Do you respect your biological clock?

Folk

Well-Known Member
First of all let me state clear that I don't understand much about the subject (but then again, I don't think anyone does more than guess)

It's been years now that I am sleepy as hell arround 7-10 pm (depending on the hour I woke up) and if I sleep that will last 2-3 hours maximum and then I wake up. And gotta say, I wake up pretty refreshed but then I spend up all night.

That said, I used to sleep arround 4-5 Am, then 5-6 now i'm getting to 6-7-8 sometimes. I notice that I sleep a LOT better after at leas 5.
If i try going to sleep like 4am I'll probably wake up at 10, and several other times until something like 2 in the afternoon.

I really don't know why, or if that can be fixed. I know that I don't feel sleepy at all from 12Am on.

I don't know if that's just how my biological clock works, but that really disrupts a daily routine. I don't know also if you should respect or correct that. But when I get past 6Am I feel like it was too much.

And yes all that with different kinds of medicines (klonazepan and ambien mostly)

What's your take on that?
 

Who Me?

Well-Known Member
i was confused when you said biological clock. I had always heard that used in terms of the women having babies.

Do you mean Circadian rhythms? I think there is another term but the time change has my brain addled.
 

Folk

Well-Known Member
i was confused when you said biological clock. I had always heard that used in terms of the women having babies.

Do you mean Circadian rhythms? I think there is another term but the time change has my brain addled.
Yes Cicardian Rythms!
 

weyland

Well-Known Member
Here is my limited understanding of the topic. There are (at least) two mechanisms that determine when you sleep. One is called homeostatic sleep pressure. This basically means the longer you are awake, the more sleepy you get, probably due to the build up of metabolic byproducts such as adenosine which are cleared out during sleep. The other mechanism is called circadian sleep pressure and this is controlled by a tiny region of the hypothalamus called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). This part of the brain uses external cues (called zeitgebers) to tell the body when it should be sleepy or awake, via release of hormones such as melatonin orexin etc. The primary cue is exposure to light or dark. So the best time to try to go to sleep is when you have both the highest level of homeostatic sleep pressure and when your hypothalamus believes you should be asleep. Sometimes these don't always line up, like when you feel sleepy at 7-10pm but then wake up after a few hours.

It's been pretty well established that there is disruption in the hypothalamus of ME patients. For whatever reason, this disruption causes the SCN to seem to lose entrainment with external cues and often the circadian sleep window will move to 4, 5, or 6am.

As far as what you can do to fix it, I'm not really sure. You can blunt the effects of homeostatic sleep pressure with caffeine and you can force sleep with medications, but I'm not sure how easy it is to adjust the circadian rhythm if the hypothalamus is broken. You could try wearing blue blocker glasses at night and try bright light exposure in the morning. It might take several days for this to work though because the brain doesn't adjust very rapidly to changing cues (hence why we get jet lagged for several days when traveling across time zones.)

Personally I've not tried to make any changes to my natural (now broken) rhythm. For a while my cycle started at 5am, then after starting amantadine it moved to 3am, now after daylight saving time started it moved to 4am. I just kind of go with the flow and this allows me to get the best sleep possible, even if I'm out of sync with the rest of society (not that it matters since I'm housebound anyways.)
 

Sue Stevenson

Active Member
Hi weyland. There's something called Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome which sounds like what your body's doing. Our bodies actually run to a 24 hour cycle but a properly functioning body manages to deal with that extra hour. Then there's the rest of us. Some people's bodies will proceed forward every night, like you, and could effectively work themselves right around the clock.

There are ways to manage a recalcitrant body clock, like melatonin (the right dose is important and needs to be experimented with to find the right dose). Light therapy needs to be done in the few hours after awakening or else it will push the cycle forward.

I've never cycled tbrough the hours but my body regularly settles into sleep at 2am. I did manage with great discipline and with melatonin early in the evening to sleep at 10pm for a few weeks there. That was nothing short of a miracle. But it's hard to sustain, I get slack and want to stay up later because I feel calmer late at night.

And of course with ME/CFS it makes it all much harder. I'm jealous of people who naturally wake in the dark and get to see the sunrise. What a way to start a day.
 

weyland

Well-Known Member
Hi weyland. There's something called Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome which sounds like what your body's doing.
Yes, that's essentially the same thing that's happening.

I'm not really keen on using melatonin since most of the available supplemental doses are supraphysiological. There is also actually some research that has shown that melatonin and light therapy aren't helpful for us.

In 2002 a study by Williams et al found that neither melatonin nor phototherapy (light therapy) were effective for CFS. The authors stated: ‘Neither intervention showed any significant effect on any of the principal symptoms or on general measures of physical or mental health. Compared with placebo, neither body temperature rhythm nor onset of melatonin secretion was significantly altered by either treatment...’ Williams, G. et al, Eur J Clin Invest 2002 Nov; 32(11): 831-837.

In ME the hypothalamus gland is dysfunctional, disturbing circadian rhythm (day/night sleep/wake patterns). The pineal gland, which produces melatonin, appears unaffected. Treatment with melatonin is therefore unlikely to produce results and there are potential hormonal side-effects.
Source
 

Cort

Founder of Health Rising and Phoenix Rising
Staff member
First of all let me state clear that I don't understand much about the subject (but then again, I don't think anyone does more than guess)

It's been years now that I am sleepy as hell arround 7-10 pm (depending on the hour I woke up) and if I sleep that will last 2-3 hours maximum and then I wake up. And gotta say, I wake up pretty refreshed but then I spend up all night.

That said, I used to sleep arround 4-5 Am, then 5-6 now i'm getting to 6-7-8 sometimes. I notice that I sleep a LOT better after at leas 5.
If i try going to sleep like 4am I'll probably wake up at 10, and several other times until something like 2 in the afternoon.

I really don't know why, or if that can be fixed. I know that I don't feel sleepy at all from 12Am on.

I don't know if that's just how my biological clock works, but that really disrupts a daily routine. I don't know also if you should respect or correct that. But when I get past 6Am I feel like it was too much.

And yes all that with different kinds of medicines (klonazepan and ambien mostly)

What's your take on that?
My take is that I'm glad I don't have your biological clock! I don't think Rich Carson would mind my stating that his clock is similar to yours.

I think if you could find a way to shift it that would be good. That said, I don't know how to do that.

Mine is shifted a bit later - I usually go to sleep around midnight or later; the problem is that I almost invariably wake up before daylight.

I'm working on getting more naps (lol)
 

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