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Help me I'm Nocturnal

TetsugenTetsugen Registered User regular
edited October 2007 in Help / Advice Forum
Pretty much as the title states. For as long as I can remember, I have been more or less a night owl. With University now, its fucking me over.

So, plain and simple how do I obliterate my sleeping patterns (or urge to sleep during the day) and become a somewhat normal functioning member of society, which follows a diurnal biorhythm. Much help is appreciated!

And to be specific:

-My diet is really shitty right now but I'm jumping on the healthy band wagon
-Work out at the gym 1-2 hours Monday-Friday
-I'm a writer, and am most creative at night so I tend to push my sleeping patterns to 5-6 AM, Nap, go to school from 9-5:30, sleep then wake and fall into this horrible cycle where I create run on sentences and can never bank at a teller.

Tetsugen on

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    aesiraesir __BANNED USERS regular
    edited October 2007
    Yea, im similar, although i go to sleep at 3:30 ish and can wake up later than you.


    I think its just a matter of gradually going to sleep 15 minutes earlier each night. And cut those night naps out of your life. Its all about will power. If you can stop napping, going to sleep earlier wont be hard.

    WILLLLPOWER MY FRIEND. WILLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLPOOOOOOOOOOWWWAH!

    aesir on
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    ChenChen Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Get a job or something to force you to sleep early. It worked for me. Then again, I fell into the same pattern when I didn't have to work anymore.

    Chen on
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    SageinaRageSageinaRage Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Tetsugen wrote: »
    -I'm a writer, and am most creative at night

    As long as you believe this, you will be nocturnal. Are you sure you actually are more creative at night, or is it that nighttime is when you're the most rested and refreshed?

    SageinaRage on
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    amateurhouramateurhour One day I'll be professionalhour The woods somewhere in TennesseeRegistered User regular
    edited October 2007
    aesir wrote: »
    Yea, im similar, although i go to sleep at 3:30 ish and can wake up later than you.


    I think its just a matter of gradually going to sleep 15 minutes earlier each night. And cut those night naps out of your life. Its all about will power. If you can stop napping, going to sleep earlier wont be hard.

    WILLLLPOWER MY FRIEND. WILLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLPOOOOOOOOOOWWWAH!

    I usally get about five to six hours a night, and eight on the weekends. One thing is to work out later in the afternoon, so you're more tired early at night, but still awake to work out instead of napping. The eating healthier should take care of the rest, and lay off caffine, sugar, and pretty much food entirely after 9 PM

    amateurhour on
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    DekuStickDekuStick Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    What I do to get myself off the vampire clock is to not sleep one day. By the next night you'll be tired enough to sleep and should wake up in the morning. With a nice new sleep schedule.

    DekuStick on
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    SevorakSevorak Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    DekuStick wrote: »
    What I do to get myself off the vampire clock is to not sleep one day. By the next night you'll be tired enough to sleep and should wake up in the morning. With a nice new sleep schedule.

    This is what I did. It takes much less willpower than slowly going to bed earlier and earlier, which didn't work for me.

    Also, getting a job or other commitment early in the morning helps immensely.

    Sevorak on
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    UndefinedMonkeyUndefinedMonkey Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Create a "downtime" period before you go to bed.
    - Starting an hour or two before you want to sleep, turn the lights way down. Use a dimmer if you have one, or use only floor-lamps. Try to eliminate all the big, bright, overhead lights.
    - Don't start up any new projects (video games, books, movies, food, whatever) right before downtime. The idea is to quiet your brain down before you go to bed.
    - On a similar note, avoid MMOs like the plague. It's easy to get guilted into doing one more run with the guild, or stay up just long enough to get that last piece of runecloth, or whatever.
    - Take a bath, get cleaned up, and go to bed immediately. Avoid reading if possible since that has the potential to wake you back up. Also, reading before bed gives me crazy dreams, which means I'm not nearly as rested when I wake up in the morning.
    - Resist the urge to get up again if you don't fall asleep immediately.
    - Get lots of exercise during the day. Walk around, work out at the gym, etc... It sounds like you've got this step covered pretty well.
    - Don't go crazy on the weekend. You can stay up a little later and sleep in a little later, but don't stay up until 6 AM or you'll negate all the progress you made during the week.

    Staying up all night has never worked for me. It just makes me useless and unproductive (and a raging asshole) for the whole day, and fucks my sleep cycle further when I crash at 6PM and wake up at 3AM.

    UndefinedMonkey on
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    RNEMESiS42RNEMESiS42 Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Tetsugen wrote: »
    -I'm a writer, and am most creative at night

    As long as you believe this, you will be nocturnal. Are you sure you actually are more creative at night, or is it that nighttime is when you're the most rested and refreshed?

    The Brain at Night

    This probably isn't the best article on the subject, but many people are their most creative or productive around midnight. I've ever read that three am is about the time people have sudden "eureka" moments. I've experienced things like this before. I'll be laying awake in bed, not able to sleep, and some great idea pops into my head that I absolutely have to get out. Then I'm up for another hour or two solving whatever problem or creative burst I have.

    RNEMESiS42 on
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    TetsugenTetsugen Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Tetsugen wrote: »
    -I'm a writer, and am most creative at night

    As long as you believe this, you will be nocturnal. Are you sure you actually are more creative at night, or is it that nighttime is when you're the most rested and refreshed?

    I've been like this since I was little, quite frankly I mull around during the day, through my classes and quite literally pull a Shaun of the dead. I sit there in class in creative groups and I try and try and nothing will come up.. But if your implying that its because of my schedule, theres more on that -
    DekuStick wrote: »
    What I do to get myself off the vampire clock is to not sleep one day. By the next night you'll be tired enough to sleep and should wake up in the morning. With a nice new sleep schedule.

    I've tried this and quite frankly it doesn't work. What happened with me was I pushed through a whole day, and when I hit my little happy time at night and I wasn't tired anymore. I didn't sleep again for a another cycle, and thus repeated this step quite literally for 5 days until I passed out with a bloody nose in front of my school. When I woke up at infirmary the lady thought I had OD'd on something and suggested that I have Insomnia (which may or may not be true, but I love my naps).

    But with that being said I'll try what UndefinedMonkey has prescribed and report back.

    To also clarify:

    -I do not drink alcohol, soda's or anything with caffeine
    -I do not smoke
    -I do not do any form of drugs other than eating Centrum, Flax seed oil, and calcium supplements, and as of today vanilla flavored protein powder shakes.
    -I would like to overcome my situation without the use of sleeping agents as I have a deep fear of getting addicted to them (Thanks Eminem & Michael Jackson!)

    Tetsugen on
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    RetoxRetox Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    I got into a pretty similar schedule my second year of college. I eventually got over it by staying up for 2 days and then going to sleep at the right time, and forcing myself to get up early. I just kept forcing myself to sleep on a normal schedule and not take naps until it became natural for me. It may not work for everybody though.

    Retox on
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    Not SarastroNot Sarastro __BANNED USERS regular
    edited October 2007
    RNEMESiS42 wrote: »
    Tetsugen wrote: »
    -I'm a writer, and am most creative at night

    As long as you believe this, you will be nocturnal. Are you sure you actually are more creative at night, or is it that nighttime is when you're the most rested and refreshed?

    The Brain at Night

    This probably isn't the best article on the subject, but many people are their most creative or productive around midnight. I've ever read that three am is about the time people have sudden "eureka" moments. I've experienced things like this before. I'll be laying awake in bed, not able to sleep, and some great idea pops into my head that I absolutely have to get out. Then I'm up for another hour or two solving whatever problem or creative burst I have.

    Yep, I'll third that. It is far from uncommon, and is not just habit. It's also fucking annoying, and used to mess with my sleeping patterns at university until I exerted some self-control.

    OP, if you are at university, it is probably entirely possible to go to sleep at 1-2AM and still wake up in time for lectures. Just minimise time it takes you to get from bed to university, and instead of mornings like most people, actually use that 10PM-1AM time for doing something constructive instead of watching TV.

    As for breaking the cycle, just go cold turkey for a day or two, then be disciplined about not letting your wake-up time slide. As long as you get up on time, you shouldn't have much problem going to sleep on time ;)

    Not Sarastro on
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    SageinaRageSageinaRage Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    I'm not necessarily saying that it's not true - just that as long as it's important to you to stay up that late to get those creative juices flowing, you aren't going to be very successful at changing your schedule. That's what I meant to say, but failed.

    SageinaRage on
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    DrFrylockDrFrylock Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    I'm not a writer, but I too get my best work done from about 9-5. The other 9-5. It's been this way forever for me, and it is a real phenomenon for me (as in, I'm pretty sure I'm not imagining it). It has a lot to do with lack of interruptions: the world isn't going, people aren't stopping into my office, people aren't calling me, I'm not making myself dinner, I'm not doing laundry, I'm just working. I've just learned to accept it and found career options (grad school, a very accepting job) where I can (to a point) set my own hours. Sure, I have to show up for the occasional 9AM meeting but that's the exception.

    When I was in school, I often had 8AM or 9AM classes, and I did have the discipline to show up for them. If you don't, that's death. If you can, set your schedule up so you start your day later. Of course, back then I used to be able to function at 100% with 3-6 hours of sleep. When I hit about 28 that ability started waning and by 30 it was gone. I can't do it anymore.

    In grad school I would go through periods where I would get more and more out of phase...plus one hour, then two, then 7. Occasionally I'd just wrap around and stay up, but if I had a chance I'd try to get back on schedule by taking a mild over the counter sedative for one night and forcing myself to go to bed early. I never did get on a normal schedule. I thought getting a job afterwards would whip me into shape and I was at work at 7AM for my whole first week, then that completely went to shit.

    I saw a link in someone's sig recently that sent me searching for this page, which indicates that there might be something wrong with me. It's an amusing "disorder" as the only symptom seems to be "operates mostly at night and sleeps late."

    My advice: do the best you can with it, and get so much (or little enough) education that you can have a job that accommodates your schedule.

    DrFrylock on
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    UltaruneUltarune Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    I had similar problems when in high school and ultimately dropped out because of them. Going to sleep at 4-5 am. when the bus picks you up at 6:30 wasn't a good combination. At university I performed better due to the evening classes better accomadating my sleep schedule.

    In fact, I feared getting a traditional day job, and ironically, became a sleep technician. http://www.xkcd.com/320/ pretty much wraps up my sleep condition when I have no commitments, ie. summer break and vacation. I still struggle with the delayed sleep phase syndrome during weekends, I have to force myself to go to sleep after being awake 16 hours, as opposed to by bodies natural 20/10 cycle.

    I feel you on the bank issue as well, I just cashed a check yesterday I received in july because I can't bloody catch those bankers open. On monday they were closed and they didn't even open until 9 a.m. yesterday, so I had to wander around for half an hour.

    As far as treatment goes, there isn't really a lot. The commitments idea, and pure force of will can work for a while, but as the wikipedia article stated, forcing a nocturnal person into daytime hours is like living with permanent 6 hour jet lag, and frankly sucks. Of course, in order to advance in my field, the positions switch to day-time, so while I have found a momentary respite in my job, I will have to deal with these issues eventually, as you are now. The best of luck to you, and pass on anything you learn of value.

    Ultarune on
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    The Black HunterThe Black Hunter The key is a minimum of compromise, and a simple, unimpeachable reason to existRegistered User regular
    edited October 2007
    DekuStick wrote: »
    What I do to get myself off the vampire clock is to not sleep one day. By the next night you'll be tired enough to sleep and should wake up in the morning. With a nice new sleep schedule.

    I do this.

    Once it goes past about 4am I just stay up for a day.

    The Black Hunter on
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    TetsugenTetsugen Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    The Penny Arcade Experiment

    Day 1

    Current Time is 1:30, will jump into bed by 2 and stay there until sunrise. Class starts at 9:30.

    Wish me luck vampires and gentlmen.

    Tetsugen on
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    28682868 Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Did anyone mention narcolepsy?

    you sound narcoleptic, which isn't always like it is in the movies. i am a narcoleptic and what most people do not realize is that a very common symptom is insomnia. i know, thanks to pop culture this seems paradoxical. many narcoleptics cannot sleep at night, so they are tired during the day, some may not fall asleep until early in the a.m. which can disrupt the day. so they often nap, some involuntarily. when they do sleep they spend fewer hours in a regenerative cycle. narcoleptics also enter and leave rem sleep very quickly, which basically means they are waking up in the night, interrupting rest, without really realizing they're waking up. a lot of narcoleptics suffer from sleep paralysis as well.

    ultimately see a doctor, or sleep specialist if you are concerned.

    2868 on
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    Rogoshen1Rogoshen1 Registered User new member
    edited October 2007
    Hi, the symptoms you described are identical to the situation i've been in my entire life :)

    Basically, left to my own devices I'll revert to a nocturnal sleep cycle. And like you, I've always felt most creative/alert in the very early morning (I used to do my calculus homework in college at 3am because of this.)

    I've bounced around to different doctors who seem to follow one of two schools of thoughts: 1. throw pills (such as ambien/lunesta) at me 2. chronotherapy, or adjusting my sleep cycle gradually.
    Both of these fail horribly, the sleep aids spectacularly so - as they tend to cause some nasty bouts of depression, as well as dependence.

    EDIT: hehe, i should read the whole thread before posting links.. Basically i'm in the same situation you are in - and that DSPS explains almost exactly the symptoms i've had.

    Rogoshen1 on
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    ZeonZeon Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Create a "downtime" period before you go to bed.
    - Starting an hour or two before you want to sleep, turn the lights way down. Use a dimmer if you have one, or use only floor-lamps. Try to eliminate all the big, bright, overhead lights.
    - Don't start up any new projects (video games, books, movies, food, whatever) right before downtime. The idea is to quiet your brain down before you go to bed.
    - On a similar note, avoid MMOs like the plague. It's easy to get guilted into doing one more run with the guild, or stay up just long enough to get that last piece of runecloth, or whatever.
    - Take a bath, get cleaned up, and go to bed immediately. Avoid reading if possible since that has the potential to wake you back up. Also, reading before bed gives me crazy dreams, which means I'm not nearly as rested when I wake up in the morning.
    - Resist the urge to get up again if you don't fall asleep immediately.

    This is what you need to do. I had the same problem, and the "downtime" schedule worked for me.

    Also dont take naps in the middle of the day. If i take a nap at any point, im basically garaunteeing that ill be up for another 9 hours, minimum.

    Alternatively, get a job at night. After about 6 months youll fucking loath the fact that youre unable to ever be productive in the daytime and that you never get to see the sun. Its a lot less fun to stay up all night when youre forced to.

    Zeon on
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    TetsugenTetsugen Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Report of last night:

    Failed

    I sat in bed for 3 hours without being able to sleep, and had a brief moment of drifting off only to be woken up by someone getting shot down the street. After that bit, I ended up playing pokemon until 6:30 and resumed my day.

    Day 2

    Gonna try aiming to head to bed at 1, curling up with my pokemons for the downtime, hopefully i'll be snoozing by 2 AM
    This is what you need to do. I had the same problem, and the "downtime" schedule worked for me.

    Also dont take naps in the middle of the day. If i take a nap at any point, im basically garaunteeing that ill be up for another 9 hours, minimum.

    Alternatively, get a job at night. After about 6 months youll fucking loath the fact that youre unable to ever be productive in the daytime and that you never get to see the sun. Its a lot less fun to stay up all night when youre forced to.

    Pointless for my situation. I've never had problems with working hard or being productive because I wake up and do my absolute best. While I was saving for school I held 4 jobs doing essentially the Fight Club scenario. From 6:30 Am - 5 I was in the back of a Montana's microwaving your 'BBQ Seared steaks", Then from 5-11 I would be working at high class restaurant washing dishes and making salads. I'd eventually head home to shower, then head to my job from 1-5 at a 24 hour video store where I slept until someone wanted to rent out a movie. On weekends I'd help deliver news papers with my friend's van. Always napped or had downtime during normal work (as per union rules) and I'd usually crash on a bag of potatoes. During this period I also completed a portfolio that allowed me to get into University without a High School Diploma. So, I'm not sure how making money will make me switch sleeping patterns =p

    While working at the restaurant I'd have interesting obscure conversations with the head chef, and one night we eventually talked to this sleeping pattern I have. He mentioned a documentary about a soldier from WW2 that had sleep deprivation because of the shells exploding so close to the trenches. Eventually when he returned home, he was set on a schedule of 2-3 hours of sleep a day but was able to function as a normal person - taking real estate courses at night, taking care of his children during the day, working a night shift as a security guard. Needless to say this man died younger than most men (around 50).

    Is there any associated dangers with my nocturnal sleeping patterns?

    Tetsugen on
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    UndefinedMonkeyUndefinedMonkey Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Speaking from personal experience, Pokemon is a very bad downtime activity. The absolute best thing you can do is dim the lights -> get cleaned up for bed -> go to bed immediately. It's sucky and boring, sure, but the idea is that you've gotten all (or the majority of) the fun stuff before you start downtime. If you absolutely must read, pick something light and funny without a lot of conflict. Short stories by P.G. Wodehouse work best for me, but your mileage may vary.

    As far as outside noise, a set of earplugs might work. I use one of those foam ones that scrunch down and expand inside your ear canal in the ear not facing into the pillow. That way I don't hear the drunk assholes outside, but can still hear my alarm / smoke detector / ninjas in the apartment / etc...

    UndefinedMonkey on
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    IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited October 2007
    As far as outside noise, a set of earplugs might work. I use one of those foam ones that scrunch down and expand inside your ear canal in the ear not facing into the pillow. That way I don't hear the drunk assholes outside, but can still hear my alarm / smoke detector / ninjas in the apartment / etc...

    This. White noise makes it so much easier to sleep for me. It was along time before I realized that much of my restless sleep was do to the sound of my own shifting and any little noise. Go to the hardware store and buy a big ass industrial fan (the kinds you can put in windows that make a continuous roaring kind of fan sound) Put that in your room, facing outwards when you want fan benefits, facing a wall when you don't.

    I'm at the point now that me +room with fan sound= almost unconditionally being lulled to sleep If I want. Its nice if you cant stand that "my ears are plugged sound" I hate that, it amplifies shifting for me. I also have a 20minute Mp3 of a fan I loop on my ipod when I'm in hotels. Other benefit of the fan is you can turn it up to a crazy noise, and stop hearing it after about a minute. I live in baltimore in a dorm, so theres plenty of ruckus to be drowned out. With the fan I can minimize everything but the loudest fire trucks, and the stupid fucker that run-stomps down the hall but even those don't wake me up with the fan on.

    All that being said, I'm completely nocturnal. I can force myself into a sleep with a fan, but naturally (in the summer, when I don't work, on breaks) I go back to being a night dweller. I've never been successful at changing that, but with the fan I still get solid 8 hour sessions of sleep. (And I do computer to bed or DS to bed with no problems at all, so long as I have the fan)

    Iruka on
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    brandotheninjamasterbrandotheninjamaster Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    A while ago I suggested to someone here an herbal supplement they sell at Wal-Mart called melatonin. Stuff worked wonders for me. I didn't wake up groggy and I took it for a while and never developed a habit when I stopped. Might be something worth looking into. Plus its pretty cheap too (like 3 or 4 bucks in the US).

    One side effect though. Really vivid dreams. I'm talkin crazy whatnots you had no idea was in your subconscious. Good dreams are really good but bad dreams are really shitty. Since your a writer this may work to your benefit.

    brandotheninjamaster on
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