounts from those around me, am perfectly normal...albeit 7 or 8 hours 'off' the norm. I'm wondering if anyone else who also has this problem (normal sleep, but at an abnormal time) has found a way to get themselves on a more socially acceptable schedule. This is making getting and keeping a job difficult, effects my social life severely, and even makes simple things like seeing a doctor or going grocery shopping nearly impossible. (From what I've heard and read, this problem is referred to as 'Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder')
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1355118_tn?1298568479
Hi, you are experiencing shift work sleep disorder. This is common when there is a disturbance in normal sleep pattern. This happens when you force yourself to work in the night for few days and leads to a habit. There will overall shift of the sleep cycle. If you continue this for longtime then it can be problem and can lead to chronic insomnia.

The sleep problems can be resolved by transferring from the night shift or by adopting a daily sleep routine that is consistent seven days per week. Chronic insomnia may develop in individuals who work the night for a long time.

There is nothing to worry, you can go for non-pharmacological means; Photo therapy, maintenance of sleep hygiene. The therapy consists of light therapy where you will be exposed to specific amount of light during day to alter your abnormal melatonin turnover.

I suggest you to consult physician. Take care and regards.
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Avatar_m_tn
I've already seen several physicians, and I do not have insomnia. All of them have also ruled out Shift Work Sleep Disorder, since my sleep schedule issues are not caused by any outside schedule demanding I stay awake. (This includes social and professional obligations that one might have keeping them up at night.) I sleep just fine, but at the wrong time of day. I do not have a night job, nor have I ever had one. I have on many occasions attempted exactly what you're suggesting with the regular routine, and it has never worked. Regardless of what I try, including regular routines and even medication, my sleep schedule always resets to sleeping during the day. If I do, by using medication and following specific routines, force myself to sleep at night for up to three weeks straight with no exceptions, within 48 hours of me stopping the medication I find myself again lying awake until morning and my schedule is once again set to sleeping during the day. And this is without stopping the normal routines. I'm not about to medicate myself to sleep forever, especially when I can, and regularly do, get good sleep. Even if the timing of it is highly inconvenient.

As for the light therapy, that has also been tried on more than one occasion. The only time it seemed to help at all is if the therapist subjected me to normal 'morning' light levels at night. At which point I'd fall asleep rather quickly, though wake up after only a few hours unless I slept with the lights on all night. And then just as the sun was coming up, I'd get sleepy again and end up waking at my normal time in the early afternoon.

My current therapist and physician, who are working closely together on this problem, both seem to be agreeing I may just be a natural nocturnal and the therapist has even suggested I just get a night job.
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