Monday, December 30, 2013


Funny thing about Christmastide. It comes right at the darkest time of the year. Did you ever notice that?*

I've mentioned my struggles with waking up when it's dark out, my general non-morning-personness, and my night-owliness. It's been particularly bad for me lately. Yesterday, I was sleepy all day, even dozing at the computer, so I finally lay down in the evening to go to sleep and little by little I woke up until I was quite perky as the night wore on. So I went on an internet search engine and searched: during the day I can't stay awake and at night I can't sleep.

I followed a link to an article at Lifehack called Tired in the morning and awake at night? Here is a REAL solution. The author wrote about his own sleep pattern:

It’s truly a bizarre pattern of dead tired mornings, walking around like a jet-lagged zombie, followed by a tortuous afternoon in desperate need of a nap, and finally an evening where I start to wake up.

That sounded exactly like me, and he offered the diagnosis Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome. Sounds impressive. He even called it a sleep disorder. Everything has a diagnostic label these days. People used to be larks or night owls, but now night owls have a sleep disorder. Just like a kid used to be pesky but now he's got ADHD, and people used to be odd or eccentric but now there's a DSM-IV code for any weird way you might be. I don't know if that's good or bad, or if I really have a sleep disorder, but I do know my sleep issues make life more difficult for me.

Oh, what a beautiful morning.

The lifehack dude recommended a light therapy device. I've heard of these as treatment to help your mood if you have Seasonal Affective Disorder (yet another disorder!) but not to help regulate your sleep. Since this guy's story sounded so much like mine and he testified that the device was helpful, I ordered one from Amazon. I don't know how long ago he wrote his article but I got the impression that the specific device he mentioned was obsolete, so I ordered a later model. It should arrive in 5-8 business days, so then I'll give it a try and see if it helps. I've seen other light therapy tools that were considerably more spendy, so I'm glad this one was not astronomically expensive.

I remember once watching a Today Show segment about how to wake up more easily, and one thing they kept saying was "Look to the light" and, every time they said it, they would show a little film clip of curtains opening and sunlight streaming in. Trouble is, in the wintertime around here, if I throw open the curtains when I wake up, it's still total darkness outside.

I had a friend at my previous church who used a light therapy device. She said her young son called it her Lite-Brite.

Anyway, we'll see if it helps.


* Yes, I know that's on purpose. The date for the celebration of Christ's coming was chosen for its symbolic value. Under the calendar of the time, it was winter solstice, so that as soon as the church celebrated the incarnation, the light began to increase. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.


flask said...

this summer i had to train myself to get up at 0400 for a race.

since then i have been rising early and i never have been a morning person, but now that i get up at 0400 i am both less tired and less depressed.

and i sleep better at night.

who knew?

apparently in my world and darkness i encounter before lunch doesn't count.

Mavis Moon said...

I'm glad you're trying this, Jan. I hope it works!

Janette Kok said...

Thanks, Mavis.

Flask, I have been able to train myself to get up early in the past, but it has always been unnatural for me.

It seems like the struggle has been extra hard this year.

flask said...

for what it's worth, i've never been able to rise early until this year, but on the flip side i go to bed around seven-thirty.

i lose some things in terms of convenience, but what i have gained is that most nights i sleep well and bounce out of bed wide awake in the morning.

i have been a long time sufferer of insomnia, so it's a nice change.

i'm pretty beat by four in the afternoon, though.

i know the struggle had been harder for you this year; it shows in your posts.

i wish you luck with it.