• 14 days ago

    Familial Advanced Sleep Phase Disorder?

    I can't sleep late. Really. I am physically incapable of doing so, and have been for as long as I can remember. I usually start getting sleepy around 8pm or so, force myself to stay up until 9:30-10 pm, go to sleep with no problems, but then wake up at 4-4:30 every morning - really wide awake. On a bad day I might wake up at 3:30. On a good day, if I'm very tired, I might sleep till 5:30. But I can't remember the last time I slept till 6:00. I make myself stay in bed till 5:30 regardless, but I usually spend the first 1 - 1 1/2 hours of every morning lying in bed awake.

    I usually get about 6 hours of sleep a night. Not too bad, I know. Yes, this really isn't a big deal, especially compared to some sleep problems out there. Wonderful when I need to be somewhere in the morning! And I never need an alarm clock! But a nuisance if want to do much in the evenings.

    I can force myself to stay up later, but I still wake up at pretty much the same early hour, even if I go to bed after midnight. So going to bed later just means I get less sleep. I've tried going to bed earlier too, but I just wake up earlier than ever. If I travel overseas and get jet lagged, I may sleep later for a while, but as soon as my body clock gets reset, I am back to my usual early bird schedule.

    I have had this problem as long as I can remember, even in childhood. My mother and brother have fairly similar sleep patterns. So based on a bit of online research, I suspect I may have FASPD https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_sleep_phase_disorder?wprov=sfti1 . Sure sounds like me!

    What puzzles me is that they say it is an inherited problem, but they also say it is normally a problem for older people. I will be 36 this month. If it is inherited, wouldn't most sufferers have the problem all their lives as I have had? Are there any other younger folks like me who have it? Or am I basically alone in having this problem at my age?

    If anyone else has had this problem, what has helped? Only advice I could find in online research is to turn on bright lights at night (which would only mean I get to bed later, but still wake up early, and so get less sleep - not helpful in the long run), and to use dark curtains to shut out the light in the morning (which I am doing, and it helps a little, but not much since I am awake before it starts to get light anyway).

    Medication is a possibility, some suggested Melatonin, but I don't want medication. Especially if it makes sleepy for too long in the mornings. I don't mind being an early bird- within reason! But it would be nice to get some useful tips for sleeping past 4am. I'd rather sleep till 5:30-6am, but I rarely can.

Responses

  • 13 days ago

    RE: Familial Advanced Sleep Phase Disorder?

    My first question is why is this a problem? You don't state any adverse affects on your daytime performance, and that's really the key.

    If you feel OK during the day, aren't especially irritable, mood is normal, feel like you have enough energy ... all of this suggests you in fact are getting enough sleep.

    There is nothing written in stone that says the oft-quoted 8 hours is the magic number for you or anyone else. You may just need 6 or so, and that's perfectly fine as long as you feel OK during the day.

    If that's the case, you may be well served by just letting go the worry and accept the 6+ hours you do get as all you really need.
      • 12 days ago
        Yes, not so much a problem as just really strange. I know no one else my age with this problem, except perhaps my brother but I wake earlier than he does. Except I have wondered about the 8 hour thing, as some insist it is necessary and others that 6 hours is enough. But since I can rarely manage to sleep more than 6 hours, perhaps you are right that I don't need more than that. Thank you.
      • 12 days ago
        I shouldn't call it "this problem" - even if it is labeled as a sleep disorder - maybe call it an odd quirk... or inconvenience... whatever.