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Old 07-08-2012, 01:24 AM
 
Location: Southern New Hampshire
8,883 posts, read 15,317,728 times
Reputation: 29410

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I made a similar post in the psychology forum to a thread about the OP being a night owl, but my sleep pattern is different so I figured I would post here. I'm posting more out of curiosity than anything else, as this "disorder" doesn't really negatively affect my life 99% of the time.

I used to think of myself as a night owl, but I realized that I'm not really -- rather, my internal clock is set for about 26 hours, which means that when I have unstructured time, if I just let my body do its own wake/sleep cycle, I get out of sync with the world pretty quickly, but then I get back "in sync" too as my schedule "turns over," and the cycle continues. Day 1, I might wake up at 10 a.m. Day 2, it's noon (26 hours later instead of 24). Day 3, it's 2 p.m. This goes on throughout the periods of unstructured time. (This is actually a recognized sleep disorder -- non-24-hour sleep-wake syndrome is one term for it -- and apparently about half of blind people have it, presumably because they don't have light "cues." It's apparently extremely rare in sighted people, which I am, although I suspect that it's more common that we think -- most people CAN'T constantly get in and out of sync with the rest of the world because of their jobs, families, etc. I live by myself so I can manage just fine with an odd schedule.)

I teach at a college, which means I work very long hours during our semesters (and our 6-week summer term), but I also have long periods during which I can work completely at home (or can take a break!), e.g. a month during our winter break, about 2 months in the summer after our summer term, a 7-month sabbatical every 7 years, etc. EVERY TIME I am on break, my body clock reverts to its "normal" 26-hour schedule. It even begins to happen during our 1-week spring break, which is hard, because that's not quite enough time to get completely back to "normal" before we go back.

I have had this since I was in my late teens at least -- I remember my schedule regularly getting messed up during summer breaks, although it couldn't stay that way long as my mom would make me get up at normal times. (I don't blame her, really!) So I've had this for literally decades.

Anyone else have this or know anyone who does?
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Old 07-08-2012, 11:53 AM
 
Location: Southern New Hampshire
8,883 posts, read 15,317,728 times
Reputation: 29410
Hmmm, maybe it IS as rare as they say ...
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Old 07-10-2012, 01:00 AM
 
Location: Greenville, SC
910 posts, read 2,094,889 times
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I have been like this for over 10 years now. In my youth I was just a "night owl", the one in my family who rarely took midday naps (grew up in the Tropics...), and the last one to go to bed. Then years later when I had children and became a single Mom of necessity I had to stay up late doing chores, then I had to work over time which added more stress. A few years later, still ignorant of the whole consequences stress could have on someone like me, I drove myself even harder going to school and having a p/t job at least 5 days/wk. on top of all my other obligations as a single Mom, so I burned myself out and since my female hormones were already changing that certainly didn't help. On top, I reacted to exposure to mold and for about 12 years have had chronic nasal congestion (which can get worse if I eat wheat, dairy or foods like peanut butter which very often carry some mold or their mycotoxinx).

I am currently once again sleeping completely during the daytime and, just as you said, if left to my own devices, each day I'd go to bed a little later than the day before (yesterday went to sleep after 10:30am...). In the course of all those years I've attempted to go back to nightime sleeping with obviously little success, my body just doesn't know how to get into the habit even when I've exposed myself to the morning sun (not always possible). In part it's the habit itself, I can get carried away when I'm doing something at night, which incidentally, I love because it's more quiet and peaceful.

I will not deny that I wish all the time that I could sleep at night again because it's just not good for my health, besides, last time that I was sleeping at least several hours at night I was feeling emotionally better too and less fatigued than I do now. But I simply don't know what to do, the last time I got myself "straight" it was at a great cost. I stayed up later and later each day for about 2 weeks until I got to go to bed at night, then started going outside in the sun but I can't say that I was ever able to go to bed at a consistent time, and as soon as my work hours diminished all it took was one bad night and I started going to sleep at 5 am and now I wish I could even do that. For me it definitely interferes with life, I've missed out on a lot of things because of that, and I feel tremendous pressure whenever I need to run an errand before 5 or even 6pm since I've been getting up late enough that by the time I clear my head, take a shower and get dressed most times than not I already have no time left. And needless to say, people like us are indeed rare, the people who know me cannot really understand what it's like.

Several months ago I did a search for a forum for night owls but the few I found were practically inactive and I failed to bookmark the one sight I joined and have forgotten the name, it was a time when I was feeling very alone being like this and it felt great to read about others that knew what it was like. So feel free to DM if you like.
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