Is Wikipedia useful? I’ll sleep on it.

Back in the mid-80s when I was unemployed and single, I used to have the following sleep pattern:

  • Stay awake to 5am (listening to Swansea Sound as Radio 1 had closed down at midnight)
  • Go to sleep
  • Wake up late morning (when I would check if there was any post)
  • Go back to sleep
  • Wake up again around 2pm

Given the chance, such as on weekends and holidays, I’ll do the same thing now (especially if there’s a good game on the Xbox that needs a serious investment in time).

After browsing some Guardian website articles, I started reading the Wikipedia page on “Delayed sleep phase syndrome”:

People with DSPS generally fall asleep some hours after midnight and have difficulty waking up in the morning.

Often, people with the disorder report that they cannot sleep until early morning, but fall asleep at about the same time every “night”. Unless they have another sleep disorder such as sleep apnea in addition to DSPS, patients can sleep well and have a normal need for sleep. Therefore, they find it very difficult to wake up in time for a typical school or work day. If, however, they are allowed to follow their own schedules, e.g. sleeping from 4 a.m. to noon, they sleep soundly, awaken spontaneously, and do not experience excessive daytime sleepiness.

They feel most alert and say they function best and are most creative in the evening and at night

Apparently this affects 1 or 2 people in every 1,000 so not particularly rare.

Of course, it’s possible to review 1,000s of syndromes and say “look, that’s me” by picking up the aspects that match and ignoring any that don’t. An alternative view would be that I feel a need to stay up later because I’m not (in my own opinion) achieving enough during the day and that if I set more realistic goals for myself that it would no longer be an issue.

It is an interesting article, though, and I’ll have to look into it a bit more to see if it can help me bring myself more in line with the rest of my family. May even one day be able to get up in time to have breakfast!

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