My sleep schedule is completely messed up, please help?

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by ogruskie, Jan 7, 2010.

  1. ogruskie

    ogruskie Professional

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    For the past several months I've been going to bed late and waking up at irregular hours. I usually go to bed at 2am, and wake up whenever. Sometimes at 8am to go to work, sometimes 10am to go to school, or 12am if I'm doing neither. Either way I get up feeling extremely tired. I generally get 4-8 hours of sleep, but again that depends on school and work.

    My sleep schedule got messed up due to school work, job, and procrastination. I'm trying to restart my "sleep cycle". Ideally I'd like to get in bed at 11pm and get up at about 8am. However when I go to bed this early (as opposed to the usual 2am), I simply can't fall asleep. Even if I do manage to fall asleep I wake up extremely fatigued the next morning.

    The past several months I've just very fatigued ALL THE TIME, and it sucks. I'm just so sluggish, ugh. What are some ways I can get myself back on track?
     
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  2. Jonnyf

    Jonnyf Legend

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    Mate, I know exactly what you're on about, since I moved into halls for uni, My sleep pattern has become obscene! It's 2am just now, and I'm not remotely tired, but have to get up at 9. It's infuriating.
     
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  3. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

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    The most frequent clinical approach to this problem is to recommend that you pick a weekend day and, instead of going to sleep very late, don't go to sleep at all, stay up all night and the next day, then go to sleep at 11 PM or whatever time you hope to get into the habit of. "Sleep phase alteration" is what this approach is commonly called.
     
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  4. bad_call

    bad_call Legend

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    ^ good one ollinger.
     
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  5. tennis005

    tennis005 Professional

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    I would start by going to bed half an hour earlier each night for three or four nights then move back another half hour for three or four nights until you reach the time you want.
     
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  6. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    There was a good thread here in the past on sleep cycles. I believe systemicanomaly posted a graph of common sleep cycles. How you feel upon awakening can depend on what stage of a sleep cycle you were in when you awaken. You should try to determine your sleep cycle and set your alarm to awaken you when you are sleeping the lightest, not going into another deep state.

    Personally, I find reading helps me fall asleep, assuming the reading material is not too interesting. Getting the room as dark as possible also helps. I don't even like to be able to see a time on a clock because I find that just stresses me out.

    I second ollinger's advice on resetting your cycle.
     
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  7. Ken Honecker

    Ken Honecker Rookie

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    Sleep is overrated! I've worked nights for almost 30 years, switching back and forth from day sleeping to night sleeping on the weekends. Really it isn't about how much you get but doing it on the same schedule as often as possible.
     
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  8. ET Brit

    ET Brit New User

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    Hi ogruskie

    You might like to try Melatonin 3 mg [Vitamin World stock it] which many people take to avoid jetlag when changing time zones and is very helpful for sleeping without feeling dopey or drowzy when you wake up. One 3 mg tablet can enable you to go to sleep about 30 minutes later, and should you be disturbed during the night - you should be so lucky ;) - you can go straight back to sleep again.

    Word of advice - they don't work terribly well with alcohol. Incidentally, re alcohol, it's great for people who want to pass out, but tends to disrupt the sleeping pattern, giving two hours stupor followed by non sleep. :(

    http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/sleep/healthy_sleep.pdf

    I hope you get this problem solved.

    Cheers - Ann
     
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  9. mikro112

    mikro112 Semi-Pro

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    This chart might help:

    [​IMG]

    Translations:

    Schlafstadium - sleep stage
    Wach - awake
    REM - rapid eye movement (stage)
    Stunden Schlaf - hours of sleep

    The best stage to wake up is in either the REM or phase 1 stage! If you wake up in stages 2, 3, or 4 your body will be extremely fatigued because you are sleeping relatively (2) to very deeply (3, 4) in these stages and your body will need a lot of time to wake up.
     
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  10. Ken Honecker

    Ken Honecker Rookie

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    Melatonin never made a difference for either me or my daughter although I've heard people swear by it. The thing to do is try several methods because everyone is different. Many people only need 5 or 6 hours a night.
     
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  11. Messarger

    Messarger Hall of Fame

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    Thanks, that's so informative. But how do we know when we are in (when we're asleep) phase 1, REM etc?
     
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  12. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    ^^^Use the hours listed at the bottom of the graph to help you figure it out.
     
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  13. mikro112

    mikro112 Semi-Pro

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    Just follow the path on the chart. You go to bed (hour 0) that means you're in stages REM or 1. Then, for example, after 3.5 hours, you are in phase 4, but you start sleeping more lightly after that (the path is going upwards again). You understand where I'm going?
     
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  14. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    Try an intensive evening workout. Once exhausted, you'll fall asleep.
     
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  15. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

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    This thread took an odd turn on the topic of trying to wake up in a particular sleep cycle. Sleep stage durations vary considerably from individual to individual, and they vary WITHIN an individual from day to day due to things like exercise (prolongs stages three and four), mood (depressed mood shortens REM latency and prolongs REM cycles), many medications, etc. Read the sleep literature and you'll see standard deviations for various sleep cycles on the order of 15 to 30 minutes. In other words, you will not be able to set your alarm clock so that you can wake up in a particular sleep cycle. I've seen the electrophysiogy from individuals who've had two or three all-night sleep studies for possible sleep apnea, and even with no change in medications or anything else of consequence, the lengths of their various sleep cycles varied considerably from night to night.
     
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  16. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Many individuals have been able to shift their wake/sleep times with melatonin. For myself, however, I find that I feel groggy for a while in the morning after taking melatonin this night before -- even when taking small amounts of liquid melatonin. Others have had some success with tryptophan, 5-HTP, or warm milk. In my own experience, none of these produce a (melatonin) hangover in the morning.

    A bit of hot apple cider (juice) can also do the trick. A moderate amount of fast-acting carb, such as this, will produce a bit of an insulin spike which will lower your blood sugar level somewhat -- this can help to make you sleepy.
     
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  17. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, this is all very true. However, I have previously offered a solution to this dilemma -- multiple alarms. Once would set up several alarms spaced 15-20 minutes or so apart. The mildest/softest alarm would be set to go off first while the loudest/most obnoxious alarm would go off last. If the first (gentle) alarm does not wake you (because you are not in REM or close to stage 1 sleep), one of the later alarms should hopefully go off at the appropriate time.

    Sleep cycle graphics that I've previously posted:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  18. Jim A

    Jim A Professional

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    I made it through college thanks to a cell bio professor who lived off 4.5 hrs sleep/night

    his key recommendations to us were:
    1. 30min before you go to sleep, just wind down..no tv/reading/internet/etc
    2. the bed is for 2 things..sleeping & :)
    3. if you aren't going to sleep more than 7.5 hrs, try to wake up in something that fits a 90 min cycle (ie. when you are typically at the top of one) so its better for most to sleep 4.5 then 5.25..this takes some time to figure out what your cycles are if you aren't getting a lot
    4. be somewhat active in the first 30 min...don't just sit on the couch...move around..walk..shower..walk the dog etc
    5. keep a journal and note your patterns
     
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  19. mikro112

    mikro112 Semi-Pro

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    [​IMG]
     
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  20. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Last edited: Jan 9, 2010
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  21. waves2ya

    waves2ya Rookie

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    This is a good thread; a broken sleep cycle is the hallmark of a real injury/physical deficit.

    And these are good ideas/on the mark. Know what you need to repair (4 hrs or so) and what your need are (different for each) - then keep a journal.

    If its an injury that keeps you up - be honest with yourself. You can gut out pain but when it starts to rob you of your sleep...

    There's a piper to pay.
     
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