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Delayed Sleep Phase? Tired In The Morning

by Craig Baker
(Deer Park, WA)

This sounds a lot like myself. I have to drag myself out of bed and am a zombie until about 1-2pm where I happen to notice I am now fully awake, alert, and have more energy. I get home and its 11pm and I'm still going strong but society and my wife tells me I have to go to bed now to get up at 7am. Ive tried sleep hygiene, sleeping pills, stimulants, etc. Haven't tried light therapy or melatonin yet though. I actually don't have much trouble falling asleep at 10-11pm but maybe that is just because of the sleep debt? Who knows.

Kevin: Hey Craig, I think what you describe is common for many people--waking up with a real lull in alertness and not getting the energy that makes you feel actually alive until later in the morning or early afternoon.

If you're not having trouble going to sleep early in the night (10-11, like you say), maybe it's time to get a little strategic to get that energy back in the morning. Caffeine is one option, but not everyone's a coffee drinker. I like coffee occasionally but personally am not 100% keen on spending money on a coffee every day, so I opt for taking a pure caffeine pill (like these) in anticipation of dips in my clock-dependent alerting (e.g. around 1:30 PM in anticipation for a dip around 2 PM). One pill is a similar dosage of caffeine as in an average sized coffee, and I'll feel the performance boost within about a half hour.

Even better though, you may opt for some good strong light exposure in the morning. Do this consistently for a handful of days and you'll have communicated to your body that this is the time when your day starts, and thus the time it needs to kick into gear the hormones that make you feel alert. The Philips goLITE BLU is a great light therapy device designed specifically for this.

Let me know how it goes,

(Please keep in mind that I am a student of sleep science and not a medical doctor. Please take any thoughts I give with my background in mind.)

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