Circadian Rhythm Disorders

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What is Circadian Rhythm?

Simply put Circadian Rhythm is the body's internal clock that rules the sleep/wake cycle in humans and animals. It is our natural inclination to sleep and wake. Many people believe they suffer from insomnia and other sleep/wake related disorders but according to research it could be that those people are the normal sleepers who have bodies that resist adjusting to a man made calendar and time clock.

The body has a calendar of it's own and our efforts to entrain it to the convenient and tidy 24 hour per day, 40 hour work week doesn't always work. The more research that is done, the more we understand that you can take the animal out of the wild but you can't take the wild out of the animal. Some things can't be bent to accommodate the timing of the New York Stock Exchange.

Humans and animals operate on the pure and natural events that have been happening for thousands of years. The sun and moon rise and fall when they need to and our bodies are synchronized with those phases in reality. No matter how hard we try to civilize and plan perfectly packaged routines it might not happen because at the end of the day - we are all creatures with innate needs and desires that change with the tides and other natural things.

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How It Works....

There is a little mechanism buried deep in the brain named the hypothalamus. A group of cells lies there that we refer to as the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus (SCN). This center is responsible for the secretion of hormones, chemicals and subsequent causes and effects of metabolic and physical changes in the body.

Sunlight is absorbed by the retina which travels down the optic nerve and reaches the hypothalamus and it is natural processes such as this that cause our needs to sleep or wake. Phases of the moon also affect body chemistry. A study was done on African Lions to see if their activity was affected by phases of the moon. The study (abstract linked below) found that the Lions attacked and killed the most during the darkest hour on the darkest nights.

A markerMidnight Cave, Del Rio, TX -
Del Rio, TX 78840, USA
[get directions]

Michel Siffre, French Geologist spent in excess of six months in isolation to test natural body rhythms.

The Night Moves When It Wants....

On February 13, 1972, French Geologist, Michel Siffre disappeared into Midnight Cave and did not re-emerge until September 5, 1972. He did not have time clues such as clocks, sunlight, traffic, birds chirping, the neighborhood store's Grand Opening or fireworks on the Fourth of July. Siffre had resources such as a telephone, writing utensils, journals, medical equipment, exercise equipment and books.

Siffre established a routine sleeping and waking as nature called. He was vigilant about recording his vital signs and relaying his results by telephone to a team of scientists involved in the research project. He wrote in journals about his feelings and moods. Siffre was bothered by the sounds that were present in the cave while he tried to fall asleep.

Siffre trapped and killed a family of 8 mice. Much to his chagrin his books molded due to moisture, he was becoming depressed from isolation and the next time he heard a mouse he was delighted for the company of another living thing. In desperation or boredom he spent days trying to catch the mouse so that he could befriend him. He eventually caught the mouse but in an effort to do so he accidentally killed it.

Many important things were learned as a result of this study. Siffre had adapted to a 28 day schedule, his eyesight was negatively affected and he also reported lingering psycological effects.

Circadian Rhythm and Blindness

Not all people that are blind are totally blind. Some people have damaged retinas and other's do not. Since light is absorbed by the retina I looked at sleep and blindness. It is sunlight that causes the release of chemicals in the brain that tell us it is time to be awake. Lack of light and darkness cause chemicals like melatonin to be released which make us feel sleepy. Interesting to note that there were several studies done with regard to blindness and sleep.

The most comprehensive study to date was done in France and the results were that more than 70% of blind men reported insomnia and other sleep related issues. They did have a higher incidence of falling asleep and staying asleep. It also took them longer to fall asleep.

Blind people do dream, some dream in color and some have eye movements when they go into REM, these factors depend on which part of the body is damaged and if the person was blinded after having normal sight.

What Causes Circadian Rhythm Disorders?

First of all, trying to change our bodies to fit the convenience of a man made schedule. In a perfect world, we live, breathe and grow on things that are provided in nature. Sunlight, moonlight, air, fire, food and water and a cave to crash in, on occasion, are the only elements that we need to survive. Time ques quite possibly go against the grain of human nature at it's most basic core.

If you are able to acclimatize your body to the 24 hour program the following things might cause a disruption on your sleep pattern.

  • Jet Lag (Crossing time zones)
  • Medicines
  • Changes in normal routine
  • Shift Work
  • Pregnancy
  • Foods with additives
  • Stress
  • Medical Conditions

What Can You Do?

If you need help modifying your behavior, I strongly recommend that you visit a sleep lab near you or consult your physician. There are steps you can take to conform to the 9 to 5 way of life. If you do not have an underlying cause or sleep disorder, there are drugs you can take to aid you in changing your sleep shift. There are also non-drug therapies such as using special lights that contain the needed elements to make our clocks run clockwise and keep pretty good time.

Keeping sleep logs is always a great idea. It may help you determine if you are experiencing outside influences that are keeping you awake or track your caffeine intake. It may help you recognize a common event that correlates to your sleepless night. It will greatly aid your physician in determining whether a sleep study could benefit your health.

If you have a job outside the home do you work a regular shift?

See results without voting

References:

Packer C, Swanson A, Ikanda D, Kushnir H (2011)Fear of Darkness, the Full Moon and the Nocturnal Ecology of African Lions.PLoS ONE 6(7):e22285.doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0022285

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Comments 90 comments

writer20 profile image

writer20 4 years ago from Southern Nevada

Very good hub to help us. Voted up useful and interesting, Joyce.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Kelly....You are just full of interesting information. Wonderful job on this very informative hub about our internal clock! Of fall the issues I've had to deal with here and there, throughout my life...THANK HEAVENS, sleep problems has not been one of them.

Apparently my inner clock was set, wound and ticks properly! JEESH, Kelly.....I knew there HAD to be something that worked well in this body of mine!!! Thanks...you made my day! UP++


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 4 years ago from sunny Florida

This was very interesting. Lots of information packed in here. It was especially interesting to read the information on those who are blind and sleep.

Worth a reread...thanks for sharing this..


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 4 years ago from South Africa

Excellent writing, excellent research. I have insomnia since the death of my father in 1989, but I've learned how to benefit from it. Medication don't agree with me... Story of my life...

Realhousewife, I am sharing this hub with all my friends.

Voted up and a must read.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

I wonder what those who have been blind from birth dream about?

This circadian rhythm thing is quite interesting. Once you develop your own rhythm, adjusting it is almost impossible.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Joyce! Thanks so much! Sweet dreams!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hey Effer - oh be glad! Many people have terrible sleep issues and it really affects our daily living and mood. Yep your clock sounds like it is working just fine and if it isn't broken don't fix it! lol

Thank you so much!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi pstraubie48 - oh thank you! I was happy that you read it once but re-reading it is a bonus! lol Thank you so much - I have always been interested in just about anything that involves a mystery. Hope all your dreams are great ones!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Martie! Thank you so much! Yeah I don't do well - and many, many others do not either - with sleep drugs. There are so many side effects, grogginess, people not remembering driving to work. That or they just plain ole don't work!

Thank you so much for the read, comment and shares!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hey Lela! Hi! I believe they dream about the same things we do. Whatever our life experience, how we imagine things is probably true. I did read about it long ago and it was pretty much like seeing people dream, if I remember right.

It is hard to adjust - I worked nights and I still am on a night shift. I just can't seem to make myself be a "day" person! I wish!


unknown spy profile image

unknown spy 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

I've tried to fight Circadian rhythm when I worked on a night shift.. I didn't survive, all i have to do on my free time is sleep. sleep and sleep..

I've also written a hub about this one, you can check if you have time:

http://hubpages.com/health/Vampires-Life

Voted + and all.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Unknown spy - I am the opposite - I worked nights and can't get back to a day shift. One of the things all tech's have to do is work nights - some of them had awful problems adjusting to it even for a short period. One girl was walking into walls, couldn't tolerate any of the sleep drugs - it can be horrible on your whole life.

Thanks - I will check out the link for sure!


sueroy333 profile image

sueroy333 4 years ago from Indiana

I have sympathy for all of you. I don't have empathy, though, as I can fall asleep at the drop of a hat. Please don't ever drop a hat while I'm driving.....

Love the article and the research, housewife. Isn't research FUN!!! :)


Ardie profile image

Ardie 4 years ago from Neverland

I wonder if this Hub explains my sleep problem. It isn't so much that I have insomnia - its more that I just want to stay up all night and sleep all day! My clock is backwards :) Great info RHW


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Sueroy! Such a treat to see you out and about:) Lucky you! I wish I could sleep like that - your brain has it going on! Of course, I already knew that!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Ardie! I am with you there - I have always been nocturnal. I can only guess that our brains are not producing enough melatonin at everyone else's normal hour. I adapted to night shifts well - but I never ever have been a day person. Even as a child I was nocturnal. I tried light therapy, drugs, depriving myself of sleep - nothing works. I have gotten to the point where I have stopped fighting it and I just work and sleep when I feel like it - lucky I can do that - I used to have to go with the work flow! lol Thank you!


Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 4 years ago

Great article RHW! Circadian Rhythm disorder is common among us. Have been working evening and late nights and was hard to get a nice sleep. And your study confirms my problems. Thanks for enlightening my retina..I mean my knowledge. Now I'm sleepy...!


Vellur profile image

Vellur 4 years ago from Dubai

Interesting, informative and useful hub.Cat naps are supposed to be energizing and very effective but I can never sleep that way. It takes a long time for me to fall asleep. Voted up.


rahul0324 profile image

rahul0324 4 years ago from Gurgaon, India

This Hub was a must read for me! After my last exams I have delved into a different routine for my self! I cannot sleep before 6 in the morning

I don't think I have insomnia. When I wake up, I do not get the feeling of freshness as I got in the morning! This hub is an eye opener as I was lost finding reasons! One method I fail to try each day is

To keep awake and let the body tire itself without sleeping one more stretch... by this I think my body will tire itself out by 10 or 11 in the night and my clock will be fixed! Is it a good option?

Great Hub!


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

Yep, that is the best way to do it if you are a night person. Just sleep whenever. You are quite lucky that you can do that.

I used to be like SueRoy and sleep standing up if I had to. The urge to sleep will just overcome you at times. So no hat dropping around us.

After the sleep study and the CPAP, I do find that I can sleep at night now. But I still have to take drugs to stay asleep with the mask on. Otherwise, I will have restless sleep and rip off the mask.

The best sleep comes when I sleep in my recliner. Therefore I have set a goal to get one of those adjustable sleep number beds as a retirement gift to myself. I looked at the price of one of them and nearly blacked out right then and there!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Lord - well night work is the hardest on your body. Some people can do it - others can not adjust. I have seen terrible issues with day people thinking it is easy to switch to night shifts - it isn't! Just don't use products that contain caffeine like 10 hours before bed - aspirin - acetaminaphin stuff like that has caffeine. People don't realize that and it could be what is keeping them up!

I hope all your dreams are sweet ones dear:)


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Vellur - I can't nap myself. And - for people that do nap - the sleep doc will be trying to figure out why. Sleep Apnea tends to leave a lot of nappers behind. If I sleep in the middle of the day I am for sure not gonna sleep until the wee hours of the morning. It throws me off so I never nap even though I could.

Thanks so much for the read, comments and votes!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi rahul0324 - Sounds like you have a good grasp of what is going on. When we interrupt our sleep and then try to nap or make up for the lack of it can make things worse.

If you stayed up late studying and now you are struggling to get back to normal sleep - it seems to me without knowing very much of your background or history - that it could be like transient insomnia. The effects could last a few days until you get back to normal and then you should be back on track.

If we travel and cross time zones - this causes it too. Jet Lag is a huge problem for travelers. The switch in sleeping schedules should last a few days or a week or so and then most of the time people will sleep normally again.

It is very important for people with sleep problems to maintain a regular sleep wake pattern more than anything else. Even on the weekend. Go to bed around the same time and get up around the same time. This will keep your circadian rhythm in check.

It totally sounds like the chemicals in the brain are a little out of whack. I would say in the morning when you rise - open a window and let some sunlight in. Let your brain absorb some rays - and soon I am pretty sure you WILL be back to normal! Good luck to you!


Ardie profile image

Ardie 4 years ago from Neverland

RHW, I know just what you mean! I worked second and third shifts for the longest time because the hours were easier on me than working a 9-5. And when my kids were first born I gladly stayed up until 4 am with them but then that 7 am feeding was just too much!!! I've never tried any treatments - Im just always exhausted :)


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Lela - I have heard of many people that sleep in recliners rather than beds! I have actually performed sleep studies in their entirety on people that sleep in a recliner. We actually had one in the lab for that reason - it was pretty popular. We had sleep number beds in the lab in every room too and people still opted for the recliner on rare occasion.

Part of the reason for that is - sleep apnea is always worse when you are in a supine (on your back) flat - many people with CHF can not sleep on their backs and will report things such as "I feel like an elephant is laying on my chest!"

I am lucky - my hours suck. I sleep normally from about 3 am to 9 or 10. So I get enough hour wise but I would love to be one of those people who jumps out of bed singing and making biscuits and gravy! lol

I have an adjustable bed which I love now but it took me forever to not wake up with a back ache. It is memory foam though - so maybe that is why? IDK? I do love the adjustable head and foot board!! It is great for doing all those things you should NEVER do in the bed:) lol


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Ardie - maybe it is partially because we are moms too *(and good ones I might add!) lol I did work nights because then the girls didn't have to go to daycare that much and they didn't like it. I think I was awake for like 5 years solid during one period of time:) lol

I was working on the research project once - and I was the only tech who knew how to draw blood - we needed to draw blood in the middle of the night to test the half life - so there were several nights my work had me stay at the hotel so one of the techs could come to my room - wake me up - have me draw blood for them - and then go back to sleep and go to work at 7! omg! I did train some other techs quickly but it sucked! I would get up and shake my head and say "I am doing this for science!"

I havent' worked outside the home now for 6 years - and I am still such an abnormal sleeper. I gave up and just sleep the odd hours. Wish I was one of those chipper morning ladies!


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 4 years ago from Arlington, TX

RHW - Good to see you. I have this internal clock that seems to never shut off. For 23 years I woke up at the same time without an alarm usually and still do. The body is a strange marvel I must say.

The Frog


sholland10 profile image

sholland10 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri

I would definitely feel depressed and psychologically altered if I stayed in a cave for several months! This is an extremely interesting subject to me because of my sleep disorders. Also, I am not sure why scientists feel that cat naps are cutting edge right now... I'm always good for a nap! LOL (not kidding!)

Your hub is also interesting when I think about teenagers and how their biological clocks seems to change with their hormones. It seems that our teens are so tired in the mornings, but they seem to grow out of it when they start college or go into the workforce as their bodies mature. Great Hub! Votes and shares! :-)


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Frog - I was thinking about you last night - I saw a video for pull ups - testing the Princess and the Frog diapers:) LOL Sorry - other than the name - nothing else brought you to mind! haha!

You are SO lucky! You have perfect brain chemistry- but I already knew that! Thanks and so good to see you! I am going to hop on over to your pad later and see what you been up to!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hey Susan - I should have known a school teacher would recognize sleepy teens! Poor kids today - they actually need the most sleep, but with studies and part time jobs and so many activities they are getting the least. Their bodies do a lot of growing in HS thru college and they NEED more rest to accommodate this spurt. The sleep community is on this and are very aware of this pitfall. Starting school way too early is a concession I would like to see made for the good health of our kids in this stage.

I have been plagued with sleep issues my whole life. I am totally nocturnal. I stuggled in school to keep up because I was always so tired during the day but I did ok. In college I took every class at night that I could! haha! Thank you so much for bringing that up!


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica

Kelly, I have never heard of this disorder before. This is so interesting. I always thought it was insomnia before. It has happened to me but since I am working from home and I just going with the flow when it comes to sleeping and waking.


Melovy profile image

Melovy 4 years ago from UK

You’ve come up with another very interesting hub, and the comments are fascinating too! From what you’ve written about melatonin it makes sense that those of us in northern parts feel tireder in winter when it’s dark for a lot longer.

I once read an article that said rather than some of us begin owls and some larks, some of us have cycles close to 24 hours and some have cycles closer to 25, and those closer to 25 have more difficultly with mornings etc. I don’t know if this theory is true, but I have noticed that if my kids are left to their own devices in school holidays they gradually go to bed later and sleep later. I’d be interested to read your opinion on that theory.


sen.sush23 profile image

sen.sush23 4 years ago from Kolkata, India

I sleep late and wake late. I hope I had an answer to this pattern and could modify it. Nice writeup with interesting video.


Ruchira profile image

Ruchira 4 years ago from United States

Interesting hub Kelly. Your insightful hub also concluded that man is a SOCIAL animal and his sleep patterns definitely get affected by it. also, when you speak of the phases of the moon and how the lion kills accordingly also relates to how crime is committed at night by humans.

You have covered each angle with good logic. extreme darkness/light definitely affects the secretion of melatonin and then the sleep patterns.

I would also recommend meditation for those who are suffering from lack of sleep...does wonders!

voted up indeed :)


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Cardisa - Yeah I do that too. I think many hub and other writers for that matter sleep odd hours. I work late and sleep late - still. I stopped trying to adjust to the day shift everyone else seems to enjoy:) lol I can't do it! I am glad you sleep good - no matter when you do! Thanks so much!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Melovy - I do totally agree that there is a longer cycle for our bodies naturally than the 24 hour clock. The French researcher adapted to a 28 day clock over a 6 month period! Significant. Also I wonder about daylight savings and those type of adjustments we make - that make no sense whatsoever $6! lol My children stay up late during the summer and sleep late also. I let them. We are a happy nocturnal family in the summer:) lol They flip back when school starts easy though.

In Alaska - it is very common for them to use light therapy during their dark months. I did use this as well when I worked nights. I would turn the sun lamp on for about 20 minutes as soon as I got to work. Then rush home with dark sunglasses on like a vampire before the sun worked it's way into my retinas:) haha!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi sen.sush23 - I do also. I notice many of the hub writers are saying this:) Could it be that we have the ability to work and sleep when we like so naturally more people might sleep these hours if their jobs allowed! Lucky us! Thank you so much!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Ruchira - Oh that is terrific! Thanks so much for being thoughtful enough to add that! Yes - meditation is an excellent resource for relaxation. I am all for that. To relax the mind just before bed is such a smart thing to do. I tend to play online games that require all of my attention - it destresses me. I think of it as a mental blank time:) lol I think Meditation works to totally clear the mind of junk.

Yeah - I really believe the body is perfect and works perfectly if we would just leave well enough alone! lol


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca

It is funny... when I was younger I was always an early riser... it didn't matter what time I went to bed I would almost always be up early morning. My sister on the other hand could sleep until noon. If I did - that meant I was pretty sick. Now that I am older, I find I still can't sleep in, but I seem to be more of a night owl as well. I think my main sleep disorder is just not doing it enough... now I need a nap! :)


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Stacy I can tell you that you are right on target with "you just don't sleep enough!" I know how hard you work and how much you run like crazy - I think you are not bouncing back because you keep running yourself into the ground! I order you to rest! lol Go ahead take that nap - you deserve it!


molometer profile image

molometer 4 years ago

Very interesting hub.

Since I have been taking Melatonin and using the light box my sleep pattern is now 'normal', whatever that is.

I battled with my circadian rhythm disorder for years, as I outlined in my hub on the topic.

http://hubpages.com/health/Are-You-A-Night-Owl-Del...

Nice to read your analysis on this often overlooked and debilitating disorder. Well done.

Maybe we should exchange links and get all this useful info in one place?

Voted up and sharing.


Candie V profile image

Candie V 4 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

Very Very Interesting! I find I wake up early (like the time I get up for work) when I don't have to.. when I do, all my brain wants to do is sleep.. I think it's rebellion! Haha!


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina

This really explains a lot. I used to sleep like a rock every night. When my youngest was born she did not sleep. She is three now and I still have insomnia. Every noise I hear I wake up. Who knew what kinds of problems could come from circadian rhythm problems. Great hub!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Oh Hey pretty cool molometer! I am going to check that hub out right now and link you in here! That would be excellent - I am a big fan of your writing - so prefessional. I have no doubt it will only improve my hub and I am honored! Thank you so much!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hey Candie V - I bet that is psychological too - when I worked days - waking up to that alarm was painful! Some mornings I thought I could literally cry! lol Working nights though - no problem getting up at all. So weird...but I worked the night shift when I was a teenager too so I think I just never have been a day person.

I think the rebellion is when you do wake up when you DON'T have to! lol Like why can't your brain let you sleep late? eh? haha! It is really habit..it is excellent if you can get up at the same time each day though I never have. I used to roll my eyes every time I heard one of the docs say that...I mean really?! lol


Candie V profile image

Candie V 4 years ago from Wherever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

Waking up without the clock has never been my claim to fame.. I'm a complete night person as well, so waking up at 5am is not my bag! My kingdom to be indep wealthy!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hey Tammy - oh yeah, babies will throw the clock out the window! I would suggest some white noise for you...and do not sleep with a television on or set it to go off. What it sounds like is that you are hyper alert or something. Often - we will wake up when we hear sounds that our brains are not trained to hear. So - a loud commercial with a spike in volume can set the alarm off. For as many times as you remember waking up - I would add about 5 more for the awakenings you do not remember:) So I bet you wake up tired! Are you sure you don't have apnea? I would sometimes hear of patients that thought they were being awakened by one thing but really it was apnea or Periodic limb movements. Pets are another big culprit! People that sleep with animals - it wakes them up many times if the pet moves, only the people don't realize it was an animal paw that woke them up really, for example.

Well I hope you start sleeping better - you need your REM! lol Thank you so much!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hey Candie - I am SO not a morning person! Ew! I have always preferred night hours. I know my brain chemistry is all screwed up but I am just going with it. I work late into the night (it's so quiet with everyone sleeping!) and I do not get up until 9 or 10:). I've asked myself if I could even go back to normal hours - NO! Haha! Never!


alphagirl profile image

alphagirl 4 years ago from USA

I am a morning person. I have a daughter that is morning and a daughter who is late riser. I have worked a third shift and I could BARELY stay awake past 3am. I commend anyone who works that shift in a hospital.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Oh hey alpha girl! That's funny, alpha makes me think of brain waves:) awake! Lol. Oh I have never been a morning person and I think the folks that work day shift have it rough! Lol. To me that is so hard...I can do it but I am miserable. Night shifts - no problem! It's is funny the way brain chemistry can work...my girls are both morning people and they set their own slams and jump right up! Thank GOODNESS! Haha. Thanks so much:)


mythicalstorm273 profile image

mythicalstorm273 4 years ago

I love the study of the circadian rhythm. There are even theories about how screwing up your rhythm can really affect your health. You can be much healthier if you listen to your body and get the sleep you need. Great information provided!


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca

Man... I missed out on that nap that you ordered for me... I should take it tomorrow! LOL


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Oh so true Myth and I really wanted to touch on that but I discovered it is a whole hub of its own. I ended up with a few subtopics that became entire hubs. This is a tough one to tackle - I think Molometer did a great job explaining so much I didn't even get near. It is a really interesting topic I think, and the main thing I thought people should get is that it is the whole body clock that works together on a supposed 24 hour schedule. The chemicals in the brain should be released at regular intervals - that is what the normal is:) I just never saw normal very much! lol Normal people don't get sleep studies!


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 4 years ago from Maui and Arizona

Interesting information, thanks for sharing it. I had read quite a bit on this subject decades ago (when research was not as in-depth probably) and it looks like I've been calling it the wrong name ever since. I've been calling it Ceridian rhythm.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Well try again today - ok! I see you making comments and they don't seem to me to be the comments of a resting mother! Lol. Sleep! Drink! Be merry!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Pamela - it's such an interesting topic! I think circadian rhythm is a nutty word. Why don't they just say "internal body clock?". It might be too easy! Lol. Thank you so much for the comment - good luck synchronizing your clock!


iamaudraleigh 4 years ago

My boyfriend was talking about this subject a while back! It is amazing what that guy went to do his research! I do not think I could do it.

It is sad that some of his stuff got ruined by mold and moisture.

This hub was exciting in a way. I am impressed how much info you and knowledge you know about all f this.

Voted up and shared!!!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hey audra - I still enjoy researching the latest advances in sleep! It is really interesting to me...there are so many mysteries yet to be discovered! I used to love doing research projects because you just never knew what might happen! Usually nothing:) lol

Thank you so much for the nice compliments and shares!!


mikeydcarroll67 4 years ago

Very good! I never knew how much was being done to understand this aspect of our lives.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi mikeydcarroll67 - oh shoot - you'd be amazed at dome of the sleep research studies I worked on. Some fascinating science going on! The government paid big bucks for one study - trying to find out why more accidents happen on the night shift. We would simulate a night job (using computers and work tasks) and toture those people all night looking for answers:) lol. It was FUN! Lol. I'd do a bunch of tasks then hook them up to the monitor - then we'd see how long it took them to fall asleep...I'd wait for 90 seconds of sleeping brain waves - then wake them up by saying "you must open your eyes and remain awake." just like a recording! Lol lol. It is awesome awesome what's going on in sleep science!


Chris Hugh 4 years ago

My sleep patterns are so whack. I am energetic at night and sleepy in the day. I went on Reddit and people gave me so many great suggestions on how I can be alert during the day. I'm thinking of writing a Hub on it. Thank you for your Hub.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Chris Hugh - oh that is great - please let me know when you are finished I would love to take a look at it! Just be careful because so many people have such weird ideas about sleep - they convince themselves of things that just are not true or don't work! lol


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

Very interesting article. I tried the vote but you don't have a category that fits mine: I don't work regular hours/ I do work off shift hours (12hrs) and I do have problems sleeping-not when I get off shift, but on my days/nights off. Hard to go back to the sleeping at night cuz my body is used to being awake in the middle of night no matter how tired I am. :(

Great info here. Voted interesting/up


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Denise - you poor thing! Sounds like tou have shift work sleep disorder! It is very common. Do you change shifts? I am assumig you do - if so it's the worst! If you try to get up and go to sleep at all different times - it messes with those brain chemicals. So sunlight causes us to want to be awake - and melatonin is released and we become sleepy. So your body is confused about what time is should be regulated to. It is best if you can go to be and rise at the same time every day, so when I worked nights - even on my nights off - I stayed up all night! It was horrible. Those people who have to constantly rotate shifts - have these problems. Police officers have the worst sleeping habits of all I think.

There is a lot of good information available about SWSD - check it out!

I hooe you find a way to get some better sleep!


urmilashukla23 profile image

urmilashukla23 4 years ago from Rancho Cucamonga,CA, USA

My medicines are affecting my sleep and I am going to join sleep study lab. Great hub. Thanks for sharing it. Voted up!


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

I actually don't do 'swing shift' work. But, like you mentioned, on my days off I have a 'wake up' syndrome that kicks in at around 11 pm and then I am awake throughout the night till about 5 a.m. It takes at least two full days off to get back into a normal sleep pattern and then it is time to go back to work!


Sharyn's Slant profile image

Sharyn's Slant 4 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

I'm so glad I finally got the time to read this awesome hub. Really great information and research here Kel. I especially like Siffre's study. Growing up, my Dad worked at the steel mills. He worked "crazy shift." One week days, one week afternoons, one week nights and the fourth week was a "crazy" mix. It was always difficult for him to adjust that quickly. And the family had to adjust to his schedule in many ways too. I believe my Dad still has sleeping problems after 35 years of craziness :) Thanks for this awesome hub. I have several people who I will send it to who I know would appreciate the information. And thanks for the link too!

Sharyn


tsmog profile image

tsmog 4 years ago from Escondido, CA

Hello RHW. You know I have read this little treatise and gander again once or twice. It looms out there saying, write a hub, write a hub with stats and everything. I know you don't diagnose, but I have a compulsive feeling to say 'Look, Look' it is not like you say, See, See - worse . . .

I like this hub for more reasons than one. First, it is as most of your hubs, well documented, packed with a powerful punch, for me at least, and causes a pause with a tad of wonderment. I can see how late TV can affect the little ones.

All my docs are pestering me lately, tdoc = therapist, pdoc = psychiatrist, and pcdoc = primary care. They must have each other speed dialed or something :) he's coming tell him to sleep ha, ha . . .

Then I peek about here and sure enough some one has shared this hub. Synchronicity they call that. OK, I will begin mood charting again, focusing on sleep first and then maybe I'll say hello with a hub.

But, for now I would like to say I like the 'new you' though I'm sure it is one in the same :)

Tim (have a great day!)


writeronline 4 years ago

What an illuminating Hub! Wrong adjective? Oh well..:)

I had a period of several years where a good night's sleep and I were total strangers. It coincided with an extended bout of depressive anxiety disorder (regrettably, depression and I are well-acquainted, and have been all my life), and every night was a circle of anxious thought, beginning with "I must sleep", through "why can't I sleep" to anticipating the alarm, "so it's too late to sleep now". All that wakefullness was of course spent building mountains out of molehills, which to some extent became real during working hours, because I was so damn tired....

Not circadian rhythm out of whack; more head out of whack in my case, but I can sure identify with people here saying how debilitating a prolonged lack of sleep can be. Whatever the reason.

These days, after working for myself from home for many years, I'm in the fortunate position of pretty much being able to nap/sleep when I feel like it. So if I have a restless night I don't (need to) get stressed about it. But I still can't shake a feeling of guilt and kinda weirdness if I sleep for more than half an hour during the day..

Thanks for posting this informative Hub.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

That's a great idea! Many times taking meds at the wrong time of day can be the whole trouble. Let me know how it turns out and good luck!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Yep. Denise that's why they say just stay up on your nights off and sleep the same way as your work hours. Your poor brain doesn't know when it should be giving you melatonin or the seratonin tyoe chemicals:). It's trying to go both ways on a one way stree!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hey Sharyn - oh your poor dad. That is the worst - people that work swing shifts are a mess. Not all of them - but most of them. It's just trying to get solid sleep that isn't fragmented and people think sleep is what they can do without more than the other stuff...it's just not true. The body and brain need rest just like everything else.

I hooe it helps your dad Sharyn...he just needs to regulate the clock!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hey TS! Oh you poor guy! For sure - do sleep logs - and you can just use them for yourself if you like - there may be something you can correlate to poor sleep. Some drugs can really affect your sleep - like benzodiazepines...mood elevatorss, anti depressants, blood pressure meds...just a multitude of things. If you can experiment with one thing at a time you may notice what is keeping you up!

Thanks a bunch for the comp,iments!! I was so tired of looking at that picture and man I was wearing the same shirt for months! Lol


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hey writer - you're so clever:) lol. Illuminating! Haha!

Yeah I can hear the anxiety - and I suffer the same sometimes. Here's my trick when my mind starts going when I need it to stop. I turn off everything and I only allow myself to focus on the sound of my respirations. I totally conce grate on NOTHING except hearing that next breath...so freaking boring I'm asleep in the normal 10 - 20 minute sleep latency. Try it! Either that or a tranquiler such as Ativan or Xanax might help if your doc knows it's a transient thing. I personally don't want to got the drug route but I have before (Buspar) was prescribed when I worked and HAD to swing shift) by my sleep doctor:) lol. It was really affective and non addictive to, now that I don't work outside the home I just sleep when I want to. No problems! Good luck and let me know how you're doing!


tsmog profile image

tsmog 4 years ago from Escondido, CA

I hope you finally threw that shirt in the laundy. How long did you wear it. Maybe a job for woolite? Thanks for the reply . . .I'm gon'na start my mood chart back up with June 1. I'll keep you informed - coach :)


Nicole S profile image

Nicole S 4 years ago from Minnesota

I always struggle with waking up, no matter how much sleep I've gotten. This was interesting to read! You have a lot of useful information here.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hey TS - I know that shirt was getting all grungy:) lol. Yeah you should really do that - and log everything you take or ingest - foods meds, alcoholic beverages. I bet it will not be for naught!

Good luck!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Nicole S - I honestly think you need to see a sleep doctor as soon as you can. This is so not normal and if you aren't getting good sleep you can't be at 100%! there surely is an underlying cause! Please go check it out:).

Thank you so much!


prairieprincess profile image

prairieprincess 4 years ago from Canada

RHW, I thought I had commented on this one, but I can't see my comment! This is very useful information. My husband has worked shift work for many years and I like to find out as much as possible about what he has to go through. I am not surprised that the going awry from what's natural for us has potential bad consequences. We weren't meant to do shift work. Absolutely wonderful hub. I am so glad you could share your professional knowledge. Take care.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hey prairieprinecess - well I am so glad to see your comment! Thank you! For a while - we had issues with comments and answering them and things so maybe it didn't post? I couldn't answer my comments at all for a couple of days!

Oh your hubby is on nights? Yeah it is tough...you just get to where you feel like you are never going to actually wake up. I think I was in a fog for like 5 years! lol I used to tell my husband - "you might have said that! I have been sleeping for 3 years how would I know?" haha!

The best things you can do are try to maintain a regular sleep schedule and sleep the best you can during the day. I could never sleep more than about 5 hours. I am so glad to be off that shift even though it has changed and ruin my own sleeping pattern. Oh well...at least I can work when I like so I won't complain:)


WritingPrompts profile image

WritingPrompts 4 years ago from The Garden of Eugene (Oregon)

Interesting topic. I drive a truck and they like to talk about circadian rhythms every now and then at safety meetings... then they go right back to dispatching us on overnight runs 2-3 times a week and mandatory day shifts in between. I'd be interested in hearing more about how to cope when you're in such a chaotic situation. Regular sleep sounds nice, but it will never happen for an OTR driver. I am very in-tune to the sun. I'll get up at sunrise even if I went to sleep half an hour before. I can't seem to sleep during the day unless I've been up for several days, and even then I won't sleep more than a couple hours during daylight. (People have suggested better shades to block the light, but I can still tell somehow.)

My other question is what makes some people "night owls" to the extreme that they sleep all day and are up all night (even without shift work that would encourage such a schedule). I have a family member like this and I want to understand them better.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hey Writing prompts - OTR truck drivers have it bad. Police officers may be number one for worst jobs for sleep - rotating shifts.

I will be perfectly honest - you can't jump around with your sleep shift so easily. The chemicals in our brains are secreted like clock work. So the things that stimulate our wake/sleep cycle are very cycled. So about every twelve hours or so - you're going to get sleepy...naturally - it may not matter what the hands on that clock say...you're brain is ready and it wants YOU to lie down. After you're rested enough (around 7 - 9 hours is normal) the chemicals begin to secrete in the brain that say "hello! Time to wake up now!".

We can NOT alter those chemicals when we want...we have to adjust. So the best advice is to maintain as regular a sleep cycle as you can. If you're going to have to switch around...you will have issues. I'm not surprised you say that you try to make the room dark and still can't sleep. The brain KNOWS and you can't fool it:) lol

About the friend...she sounds like me...I worked nights for so long...I can't sleep regular hours. I have never adjusted. I allow my body to tell me when to sleep and wake...so I usually sleep around 3 am and rise at 10...that's normal and no matter what I do - it's the most normal sleep shift I can achieve without meds. Your friend sounds like she may have sleep shift work disorder...and her or his brain chemistry works like that. If this person is in bed more than like 9 hours...I might suspect some depression or underlying issue?


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 4 years ago from Sunny Spain

A very interesting hub, I enjoyed reading it and I learned something so I am glad I came.

I am a night person, often don't go to bed until 5 or 6am but I am free to sleep then until I wake up no work to mess my day up lol..


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi maggs224! Thank you so much!

I am still a night person. I was working on a project that kept me up until 4 a.m. this morning and I felt like I could work until the normal 7 and be ready for bed then. I have been trying to sleep like a normal day person for a few years and still can't switch those chemicals naturally. I decided to stop trying so hard - what difference does it make as long as I function normally for my lifestyle? I realized the thing that causes me issues is when I try to hard to be like everyone else:) lol


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 4 years ago

Good hub about a little known subject. One thing that doctors don’t consider is that some people don’t have a 24-hour rhythm. I learned through tracking that I have a rhythm of between 25 and 26 hours which plays heck with my sleeping patterns. I have always been a night person, but I noticed when I was not working or going to school, I went to bed later and later each night. For years I worked night shifts in the media because it was easier to adapt to going to bed and getting up hours before work time, but then I got a day job nearly 25 years ago. All of these years of getting up at a regular time have not enabled me to overcome this problem, and I still do not get up cheerfully when the alarm sounds. Working nights is difficult, too, when everyone else in the household is a “day person.”


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Ha! Terrific point you make MizBejabbers! Yes I don't know why everyone is so hyped up about a 24 hour cycle...the researcher who went underground also adapted (without time ques) to a 26 hour cycle I believe. And yeah I've been off nights now for about 8 years and still - I can't adapt. I have tried so many times and I just end up stressing myself out eve more trying to be a "normal" sleeper:). Now I just sleep when I want...I usually fall asleep around 3 and rise at 9:30 or 10. That works best and how I naturally sleep right now.

Yes I had two babies and worked nights...now that was HARD! Syd was 2 and shed come into my bedroom and pull my eyes open to ask if I was "IN" there:) hahaha


Kris Heeter profile image

Kris Heeter 4 years ago from Indiana

Circadian rhythm is a fascinating topic and has been (and continues to be) the subject of much research in both humans and other animals. Voted up and sharing:)


viveresperando profile image

viveresperando 4 years ago from A Place Where Nothing Is Real

Found this really interesting. Loved it. Going to have to research a little more... Love the research you did and citing your resources. Loved it.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

I agree Kris - and I just learned they are studying circadian rhythms in plants too! Isn't that wild? I guess all living things must have a sleep cylce. Thank you so much!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi viveresperando - thank you so much! I am really interested in sleep. I still do not have a great clock but I think working nights ruined me:) I usually don't write research that I feel the need to add links but I thought this is a really confusing topic to understand so if I can lead anyone to more info - it might help! lol It also kind of allowed me to add the stuff I thought was really fascinating and I enjoyed reading.

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