I just graduated college and am used to going to be late and sleeping in late. Now I have a 9-5 job and I'm having a really hard time changing my sleep schedule. I'm tired all the time because no matter when I try to go to bed, I can't fall asleep until 2 or 3am. What's stopping me from changing my sleep schedule? What can I do to regulate it?
Doctors Answers (3)
You have what is called a "Delayed Phase Sleep Syndrome" (DPSS). The opposite would be an "Advanced Phase Sleep Syndrome" where, for example, you would go to sleep about 9 PM and arise at 4 AM. DPSS is normal during teen years and may persist into adulthood but usually our brain adjusts to the night and day cycle. This is helped by work schedules, family responsibilities and the desire to be awake when others are awake and businesses are open. You now have a reason to change and will need some help, possibly with a sleep specialist. You may need to take something for sleep for awhile, and force yourself to get up when you need to. This can be helped by having a bright light come on to "make your day", so to speak. You may need a timer. Blue spectrum light may be better but just a bright bulb will help.
Sleep schedules are relative to good sleep hygiene. Maintaining your schedule will require discipline on your part. Some suggestions might be: Maintain the same bedtime and arise time 7 days a week. Do not nap during the day. Limit caffeine after noon daily. Turn your TV and I Pad off during the night. Reserve your bed for sleeping. Good luck.
Getting on a new routine is hard. It takes patience and dedication. First, keep to a schedule. If you cannot go to sleep do not stay in bed; bed is for reading or sexual activity only. Get up and go to another room until you are ready to go to sleep. Stay away from computers/Kindles/iPads since the light in the screen prevents melatonin absorption by your body. Melatonin helps make your body fall asleep. Melatonin, 3mg, is best taken 3 hours BEFORE bedtime. Regular exercise, avoiding alcohol and tobacco products before bedtime will also help with the ability to fall asleep. On the weekends ,try not to sleep more than 1 hour past your normal wake-up time.