- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
Free and Easy Solutions for Sleep Problems (Delayed Phase Sleep Disorder and Non-24 Hour Wake-Sleep Disorder)
For more than 15 years, I have suffered from DSPS (Delayed Phase Sleep Disorder). I wasn't able to sleep until the morning. It was creating lots of difficulties for my daily life. Unless I isolated myself from the world and followed my irregular sleep patterns, I have been deprived of sleep. The catch 22 of a person with DSPS: sleep deprivation if you try to adjust yourself to other people's sleep routine or irregular sleep hours that isolate you from the world. If you stick to 9-5 job, you feel like a ghost around people with early sleep rhythms, you always feel deprived of sleep if you try to adapt (To understand the person with a DSPS trying to work during the day, wake yourself at midnight and work).
Except light therapy, I tried almost everything to have regular sleep hours: sleeping pills, alcohol, herbal sleep supplements, melatonin supplements, no coffee-tea-coke, waking myself in the morning after few hours and not allowing myself to sleep till night. Nothing worked. Even waking myself up at 8:00 a.m for 5 years didn't work. Sleep supplements and melatonin actually helped me to sleep at night, but they didn't change my irregular circadian rhythm, so I was also sleeping during the day (With these supplements, I was sleeping all day long).
My last and desperate attempt to fix my problem was chronotherapy. For a person with DSPS, while it's almost impossible to sleep early it's very easy to delay the time of sleep. So, I delayed my sleep hours around the clock, I was sleeping an hour or two hours each day and after few weeks I was finally able to sleep around 9:00-10 pm. At first I was excited to finally have regular sleep hours, but it didn't last long. After weeks I was sleeping late again, and what was worse, my sleep hours was changing every day, although I wasn't trying to delay my sleep any longer. So for the last 6 months, my DSPS had turned into even worse sleep disorder: the non-24 hour sleep disorder which is caused by chronotherapy. With DSPS, although my sleep time was late, it was fixed; but with Non-24 it was changing around the clock every day, it was horrible.
Since my last attempt had made my situation even worse, I have stopped looking for a cure for my sleep disorders until the last week when I stumbled into a blog about the non-24. I don't know who the person is, but his or her blog was very helpful for me.The person managed to sustain regular sleep hours by applying several measures to block the white light, like using yellow glasses to filter the blue light emitted from the computer screens and white bulbs. Thanks to this blog, I understood the ROOT CAUSE of the sleep problems: WHITE LIGHT (CONTAINING BLUE LIGHT). But I didn't want to use yellow glasses or pay for additional devices, so I tried free-natural solutions to eliminate the root cause of the problem:
***SET COMPUTER BRIGHTNESS TO ZERO.
***NO WHITE OR BLUE LIGHTS AFTER IT GETS DARK (I ONLY USE A SMALL NIGHT LAMP WITH A YELLOW BULB)
Combined with my daily meditation and no-coke-coffee-tea (only one cup of coffee in the morning) policy, THESE SIMPLE SOLUTIONS WORKED FOR ME! For the first time in my life, I was able to sleep relatively early (1 a.m, I normally used to sleep at 6 a.m. when I had DSPS, and when I tried these methods I was also in 6.00 a.m-14:00 pm sleep-wake schedule). Before trying these solutions, I was never able to sleep earlier, no matter what time I went to bed; but for the last week I was finally able to sustain my early and regular sleep hours! I still sleep early and can't believe that the solution was that simple.
Most people believe that circadian rhythm sleep disorders like DSPS and non-24 are caused by insensitivity to the environmental cues. I'm not a physician or a medical doctor (though I have a PhD), but I think otherwise. My hypothesis is that people suffering from sleep disorders are extremely sensitive to the unnatural lights, to an extent that these unnatural lights disturb their circadian rhythms and suppress melatonin productions. Hence eliminating blue-white light can be the real solution for people like me.
Unfortunately most people even doctors don't understand the gravity of this situation and label us as if we're lazy bums. They think that if we have regular lives, we could have regular sleep schedule. But it's exactly the opposite; our irregular sleep rhythms make our lives irregular. Unfortunately, this condition forces us to take only freelance or research jobs, since day-time jobs turn us into zombie-likes. Sorry, English is not my native language, but I suffered from sleep disorders so long and so much that I wanted to share my experience & solutions to help people like me. Feel free to share my article as you like.