Circadian Sleep Disorders Network - Advocating for people with misaligned body clocks
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Short Bio

Retired school teacher

Living with Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome (DSPS)

I think I had DSPS from infancy. For her own health's sake, Dad made Mom stop walking the floor with me 'til all hours when I was about one. She's told me they held hands and listened to me scream for many nights. I didn't "learn" to go to sleep early, but I did learn to stop the useless crying.

In childhood I spent many night-time hours braiding and unbraiding the fringe on my bedspread. And, of course, almost missed the school bus every day.

I was in denial for decades, thinking I could just try harder and learn to wake up early like everyone else. Teaching school was not a wise choice and I've been almost-fired many times because of tardiness. And, oh!, all the variants of apologies I've had to invent, when the obvious one, "I overslept," seemed to be used up for a time.

There's always been waves of the disorder being worse, then a little better, the whole pattern taking some weeks. When it was at its worst, the clock and the concept of time passing had no meaning for me. "It's quarter to eight and I have to be at work at eight and I'm not dressed? No problem, I have 15 minutes after all." I had to memorize or write down the series of clock times leading up to being able to get out the door. My lesson plans had to contain clock times or I never was done before recess came 'round.

The last years at work, catching up on weekends was no longer enough, so I slept about 5 pm to 10 pm and again from about 4 am to 7 am. Sounds crazy, but I couldn't sleep longer than 'til 10 pm no matter what time in the evening I went to bed. Shoulda worked nights, obviously.

Experiences with Doctors and Diagnosis

Strangely, none of my doctors has ever pushed me to use sleeping pills, for which I am grateful. They've always been either disbelieving or stumped.

The process of getting the diagnosis DSPS in 2004 is well-described in my blog, here.

Blogs, Web Sites, Sleep Charts

DSPS, a sleep disorder blog which includes some sleep charts
Sleep Tracker showing Irregular Sleep-Wake Disorder, from 1 December 2010
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Last modified Apr 20, 2022
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