Thank you for allowing me to Answer your question. Occasionally, when
a Researcher encounters a low dollar question where the topic is
something of extreme interest, the asker will get an exceptional
in-depth answer worth far more monetarily. This is the essence of
being a GAR (Google Answers Researcher), -- the love of combining our
searching and writing skills into a "Report" of sorts on a topic we
are passionate about, tailored to a specific individual. We never know
when a question that moves us will be posted, but when it does we are
hooked, we rearrange our day because we can't help but be drawn to it.
For me, this is one of those topics!
I can guarantee one thing: If you follow the suggestions in my Answer,
your life will be forever changed!
My Answer is divided into sections:
1) General Commentary and my opinion as to your set of symptoms and what they mean.
2) Actions you can take immediately to help you get up at a specific
time that is earlier than your body is ready for.
3) Resources both online and local to your area, how to seek treatment.
4) Other suggestions and my comments in regards to how well they work.
I want to note at the outset that you have ALL the classic signs of
the medical condition known as "Delayed Sleep Phase" as outlined here:
Delayed sleep phase syndrome
..."Delayed sleep-phase syndrome (DSPS) is a chronic disorder of sleep
timing. People with DSPS tend to fall asleep at very late times, and
also have difficulty waking up in time for normal work, school, or
This is an excellent article, I strongly advise you read it in
entirety before you proceed, or, be sure to come back to it later.
This explanation is from Stanford:
Note, Delayed Sleep Phase is a name for a group of symptoms that
combined, from whatever cause, causes problems in peoples lives.
Treatments have been developed to cope with these symptoms. The first
step is to proclaim your condition, to move from denial to embracing
the concept of taking a journey to overcome a set of symptoms. This is
very liberating and I hope you do it soon. The second step is to begin
to seek medical treatment. You can do some things on your own, but
because it involves the most basic functions of sleeping and waking,
medical help is necessary. This is a medical condition, and although
experts have acknoledged this is difficult to treat, there is a
variety of treatments available, and based on interviews with your
specialist an individual treatment plan will be outlined. In most
cases a successful treatment will be found fairly quickly (a year, or
two at most). To facilitate this, you should begin to keep a "Sleep
Diary" as all sleep specialists ask you to maintain one. If you take
one in at the outset you will be ahead of the game.
Print and use this form:
National Sleep Foundation Sleep Diary
I Strongly advise you to Proclaim Your Condition:
Tell all your personal friends, family, co-workers, school friends,
instructors, --that you are seeking medical assistance for sleep
issues that are causing you problems. In the meantime, change as many
aspects of your life to accomodate the symptoms as you can. Don't live
in denial anymore. If folks are receptive, you can explain "delayed
sleep phase syndrome"
Delayed Sleep Phase
Carry around a copy of this as a cue card until you are familar and
comfortable with the lingo.
This will help you explain your condition in medical terms. Be
committed to seeking medical assistance to overcome this
condition--regardless of the source of it, and no matter what the
treatment requires. Depression and other causes will be ruled out
before an actual circadian rhythm disorder will be diagnosed.
Understand this is a journey, and will require commitment. If you do
commit to the journey there is a normal life down the road.
Dealing with this head on is very important. You don't have to hide it
anymore, life gets a lot easier after you proclaim your condition. The
more you talk about it the more avenues of treatment you will find
available to you. All of a sudden people are a bit more accepting
because you are seeking (and later being treated) for the condition.
Attempt at every turn to convert all your classes and appointments to
the afternoon. From now on, don't make any appointments in the
morning. When you are offered one, the standard reply should be:
..."Mornings do not work for me, when is your first available
Unfortunately, before you get in to see a qualified sleep specialist,
you need to continue to get up most mornings.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ HOW TO GET UP IN THE MORNING ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Preparations the night before:
1) Decide what you're going to wear and make it available.
2) Find your keys and any necessary paperwork you will need for the
day. Set them in the same location every evening.
3) Take showers at night in case you don't have time in the morning,
this will reduce stress in the morning.
4) Set all your alarms with precision, and double check them.
5) Develop a night/bedtime ritual. This will aid you in falling asleep
at the time you desire--allowing 8 hours to your wake-up time.
The 3 Alarm Method
You must use 3 alarm clocks for this to work. If you can forget in the
morning (I can) set all 3 clocks 10 minutes fast. Otherwise forget it,
use real time.
Alarm #1 - Set to 90 minutes before you want to get up.
Placement: Right next to your bed.
Preferably a digital snooze alarm with a big snooze button on the top.
Set this one to music that you can hear in the morning--but isn't so
loud as to cause you to shut it off. If you do, use the snooze. You
will get 4 snoozes before Alarm #2 starts:
Alarm #2 - Set to 50 minutes before you MUST get up.
Placement: Across the room.
Similar to the first, but set this to be the BUZZER noise that you
must hit snooze for to get another 9-10 minutes of blessed sleep. You
want this one loud enough to irriate you enough so that you get out of
bed every snooze length and shut it off. At this point, you will have
the Radio Alarm next to your bed going off AND the one across the
room. You will be disturbed constantly. If you don't get sick of it in
5 snoozes, here's the final call:
Alarm #3 - Set to the last friggin' minute. You MUST get up NOW.
Placement: Outside your bedroom door.
TYPE OF CLOCK: http://www432.pair.com/linton/hugg/twinclock.jpg
This is a WIND UP. The they are really obnoxious. They are unaffected
by power interuptions or outages.
When this goes off, you have to hurry to get ready to be on time.
There is NOT 10 minutes to spare. If you used all three alarms and
started 90 minutes ago, you will be out of bed turning this off before
it goes off.
Poor-Man's Light Box Therapy
...can be used with the 3 Alarm method as insurance.
Go to sleep with the drapes open (lights off). If necessary, rearrange
your bedroom so that the light will naturally hit your face as soon as
the sun rises and it will stay on your face as the time gets later.
This works because it naturally mimics the medical treatment with
powerful "Light Box Therapy." You will try this when under a Doctor's
If you can afford it, get one of these hats. When your alarm goes off,
put on the hat (turn it on!) and lay back down and wait for the light
to do it's magic:
Light Visors: Effective Portable Light Therapy
Combine it with a Dawn Simulator or similar Light Therapy product:
Sleep Centers of America, Inc.
900 36th Ave. NW, Ste. 200
Norman, OK 73072
Patient Care Center
Toll-Free: 1-866-40 SLEEP Fax: 1-866-60 SLEEP
This is a description of how to move your sleep phase around the
clock. This link shows a 2 week process using 3 hour intervals. I did
it nightly using 90 minute intervals. This DOES work, however if you
fail to maintain the final sleep phase (go off the schedule) even 2
months later, you risk reverting to the old pattern.
More Good Web Sites:
There's thousands more links here:
Other Methods and Suggestions
Melatonin - This will be effective in allowing your body to fall
asleep naturally at an earlier time, provided you have had enough
waking hours. It is not a sleeping pill of any sort and will not cause
you to become sleepy.
Melatonin for Treatment of Sleep Disorders
"Loving Kind Good Natured Helper" Method
AKA - ..."Love is....waking me up in the morning..." --A very good
friend/lover/etc takes the time, every morning, to get up an hour
before you need to be up. They make noise in the kitchen, make coffee,
turn on the bedroom light, turn on the TV or Radio, open the drapes,
then bring the coffee. you groan awake, and inwardly are thankful and
hope they don't go away. They keep talking, they ask questions like
that cause you to think of an answer like:
"where is the remote?"
"what time is your appointment?"
"do you know the time?"
...they turn on the shower and tell you if you don't hurry the water
will be cold. These types of individuals are called Angels and are one
in a million. If you find one, marry him/her immediately for all your
problems are over.
"Man's Best Friend" Method
There are many benefits to owning a dog. Counting on a K-9 alarm may
work for some, but I own two chihuahuas that literally whine for me to
get back IN bed. Use this method with caution as I find it even harder
to get out of bed with my two little snugglers beside me!
Frozen marbles work wonders, and unlike ice cubes, they are dry. I
used to keep a margerine container full of them. If all else failed,
my kids would quietly sneak in (giggling) -- lift the covers and throw
them in on both sides of me. They definitely get your attention.
Bumper Sticker & T-Shirts proclaiming: I DON'T DO MORNINGS!
"Norman, Oklahoma" "sleep disorders"
In closing, I hope you feel better about your sleep/waking problem!
You've learned a lot in one day, --now, take action! If I can be of
further assistance, please don't hesitate to ask for "Clarification"
before rating my Answer --I'll be happy to help further. And because
this is a topic I am passionate about, would you mind coming back and
letting me know how you are doing from time to time? The question will
continue to accept "Comments" and "Clarifications" for one year. I
would love to hear what happenes to you.
Personal experience and bookmarks.