1. Recognize the problem:
Of course, you have to realize the nature of the sleep problem. "Delayed Sleep Phase" is the commonest disorder of sleep cycle. It commonly runs in families, and is very prevalent among teens, young adults, creative people and those with "active minds". Anxiety is often associated with delayed sleep phase, as well as a tendency to want to stay up at night, to accomplish tasks that are difficult to complete during the day. A frequent statement is that "my mind seems to wake up when it is time to sleep."
2. Do you really want to make it better?
Sounds like a silly question. But the point is that it is very difficult to make this problem better unless the person suffering from it is motivated to make it better. The good news is it can be completely better, without prescription medicines if you are willing to learn about how the body's sleep mechanisms work, how they get disturbed and how to return them to their natural function. Some people decide however that their tendency to be awake at night and asleep during the day works for them; musicians, performers and writers being some of them.
3. "Just tell me what to do?"
I will expand on the following next time but here are some of the things to do:
- Bright light exposure of 5,000 lux or more starting 30 minutes before your "natural" wake up time. (Usual indoor lighting is 100-200 lux).
- Do not take a daytime nap of over 30 minutes, and none in the last six hours before bedtime.
- Turn down the lighting one hour before intended sleep time. Turn off all sources of lighted electronic screens.
- Take melatonin 1.5 mg or less from a large reputable manufacturer, one hour before intended sleep time, BUT no earlier than ten hours of "natural" wake up time. No added ingredients are necessary.
- Eat a filling starchy snack 30 minutes before bed time; not fatty, not sugary food.
- Avoid all sugary or caffeinated drinks in the last six hours before intended bedtime.
Relax. You will reach your goal and you can do it. No one has invented any magic pill stronger than human will power.
More next time. Adios.
Deep Relaxation Training at Sehatu Sleep, designed with sleep medicine and psychology principles, empowers people by giving them skills to turn the mind switch on and off on command and to relax when needed. Classes can be attended via Skype.
Sehatu Sleep and Yoga Studio, located in Granite Bay, CA, also provides a variety of Yoga classes, including Yin, Gentle and Restorative Yoga, as well as Meditation classes, for individuals who are interested in practicing a healthy lifestyle at any age, starting at any time in their life at any skill level.