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Coping With Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome For Over 40 Years

by Mary Lynn
(Southern California)

I am a woman, who will soon turn 60 yrs. old. Have had delayed sleep phase syndrome since I moved from the West coast to East Coast, about 40 years ago to attend law school. Many all-nighters in law school and during the first 20 years of my career have destroyed my ability to sleep, and/or wake-up during "normal" hours. I realized, too late, that I picked the wrong career (too stressful with many deadlines, requiring too many all nighters, and too much pressure).


After putting myself through college (UC Berkeley) and law school (Geo. Washington Univ.) I worked for about 20 years--always got in trouble for coming to work late. Always worked late into the night and for long hours because I was far more alert at night. Finally quit, to be a stay at home Mom. Husband divorced me because of my sleep schedule and inability to hold "day job". Was not diagnosed with DSPS until I was in my early 40's.

Tried melatonin -- gave me migraines.

Tried Light Box -- too difficult to deal with schedule-wise and didn't seem to work well.

I try the round-the-clock sleep cycle readjustment process once or twice a year (for more than ten years, now!). It never seems to stick. All I need is one deadline or a little anxiety -- say, packing for an out of town trip, having to finish my taxes, pay bills, prepare for a party, or "whatever" -- and my sleep schedule is blown! But hope springs eternal and I continue to try that, in connection with sleeping pill therapy. Best results with a sleep drug/ anti-depressant, called Trazedone (or Desyrel). But it leaves me w/ a morning hang-over. Once the hang-over clears up (about 2 hrs. later, I feel well-rested, alert, and productive.

Now that I am older, I find it much more difficult to do the "round-the-clock" sleep readjustment. Very difficult to push past going to sleep at 6 -7 AM. Also, the older I get, the harder it is to cope with sleep debt, on days when I am unable to get 8-9 hrs. of sleep. A day on 6 hrs of sleep, or less, will leave me feeling extremely depressed. I discovered that the feeling of depression was made much worse by the use of sleep drugs, such as Ambien. Tried it two or three times and it made me feel almost suicidal. (Happily, I had the mental "wherewithal" to realize that my sudden feelings of extreme depression were triggered by the Ambien.)

Around the same time I was diagnosed w/ delayed sleep phase syndrome (in my early 40’s) I was also diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder -- ADD (no "H" or Hyperactivity component.) I am wondering if there is any link between DSPS and ADD? Are there others out there, who have both? Or is this an unfortunate, but uncommon coincidence?

I have recently moved back to Southern California, but the move has not improved my sleep schedule. Can anyone recommend a good sleep doctor/clinic in the Los Angeles/Pasadena area?


Kevin: Dear Mary Lynn,

Thanks so much for sharing this story with us. You've been through so much, and it is stories like yours that really show us how much the rest of our lives feed off our sleep schedules in so many ways. It is submissions like the one you just wrote that make this site the big pool of insights and experiences it is, so thank you very much for that.

Your question about a link between ADD and DSPS is a good point of discussion. There may be a connection between the two, but not in exactly the way you might expect. What I immediately thought of when reading your question was something I heard a couple years ago about hidden sleep disorders in children and the misdiagnosis of ADD. I wrote about it on this site here.

I suspect connections between delayed sleep phase syndrome and ADD to be pretty similar to this in nature, in that individuals whose DSPS causes them real irregular sleep schedules and/or lack of sleep would likely have their attention affected as well. An altered ability to focus is a prominent effect of sleep deprivation.

From what I know, ADD is somewhat vague much of the time with regards to its source. It's possible then that issues that have to do with sleep are at the heart of many cases of ADD. This is really just kind of a gut reaction response, and I don't have any other knowledge myself on the subject other than what you can read with that link I included above.

Congratulations on your move back to southern California! I'm from San Diego myself, and I tell you what, that part of the world is tough to beat :-) For finding a good sleep center there, try searching the American Academy of Sleep Medicine's database of sleep centers.

I wish you continued progress for you Mary Lynn in coping with your delayed sleep phase syndrome. Feel free to keep in contact with us about your future successes, trials, and tribulations with your sleep schedule. You can always update this page using the "Post Comments" link below.

Warmly,
Kevin

Comments for Coping With Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome For Over 40 Years

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Oct 18, 2010
A.D.D. & Delayed Sleep Phase
by: James

Hello,

Regarding relationship between ADD & Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder ...

From both personal (lifelong) experience & recent research findings, I?m convinced that ADHD is strongly associated with circadian rhythm problem(s), esp. DSPS (Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome) , which seems to be very common among ADD?ers (myself included). In the 1st of 3 links below, 31 of 40 adult adhd patients had ?SOI? (sleep onset insomnia) characteristic of DSPS.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20163790

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17948273

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19110891

Hope this helps,
James

Oct 18, 2010
Thank You
by: Mary Lynn

Just want to say thanks to Kevin and James for their responses to my "story". I appreciate the encouragement and support, and the links to additional information and resources. I look forward to reading the material referred to.

This is such a great website -- providing a wealth of valuable info. I copied a few of the articles about DSPS and sent them to my divorce lawyer, so that she can understand my "issues" reelated to my "employability"; and hopefully get my husband's lawyer to uhderstand the challenges I face in trying to find and maintain "regular employment".

I will keep y'all posted on any significant developments and I sincerely appreciate your empathy and support. Thank you so much.

Aug 01, 2011
DSPS on the other end of the globe
by: Milly

Although probably not adding anything new or helpful, I'd like to add my story to this one, because I can relate to it so very much.
I am now 61, female, Dutch (and living in The Netherlands), and writing this at 4:00 AM, very awake and active.
In my teens I was called a night-owl because of my tendency to stay up late (reading). Did my school-work in the night. For 35 years I worked a 9-5 job (more like a 9-9 job, making up the for the “lost” morning hours in the evening), lacking enough sleep and sleeping in in the weekends.
In my 50's I had a burn-out combined with going through the change of life, which made my bio-clock go berserk.
Early retirement gave me the opportunity to sleep in the morning. My environment now knows not to bother me in the morning, so I can have my sleep between 5 am and 2 pm.. If I'm lucky. Too many disturbances from outside (deliveries f.i.) because life goes on out there!
And yes, I tried melatonine and various sleeping pills, light, yoga and other relax-therapies, alcohol,reading and boring films. It didn't work.
Most frustrating are people telling you to "just go to bed".
I gave up just lying in bed, waiting to fall asleep. Or trying to shift it by moving bedtime forward with 15 minutes at the time. It prolonged my lying awake time. But, once I fall asleep, I sleep well!
Just found out that this is a disorder with a name. My doctor hasn't arrived there, yet.
Well, social life is somewhat difficult, because ones overlap with "normal" people is a bit short.
Accepting the fact and not giving in to requests for morning activities has helped me. I know "they" find it "funny" or even "strange" (a whim, or deviation), but age comes with wisdom, and it doesn't effect me anymore.
I still do not get enough sleep on most nights, but it's not as bad as it used to be.
Wish all you DSPS sufferers out there patience and wisdom. The world's not ready for misfits, yet.


Sep 04, 2011
to Mary Lynn and Kevin
by: Anonymous

I also suffer from DSPS, ADD and adrenal/cortisol issues. So they seem to run together. Have another friend with same issues minus the adrenal stuff.

Sep 05, 2011
Response to Milly
by: Mary Lynn

Hello Milly in the Netherlands --

Everything you say in your post dated Aug. 1, 2011 could be written by me. Every single thing! And, peculiarly enough, my current sleep schedule -- and the one which my brain seems to like most -- is also from around 6 AM - 2 PM. I do miss daylight activities and having my schedule be so "OFF" from "Normal". I am about to see a new sleep doctor in about a week -- the head of Sleep Medicine at UCLA. I will post any "new" developments I may learn, after I see him. I am assuming that I will try the "around the clock" adjustment routine, again, as Fall approaches and the hours of day light become short.

Thank you for sharing your story, Milly. There is a little comfort in knowing that one is not so totally alone with this problem.

Jan 04, 2012
I am over 60 too, and have been affected by this for all of my life. NEW
by: Anonymous

I have only recently discovered that there is a name for the sleep disorder that has affected me for my whole life.
I am not lazy, or lacking in industriousness at all, but I do everything at the wrong end of the day.
If left to my own devices I go to bed at about 2.00 am and wake up at 11.00 am. I seem to need quite a few hours sleep a night to really feel well. If I have to get up to go to work, I still work part time, even though I am past retirement age, I can do it, but I feel really sleepy, and I have often joked that I don't start to wake up until 3.00 pm in the afternoon.
Unfortunately this is acually true.

My children are grown up now, and I am pleased to say have turned out rather well, but they still constantly remind me how when they were younger, and at school, I could never get up and take them to school, or to make their packed lunches properly.
They say I was a wonderful mother, just not in the mornings!

My own mother was similarly affected, and used to describe herself as "nocturnal."
I work hard, am quite intellectual, always ready to learn new things,and am active, but many people I know, love to point out to me that they went past my house at noon and saw the bedroom curtains were still drawn. This suggests to those that know me that I am lazy, but it just isn't true.
It is truly wonderful to know that there is an explanation for this behaviour.
Luckily, as I have already said, I can make myself get up and into work, but the downside of that is the amount of sleep I need at the weekends to "catch up," often waking up at mid-day. However if I don't do this I start to feel unwell and not "on top of my game."

I have suffered from depression and anxiety for most of my life, which is fortunately very successfully controlled by medication, but I now understand that the sleep patterns and the depression may be connected.

It is all most interesting, and I intend to do some further research on the subject, although I honestly feel that I am what I am and that those who do, will just have to continue to love me as I am!
I suspect nothing will be able to change me now.


Jan 04, 2012
To Anonymous Lady Over 60 Re: DSPS NEW
by: Mary Lynn

Again -- just like with Milly from the Netherlands, I could have written every single thing you say in your post! It is so interesting. I go through such cycles of "shame" for being unable to control my sleep schedule better, to "acceptance". I love your attitude of acceptance and will take a cue from you. I have one grown son, and he, too, has turned out very well and gives me "high marks" as a Mom! But he always knew that I was of no use in the morning. His father was on morning duty, until he decided to divorce me b/c of all of my "issues". Oh well. The divorce grinds on.

I waited 9 months to get an appt. with the head of the Sleep Medicine Dept. at UCLA. My appt. is next week. Last week they called me to tell me that they are no longer accepting my health insurance! Aaaaaargh. Trying to decide if I should just add more money to my credit card debt or look for another highly regarded sleep clinic. Although, I think I agree with you that, given the fact that I have struggled with this my whole life, lasting change seems very unlikely. Oh well, again. I had a good night's sleep last night and I am feeling good today. So off I go to get some chores done.

Thank you for joining in the discussion.

Mary Lynn

Jan 06, 2012
Thank you Mary Lynn NEW
by: Anonymous

Thank you Mary Lynn for your comments. I had no idea until this week that there was an explanation for my strange sleeping habits, and it is so reassuring to know that other people go through this too.

Perhaps it is us that is right, and everyone else that is wrong?

Maybe we just need to educate others to accept us as we are. I feel sure that most people don't have any knowledge of just how hard it is for us to fit into their schedules.

I am in the UK, so I am not affected as you are by the health insurance dilemma, but I do wish you good luck with it.

Jan 06, 2012
Thank You Anonymous in the UK NEW
by: Mary Lynn in So. Calif.

I appreciate your supportive words. Today I called to cancel my appointment with the UCLA Sleep Medicine Dept. because I decided it would be unwise for me to put another $300 - $750 on my credit cards. The doctors at UCLA are in negotiations with my health insurance carrier and may come to a resolution in the coming weeks. But who knows?

When I was posting on this web-site earlier this week, I found some links to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, which in turn provided links to other accredited Sleep Medicine Centers and I saw one closer to where I live. So I will be calling them to see if they take my health insurance. I hope they are not having the same problems as the doctors at UCLA -- the problem is that the insurance companies won't reimburse the doctors enough for their services. I don't blame the doctors. because I feel that they should be paid accordingly for their expertise and experience. The insurace company -- Blue Cross/Blue Shield of California -- doesn't want to recognize the expertise and experience of highly regarded specialists -- and they refuse to pay them enough to make it worthwhile for the doctors to take patients with BC/BS insurance. I have had this problem before with this company, with other types of specialty doctors --such as my excellent orthopedic surgeon.

People in the UK and Canada and other countries which have a national health care program are very lucky. I worked very hard to support changes in our laws to switch to a single-payer national health care program. But to no avail! The corporate forces against it are too strong in the US. Corporations and business lobbyists pretty much own the US Congress -- lock, stock and barrel. In fairness, there are many good Members of Congresss but, right now. they are outnumbered by "pro-business", pro-corporate forces. I guess that not enough voters in the US understand that is is just plain wrong for companies to make profits off of sick people. I better jump down from my soapbox, now! I will try to keep a positive attitude about my sleep issues and "being different" than others.

One question that I have for anyone reading this post -- have you ever heard of a person with DSPS who really "changed" and became a "Day Person"?????

Thank you very much.

Jan 06, 2012
Thank You Anonymous in the UK NEW
by: Mary Lynn in So. Calif.

I appreciate your supportive words. Today I called to cancel my appointment with the UCLA Sleep Medicine Dept. because I decided it would be unwise for me to put another $300 - $750 on my credit cards. The doctors at UCLA are in negotiations with my health insurance carrier and may come to a resolution in the coming weeks. But who knows?

When I was posting on this web-site earlier this week, I found some links to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, which in turn provided links to other accredited Sleep Medicine Centers and I saw one closer to where I live. So I will be calling them to see if they take my health insurance. I hope they are not having the same problems as the doctors at UCLA -- the problem is that the insurance companies won't reimburse the doctors enough for their services. I don't blame the doctors. because I feel that they should be paid accordingly for their expertise and experience. The insurace company -- Blue Cross/Blue Shield of California -- doesn't want to recognize the expertise and experience of highly regarded specialists -- and they refuse to pay them enough to make it worthwhile for the doctors to take patients with BC/BS insurance. I have had this problem before with this company, with other types of specialty doctors --such as my excellent orthopedic surgeon.

People in the UK and Canada and other countries which have a national health care program are very lucky. I worked very hard to support changes in our laws to switch to a single-payer national health care program. But to no avail! The corporate forces against it are too strong in the US. Corporations and business lobbyists pretty much own the US Congress -- lock, stock and barrel. In fairness, there are many good Members of Congresss but, right now. they are outnumbered by "pro-business", pro-corporate forces. I guess that not enough voters in the US understand that is is just plain wrong for companies to make profits off of sick people. I better jump down from my soapbox, now! I will try to keep a positive attitude about my sleep issues and "being different" than others.

One question that I have for anyone reading this post -- have you ever heard of a person with DSPS who really "changed" and became a "Day Person"?????

Thank you very much.

Jan 07, 2012
DSPS Out and Proud NEW
by: Anonymous

Dear Mary Lynn,

I was so sorry to hear about your problems with your health insurance. We are very lucky here in the UK to have the NHS to turn to at times of difficulty. I do hope that they soon sort it out for you.

I was very interested in your question about whether anyone has ever been "cured" and turned into a morning person. I suspect that this is not possible, but if it was, which I can't imagine, how much easier life would be.

In my work I teach learning disabled people, In my private life I campaign in a small way for gay rights. I am not learning disabled or gay myself, but, me being me, I feel the need to fight against injustice in the world.

There are lots of things that can be done to ameliorate disability, learning, training, physical aids, and software. For example there is a range of outstanding software available to assist people with Dyslexia.

As far as being gay is concerned, there is probably no change that is possible, other than respect, acceptance and the love and respect of families, partners and friends.

Perhaps we could use these examples to make people more aware of DSPS. We have a condition we were born with, which can't be changed. Can we publicise it more? Can we make people aware of how hard our lives are trying to fit in with other peoples timetables?
We can be "Out and Proud" too, as long as it isn't before 3.00 pm in the afternoon!

Feb 03, 2012
Hang In There NEW
by: Mary Lynn

Dear Anonymous,

So glad you feel supported by the life stories on this post. Everything you say is so true and familiar. It is good to have understanding and support. I'm actually tired tonight, so I will sign off. Just wanted you to know that your post is appreciated. Maybe someday, our "condition" will be understood by the general public. Until then, we muddle through.

Wish you luck in dealing with all this. If you do get a job, you should go see a sleep doctor, so that if you get in trouble at work for coming in late, you can get a letter from your doctor telling your employer that you require "reasonable accommodation" within the meaning of the Americans With Disabilaties Act. (This assumes that you are in the U.S.) Good luck.

Apr 21, 2012
Has anyone taken Trazodone for sleep disorders? NEW
by: Janie

Wow it's nice to see that I'm not alone in dealing with these problems. Like others, I often feel shame that I can't adjust to a normal 9-5 schedule like the rest of the world. I strongly believe that delayed sleep phase syndrome is genetic. I've had it all my life, and so has my mother, brother, and my two sons. ADD and depression also run in our family. It's had a terrible impact on our careers.

My doctor just prescribed Trazodone for me. I thought he was giving me a new sleeping pill to replace Ambien (which gave me migraines, daytime hangover and depression if I took it two days in a row), but now I see that this is completely different. It's not short-acting like Ambien. It takes several weeks to build up in your system. It's an antidepressant that is now being used for sleep disorders such as sleepwalking. I'm nervous about taking it because I can't afford to deal with daytime sleepiness and side effects right now. I didn't have a good experience with Prozac or Effexor. I'm taking several other pills for various issues and it just feels like too much. I'd really like to hear from others on this issue.

CAREER ISSUES
It's hard to hold down a normal job if you can't always get to work on time, or if your energy and concentration aren't consistent during the day. No matter how tired I feel during the day, I typically get a great burst of energy and concentration late in the day. If I'm working on a deadline, I might not get any real work done until after midnight, but then it's very hard to get up the next day. I'm now self-employed, so I can work an odd schedule, but it limits the types of assignments I can go after. I always felt shame that I wasn't able to adjust to a "normal" schedule for a sustained period of time, and it's had a seriously detrimental affect on my career and my income. This week I found out how much money I could make in a normal job and it makes me very sad to think about the opportunities I've missed. I want to try again (I had an interview this week), and I'm debating whether to talk to my potential boss about this issue.



Apr 23, 2012
Re: Trazedone NEW
by: Mary Lynn

Dear Janie --

I relate to everything you are saying and could go on for a long time. But I want to provide you with some info on Trazedone as a sleep aid. I have been on a low dose of this drug as a sleep aid for more than 15 years and it works very well for me. I am 60 yrs. old and have had DSPS since I was in my early 20's -- along with chronic depression (on and off), anxiety disorder, etc. -- and Adult ADD, which was not diagnosed until I was in my mid-40's.

I usually take 50 mg. of Trazedone about 30-40 minutes before I want to fall asleep, and it knocks me out and provides me a very deep and restful sleep. I often take only a half pill (approx. 25 mg.) if I already feel tired, but want to be assured of a deep sleep.

My only complaint w/Trazedone is that it is difficult to wake up in the morning (or afternoon, in my case) and it takes me a few hours before I get through the "brain fog". BUT, once my brain does become awake (with the help of Ritalin for my ADD) I generally feel well-rested and able to focus -- there is no all-day hangover feeling. I think it is essential to establish a bedtime which allows 8-9 hours of sleep, when you are taking trazedone, or else it is really, really difficult to wake up. and reach a state of alertness.

I tried Ambien twice, and had terrible results. It gave me a headache and, after 2 or 3 days on it, it made me feel extremely (and I mean extremely) depressed -- like thinking about suicide. Happily, I had the mental wherewithal to realize that it was the Ambien that was making me feel so depressed. This will not happen with trazedone, which has an anti-depressant effect. In fact, I was on a much higher dose of trazedone for 3 years in the early 1980's to treat my depression and it worked better than many previous years of talk therapy. This was a state of the art drug for depression, before Prozac came on the market. The brand name for trazedone is Desyrel. It did take me about 2 weeks to adjust to the higher dose of trazedone, b/c it is a powerful drug. I don't know if that would be the case if you took just 50 mg. as a sleep aid. If you can get through the adjustment period, you might get some really good sleep on Trazedone. It can give you vivid dreams, which I don't mind.

Good Luck. Write again if you have any other specific questions about taking trazedone. I have come to the conclusion that I just have to put up with the difficult waking up period, but getting good deep sleep, almost every night is well worth it.

Oct 10, 2012
DSPS Spouse NEW
by: Anonymous

Any words of wisdom for the spouse?

I know the person with DSPS has lots to deal with - the sleep disorder itself, the effect on career, the whole social aspect, etc. I understand that it's not something that's "curable." I have restless legs and it's one of my problems he has to accept and deal with as well.

As the spouse, I deal with the side-effects of DSPS, too. With no children, I feel alone a lot of the time because I'm awake at "normal" hours and when he is finally awake, he has work to do and I don't feel like we ever get to spend time together. I can be a people-person, but most people I meet are idiots or simply interested in a different lifestyle/perspective. That's why my husband and I love each other - we share the same perspective. BUT, I feel alone all the time. I don't know what I would do without our dog.

I suppose I can only "inform and ignore" the social stigmas and effects. Visiting my family is a real pain because they don't understand. He barely sleeps at all if he is trying to keep up with the "normal" people...and that lack of sleep never helps when dealing with in-laws.

So, any words of encouragement or help for the spouse?

Oct 10, 2012
To DSPS Spouse NEW
by: Mary Lynn in So. Cal.

My advice is to be as understanding and supportive as you can to your DSPS spouse. That should mean the world to him. He needs to understand how valuable and important it is to have an understanding and accommodating spouse. You should ask him to set aside a certain amount of time to spend with you every day, during the time when your schedules overlap. Also have "date nights", etc. b/c it is all too easy to just start living separate lives. Also, you should cultivate your own friendships and spend time with your friends and do things that YOU like to do, that your spouse may not enjoy. The person w/DSPS needs to understand the importance of sharing "together" time with their spouse and scheduling activities which they enjoy doing together. Also, you should try to educate your family about your spouse's sleep disorder. My former mother-in-law was very critical of my schedule and that contributed to the demise of my marriage. Good Luck.

Oct 11, 2012
To DSPS Spouse NEW
by: Mary Lynn in So. Cal.

My advice is to be as understanding and supportive as you can to your DSPS spouse. That should mean the world to him. He needs to understand how valuable and important it is to have an understanding and accommodating spouse. You should ask him to set aside a certain amount of time to spend with you every day, during the time when your schedules overlap. Also have "date nights", etc. b/c it is all too easy to just start living separate lives. Also, it would be helpful to you if you spend time cultivating your own friendships and spend time with your friends and do things that YOU like to do, that your spouse may not enjoy doing. The person w/DSPS -- your spouse -- needs to understand the importance of sharing "together" time with his or her spouse and scheduling activities which they enjoy doing together. Also, you should try to educate your family about your spouse's sleep disorder. My former mother-in-law was very critical of my schedule and that contributed to the demise of my marriage. Good Luck.

Aug 12, 2014
Same situation NEW
by: Olch

I have the both, ypu are not alone.
Olcumdi@yahoo.com

Nov 15, 2014
Like looking in the mirror I never had NEW
by: Raul

Reading these comments is so eerie and both hope-inducing and depressing for me. Like others on this thread, all of these experiences are my own. I'm a mid 40s academic in the U.S., eastern area.

I've struggled to wake up at a "reasonable" hour ever since I was about 15. I am always "late" for work, have been reprimanded and teased for years, never made better than a C in any class before 9am, and now, in a new city, have a debilitatingy stunted social schedule because of it. It's literally ruining my adult life and killing my chances for an academic career, for which I've sacrificed the last 12 years.

I've been to two sleep specialists and been diagnosed as DSPS, but I only recently began wondering if I also have ADD.

I lack the financial and emotional resources to tackle this with psych and doctor visits at this point and appreciate any advice on tangible, reasonable steps I might take... or even just some moral encouragement.

A lost soul

Mar 20, 2016
Attention deficit & DSPS after car accident NEW
by: Pete Croft

It's not unusual to have attention deficit due to a brain injury suffered in a car accident. But in my case, it's actually exacerbated an old problem I had as a university student, Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome. And not being able to utilize useful daylight, made worse by Daylight Saving Time, increases the stress level which of course makes things worse. B12 injections (cyanocobalamine) have helped me in the past with the sleep cycle. Also, Breathe Right snoring strips helped me get a more restful sleep which meant waking up earlier. After the car accident, methylcobalamine (through a naturopath) helped me in the past with headache but not the cyanocobalamine which is the only type available in a pharmacy. Having a good lifestyle certainly helps but that's become more difficult with overnments and the global economy being run by the oligarchy. Good luck!

Jun 07, 2016
Wow. Just wow. NEW
by: Alicia

Your description is spot on for me. I'm a 53 year old public school art teacher for the past 12 years and have always-since college years especially being in art school where EVERYONE works during the night it seems, but the teaching job - awful. I don't know how I've done it, having to be at work at 7:30 am when I go to bed anywhere between 1-4 am typically. When I say it is painful to get up, it truly is PAINFUL and I'll unknowingly hit snooze button on the alarm until 7:25 am for my 7:30 job (luckily I'm a mile from work but still always late anyway) I am very ADD although I wasn't diagnosed until a year ago. On weekends I will waste them away playing catch up. Last weekend I even slept 17 hours straight til my husband MADE ME get up to eat soe thing. I also have anxiety/depression issues but mostly the former and I suffer from chronic pain, fibromyalgia. I'm 5'2" and weigh 102# and find there are days I haven't eaten. I'm a workaholic night owl (both my parents are and were too) but I'm finding its all getting worse with time. Tiday my primary doc has ordered a sleep study and I'm so anxious to find something out for sure. I also tend to have weekly to biweekly comatose events where I'm completely paralyzed yet alert and cannot wake myself up - those scare me to death and I've had thi since I was 19. Thank you thank you all for making me not feel alone here - I have a very understanding patient and supportive husband and teenagers and I know I owe them more. Any advice you may have is greatly appreciated and again, thank you so much. Sh, it's 3:55 am and so I guess I'll be lucky to get 3.5 hours in tonight GRRRRRR.... :(

Jun 20, 2016
ADD NEW
by: Susan

Thank you for your story. I have a 23 year old son who was diagnosed as having ADD when he was 11yrs old.

He has just been diagnosed with Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome after a Neuro Psycologist stated categorically that he did not have ADD (after 6 straight hours of testing) and on the results of this testing his psychologist sent us down the path of a sleep disorder.

I just wished someone had directed us this way many years ago. Daniel from the day he was born always had trouble sleeping and even though this information was always given at different doctors consultations they were always keen to diagnose ADD and of course Ritalin which he hated taking.

He was a very gifted student on an academic scholarship at school but was unable to sit his final exams. He was offered an early entry to Engineering on an entry test but was unable to continue his studies.

I just hope we can find a solution so that he can have a 'normal' existence and function in the real world. Watching a superior mind struggle to function when they themselves get frustrated from not being to do things others of the same age can attain is devastating.



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About This Site

Welcome! This site is continuously being created by students of Dr. William C. Dement's Sleep And Dreams course at Stanford University.

We made this site as a call to action for people all over the world to live healthier, happier, safer, and more productive lives by learning about their own sleep. We have faith that reading the information provided on this site will motivate you to be smart about your sleep deprivation and strategic about your alertness in order to live life to your fullest, most energetic potential.

In fact, we challenge you to do so! What do you say, are you up for the challenge?


A Note On Visitor-Submitted Questions:

Publishing sleep stories and questions from our visitors is meant to create a forum for open and proactive dialogue about an extremely important portion of our lives (one that occupies 1/3 of it and affects the other 2/3) that isn't talked about enough. It is not meant to substitute a trip to the doctor or the advice of a specialist. It's good to talk; it is not good to avoid consulting someone who's profession it is to help you with this kind of stuff.

If you are in any way concerned about your sleep health, don't wait for an answer on here, and don't necessarily rely on them. See a sleep specialist in your area as soon as possible.

More Questions:

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The Stanford Sleep Book

Stanford Sleep Book Picture

Dr. Dement's pioneering textbook has been the core text for Sleep and Dreams since 1980, but it has just recently been made available to the wider public for the first time.

In it you'll find a more detailed account of the most important things you need to know about sleep, alertness, dreams, and sleep disorders. Studies, statistics, plus plenty of Dr. Dement's classic anecdotes painting the history of sleep medicine.

Preface | Intro | Contents | Get A Copy

More Sleep Resources

The Zeo

A revolution in personal sleep tracking, the Zeo is a wireless headband that transmits your brainwaves in realtime to a dock (pictured here) or your smartphone. The result? You can wake up and see exactly what stages of sleep you were in during the night! Unprecedented personalized sleep knowledge.

Sleep Paralysis: A Dreamer's Guide

Sleep Paralysis Treatment Book

Ever woken up paralyzed? A surprising number of us have, believe it or not. But few know the actual causes of this phenomenon, and fewer still how to exert control over it. Dream researcher and sleep paralysis expert Ryan Hurd shares breakthrough insights into how to do just that.

Important Disclaimer

Please Note:

The information found on this page and throughout this site is intended for general information purposes only. While it may prove useful and empowering, it is NOT intended as a substitute for the expertise and judgments of healthcare practitioners.

For more info, see our
Terms of Use.