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Wanted: people with a functioning body clock - helen-louise
Wanted: people with a functioning body clock
Okay, I have a question. How do you know it's time to get up?

Don't say "because my alarm goes off". Let's assume it isn't a work day, and you can get up at whatever time you like. How do you know when that is?

Also, if you have morning meds to take before food, how do you make sure they get taken at the same time each day?

I actually have no idea. Between the chronic fatigue and the delayed sleep phase syndrome, I usually get up either because I have to be somewhere, or because I'm hungry.

I could have got up today at 11, but I was still tired. I fell back to sleep and slept until 2, and was still tired then, but thought it might be because of low blood sugar. So I ate half a protein bar, and then thought "shit, I should have taken my thyroxine first". Now I'm sitting around exhausted and brain-dead, waiting until it's been long enough after eating that I can take the thyroxine, and then until it's long enough after taking the thyroxine that I can have my hot chocolate and vitamin pills and something decidedly more meal-like than the protein bar.

I have an alarm that goes off at 4pm for one med, but lately that hasn't been much use as it's a "take with food" med and I haven't been awake.

Apparently, based on brain biopsies, people with "severe depression" are not synchronised to the usual solar day in terms of gene activity. NEWSFLASH! I wonder if there are any studies that I can enrol in before I'm dead?

Current Mood: thoughtful thoughtful

21 comments or Leave a comment
xiphias From: xiphias Date: 23rd May 2013 15:25 (UTC) (Link)
There comes a point where I feel guilty about being in bed. Even though I don't want to get up.

That point varies. And I may go back to sleep afterward.

I'm SUPPOSED to get up at 6:30 or 7 even if I don't have to, because my shrink says I should. However, on my own, I'd get out of bed when 1. my bladder said so, 2. my hunger said so (but that doesn't happen, because I don't feel hungry, even though I eat a lot), 3. I am so uncomfortable from not showering that I have to shower, 4. the cats insist on it, 5. I'm so bored with sleeping that I feel like I have to check email or some such.
baratron From: baratron Date: 23rd May 2013 18:24 (UTC) (Link)
Your shrink terrifies me. I can understand the idea of being in a regular routine, and I can even understand the idea that if you can stick to hours that are normal for people at work, it will be easier when you're well enough to get a job again. But 6.30 am?! There are only about 3 months of the year when it's light then!
xiphias From: xiphias Date: 23rd May 2013 18:40 (UTC) (Link)
Boston is quite a bit farther south than London. Although our climate is somewhat similar to yours, with perhaps a few more temperature extremes around the edges, we're just a little further south than Lyon, France, just a little further north than Rome. The absolute latest the sun rises is about 7:20 at the end of October, at which point Daylight Saving Time ends, so it then rises at 6:20, and goes later until the Solstice, when it rises at around 7:15. So, at the end of October, the sun SHOULD be rising at 6:20 or so, but DST pushes it later. In reality, sunrise should be before seven AM, except for a couple weeks around the Solstice.

And it actually gets light a little before that, though.

So that's not as terrifying a time for a Bostonian as for a Londoner.
the_siobhan From: the_siobhan Date: 23rd May 2013 15:49 (UTC) (Link)
I have to pee.

Then once I'm up and moving around, I just stay up.
emperor From: emperor Date: 23rd May 2013 16:22 (UTC) (Link)
When I wake up, I look at the bedside clock, and sanity-check the time. If it's too early, I try and go back to sleep. Otherwise, unless I feel tired, I'll make moves towards getting up.

Alternatively, atreic has brought me some tea, at which point I try and wake up enough to drink it ;-)
jenett From: jenett Date: 23rd May 2013 16:24 (UTC) (Link)
My bedroom window faces east, and I have not gotten around to putting up light blocking shades, so sometimes the light wakes me up.

In general, sans alarm, I sleep 7-8 hours after I go to sleep, whether that's going to bed at midnight and waking up at 7, or going to bed at 3 and waking up at 11. If it's very very sunny, the light will wake me up earlier.

The only morning med I take is levothyroxine, which is not absurdly time sensitive, except for the part where I can't eat for 30-45 minutes after taking it.

(I used to solve this by not eating breakfast: my nutritionist has pushed me to fix that, so I now bring yogurt to work, because I am not usually sufficiently interested in food until I've been up for 90 minutes or so. For times when breakfast is an actual event involving other people, I wake up early enough to take my pill.)
baratron From: baratron Date: 23rd May 2013 18:21 (UTC) (Link)
What was it like when you were ill? I'm currently unable to process the idea of waking up because you're not tired any more. I can't actually remember the last time I wasn't tired.
xiphias From: xiphias Date: 23rd May 2013 18:41 (UTC) (Link)
Do you ever wake up because you just can't SLEEP any more, even if you're exhausted? That happens to me sometimes when I'm depressed. THAT sucks.
baratron From: baratron Date: 23rd May 2013 20:48 (UTC) (Link)
Oh yes. But that's not a positive thing at all for me.

To expand: I usually have initial insomnia (i.e. trouble getting to sleep). Well, I say "usually", but this is a permanent thing for me. It's how my bedtimes get so ridiculously late. It's also why naps do not happen unless I am EXTREMELY ill, since it takes me a minimum of an hour to fall asleep after I get into bed. However, once I've been asleep, I can wake up and go to the loo or take pills, and fall back to sleep relatively easily.

Sometimes I also have middle-of-the-night insomnia (i.e. waking up and being unable to get back to sleep), and that's rare, very strange, and quite frightening. That's what I associate with waking up because I can't sleep any longer.

I don't know what it's like to wake up because I don't NEED to sleep any longer. I wake up feeling refreshed maybe once a month? And sometimes I wake up feeling good, thinking that I'm awake for the day and don't need to sleep any longer, and 20 minutes later I'm so tired and dizzy that I can't walk and have to go back to bed for my own safety.

I think these experiences of mine are why it's so hard for "normal" people (i.e. people without sleep pattern disturbance, depression, and chronic fatigue) to empathise with me.
xiphias From: xiphias Date: 23rd May 2013 22:00 (UTC) (Link)
And sometimes I wake up feeling good, thinking that I'm awake for the day and don't need to sleep any longer, and 20 minutes later I'm so tired and dizzy that I can't walk and have to go back to bed for my own safety.

Oh, I HATE that one. For me, though, I was lucky in that it was a medication side effect, so I was able to reduce the dose and it went away. But I can definitely empathize with how much that one sucks.

I've also had a much milder version of it, where I CAN actually go out and do things, but I have to pull over to the side of the road while driving and take a fifteen minute nap every couple hours. That's nowhere near as bad as your thing, though.
jenett From: jenett Date: 23rd May 2013 19:05 (UTC) (Link)
I was going to sleep around 1-2am and waking up around 9-10, generally, unless I had to be somewhere. (Which is pretty close to my natural default sleep cycle, whenever I've not had to be up at a particular time, and has been since college)

I was still waking up *tired*, mind you, but I was done sleeping for a bit.

(For a lot of that year, I was waking up at 9 or 10, up for a couple of hours, then having a 1-5 hour nap in the afternoon, then up again until I went back to bed.)
jenett From: jenett Date: 23rd May 2013 19:06 (UTC) (Link)
Oh, worth noting: I'm pretty sure some of the Ill was adrenal exhaustion, and there's actually a very specific cycle of sleep pattern for adrenal exhaustion that looks remarkably like 'fall asleep around 2am, wake up around 10' - it has to do with the ebb and flow of the adrenal hormones in your body and when your body starts revving up production for the next day.
brooksmoses From: brooksmoses Date: 24th May 2013 04:06 (UTC) (Link)
Your mention of shades reminds me of the fact that my sleeping habits changed notably when I started leaving the bedroom shades open -- I found myself getting up notably earlier, and feeling rather more awake when I did.

Also recently, the new job means that I'm habitually eating a sizable breakfast at about 9:30, with a 20-minute bike ride preceding it half the time; that also shifted things a lot.

The result is that, for the last few weekends when I haven't had a reason to set the alarm, I've been getting up when I can't go back to sleep easily -- and feel rested when I do, and it's about 8:30 or so.

(This is early for me; previously when working at home I would set my alarm to get up at 8:50 to be ready for a 9:00 phone meeting, and then have some approximation of breakfast after the meeting most days. Before I started leaving the blinds open, I'd tend to have trouble waking up then, and would tend to sleep until 10:00 on weekends.)

I generally find that if I get to bed by not too much after 11:30, so I have eight and a half hours of solid sleep, I feel rested and not-sleepy when I wake up. Eight hours leaves me a bit sleepy and tired -- though mostly notable in mid-afternoon and the evening. Less than that and I start getting cranky and feeling all-day tired.
tiger_spot From: tiger_spot Date: 23rd May 2013 18:48 (UTC) (Link)
These days usually the baby wakes me up, but that's like an alarm so it doesn't count. If someone else gets up with the baby, or if she goes back to sleep after the morning nursing session and I don't, usually it is the quality of the light, combined with the sounds of day filtering in (birds, the chickens, other people banging around making breakfast, neighbors with lawn equipment, etc.), that convinces me to get up. In hotels with blackout curtains, I get very disoriented waking up to complete darkness when the clock says it's supposed to be morning.

At times in my life when I have routinely been getting up closer to noon than to sunrise, I lose the response to light. But if I get up to an alarm that is at or before sunrise for, I dunno, about a month, maybe two, I get entrained to dawn and it becomes much harder to sleep through it even without the alarm.

One thing that is key to actually getting me out of bed rather than repeatedly waking up and going back to sleep is having something I'm looking forward to. Something I want to do (e.g. cleaning something, writing an important email, going to the beach) doesn't seem to cut it, but something I want to experience (Andres made French toast, the baby will smile at me, it's supposed to be a lovely day outside today) does. That seems weird and backward to me, but there you are.

I take my vitamins first thing in the morning, when I brush my teeth. This is easy to remember because my teeth taste nasty in the morning, so I want to brush them and therefore can easily hang another habit on that. In general, I find that adding habits is easiest if I do them right before or right after something that's already part of my daily schedule. Adding something to the getting up or going to bed or after dinner routines is much easier than adding something at random 2:00 in the afternoon.
karen2205 From: karen2205 Date: 23rd May 2013 20:20 (UTC) (Link)
I tend to wake at 8am ish, as that's waking up time and my body will follow this on non-work days (or if, for some reason I've gone to bed very late, but have been used to x hours sleep, I will wake after that number of hours sleep). Usually there's a point for me where I know I'm awake for the day, even if I feel sleepy. If I'm very tired, I might go back to sleep, but I'm more likely to get up, go to the loo and then come back to bed to read/listen to the radio than get up and dressed immediately. I won't necessarily get up in the sense of getting dressed and going downstairs until I'm hungry/uncomfortable lying/sitting in bed/want my laptop.
aphroditemf From: aphroditemf Date: 24th May 2013 07:03 (UTC) (Link)
I know what time to get up because my daughter comes in 6am and shouts in my face "GET UP MUM I WANT WEETOS!!!"

If she's at a sleepover, I still naturally wake up around this time, because I am so tired by 10pm that I find it difficult to stay up any later.

I take a pregnancy multivitamin with my breakfast, which is always at around 7am. Oddly, the baby seems to think that 6am is the appropriate time to get up too, because he starts kicking around this time.
maniackatie From: maniackatie Date: 24th May 2013 10:18 (UTC) (Link)
That's a good question. My body's internal clock seems to work about 70% of the time and will wake me up at the same time every morning (between roughly 6:30 AM to 7:15 AM) regardless of how long I've been sleeping. Even though I set an alarm clock for work everyday I'll often wake up before it goes off, as if I'm somehow anticipating the alarm and waking up first due to hating the thing so damn much. (Can't stand the sound :P)

Things tend to change a bit during the summer holidays because I'm, on average, going to bed 2-3 hours later than usual. It's a gradual change however. Closer to the beginning of the summer I'll still be waking up around 7 AM but will go back to sleep if I've been sleeping for less than 6 hours (assuming I actually can sleep again). As summer rolls on my body seems to adjust itself to my new sleeping patterns and I'll begin waking up anywhere between 8 AM and 10 AM. Anything beyond 10 AM is usually me just not wanting to get up and going back to sleep over and over.

That all being said, I wake up during the night on an average of 4-6 times per night so it's not uncommon for me to judge my own sleeping hours based on the time that I went to bed and whatever time it is when I've woken. I like to, and strive to, hit at least 7 and a half to 8 hours of "sleep" everyday (aka. being in bed for that many hours regardless of whether I actually slept) unless I'm restricted from doing so due to life commitments, so once I've obtained that many hours I'll usually get up regardless of how tired I'm still feeling. My drive to spend my day productively tends to take precedence over my desire to sleep; that and it gets very difficult for me to keep going back to sleep over and over once the sun is up/people in my home are awake. Once I'm noticing that I'm only sleeping for 20-25 minutes intervals I'll call it quits and drag myself out of bed.

Edited at 2013-05-24 10:18 (UTC)
otterylexa From: otterylexa Date: 24th May 2013 10:39 (UTC) (Link)
When I'm depressed: the pain from my bladder and/or stomach has reached a critical level exceeding my lack of tuits.

Otherwise: I've been awake long enough to accumulate the tuits to move.
treacle_well From: treacle_well Date: 24th May 2013 12:48 (UTC) (Link)
I know it's time to get up because I wake up, and usually even if I keep dozing off for bits, I will eventually really wake up and realize I'm awake and get bored just laying in bed. That process happens faster if I start thinking about things I want to do/feel I need to do. Then I get up.

If it takes too long to reach that stage, then generally (as others have said) needing to pee or being hungry will prompt me.

Also, I never leave the blinds closed, and so as it gets more light I get more awake (unless I've gone to bed really, really late--then the light doesn't seem to matter much). Even if it's dark I will eventually wake up and feel like getting up, but it takes longer, and I don't so easily recognize "hey, it's morning, probably time to get up."

Edited at 2013-05-24 12:55 (UTC)
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