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This has affected my life for as long as I can remember. I'm 34

by Nell

It affected my education, my working life... everything.

From infanthood (parents driving me around for ages to get me to sleep) to childhood (parents actually *moved across the street from my school* because I couldn't get up in the mornings) to adolescence/early adulthood to now. I've deliberately taken non-morning jobs to cope, and cut myself off from many opportunities. It impacted my last relationship hugely - my ex took my wanting to sleep on the couch personally!

I have ideas about what's happened in my case.

1) My mom was stressed throughout her pregnancy. I'm sure there must have been some kind of hormonal consequence.

2) Had nightmares when I was little, and actually feared sleep.

3) Experienced a loving, but what you'd call 'chaotic', family environment.

4) I was and to a fair extent remain very sensitive. I'm not autistic or anything, but am very responsive to internal and external stimuli. E.g., as a child, I'd get excitable over minor changes in my environment or structure. Or get worked up thinking about something and not be able to move away from that emotive line of thinking, or calm myself down. I think this is a big one for me.

As an adult I have some coping strategies - writing down anxieties *really* helps, especially in the night hours. So does changing rooms or positions or activities when I'm upset/distressed (whether at night or not). Exercising (at around 7.30pm) - gets me generally relaxed. All this is recommended as good sleep hygiene.

I try to keep my environment calming/quieting at night, too - darken it at about 9.30, keep everything neat and tidy, and the temperature at around 22 degrees celsius. I don't go to bed until I'm tired, and am trying to wake up at the same time every day, using a dawn simulating alarm clock.


All that said, there's something lovely about the late night/early morning. As a songwriter and musician, I got most of my creative work done then. There's something escapist about all this - at that time of night, you're in total control of your space. No one demands anything of you. Another certainty: I'm sure control - even at a sensory level - is important in all this.

However, since I've been unable so far to make a living wage off my music, the cost/benefit analysis doesn't add up. It's really past the point where this 'lifestyle' is any real kind of choice.

Off to my lavendar pillow I go!

Kevin: Thanks a lot for sharing your story Neil. It always amazes me to hear how much delayed phases impact individual lives. Thanks for providing that insight. I wish you continued learning into the factors that have and still are influencing your sleep schedule.

Your comment about there being something lovely, something escapist about the late part of the night really resonates with me. And I think you're right on the money that one of the keys to enjoying this is having the freedom not to have to wake up early in the morning. In other words, a delayed phase without sleep deprivation. This usually means having the financial freedom to not have an early morning occupation. I've found some success in this realm (the financial freedom one) the last few years building websites (this one included) under the guidance of a suite of tools called SBI. They're truly an incredible resource, where no technical background is assumed or needed, and you can find out more about SBI here if you'd like.

All the best Neil,

Comments for This has affected my life for as long as I can remember. I'm 34

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Jan 05, 2013
i can relate NEW
by: Mel

Hi there! I'm 15, and for as long as I can remember i've had troubles falling asleep. I get an average of 5 hours of sleep on school days, but i can function quite well. I want to be a writer and i'm learning how to play guitar! My muse definetely comes at night too, but by the time i know what i want to write, i usually get tired :P also, i don't think my family would like it if i played guitar at night!
have you tried melatonin? My regular doctor recommended it as it is non addictive & you can get it at a drug store. i take it sometimes, but it makes me drowsy if i have to wake up pretty early (6am or earlier) ._. I think it has to do with my REM (Rapid Eye Movemement) because it controls your dreaming and whether you sleep heavier early in sleep or later in sleep. I must sleep heavier later because when its time to wake up early, i feel like i have a lead blanket. REM is definetely worth researching more, hope this helps :)

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