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F-ed up circadian rhythms! (and other sleep disorders)


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Quote from the wiki: "A number of other disorders, for example bipolar disorder and some sleep disorders, are associated with irregular or pathological functioning of circadian rhythms. Recent research suggests that circadian rhythm disturbances found in bipolar disorder are positively influenced by lithium's effect on clock genes."

"Circadian rhythm sleep disorders are a family of sleep disorders affecting, among other things, the timing of sleep. People with circadian rhythm sleep disorders are unable to sleep and wake at the times required for normal work, school, and social needs. They are generally able to get enough sleep if allowed to sleep and wake at the times dictated by their body clocks. Unless they also have another sleep disorder, their sleep is of normal quality."

 

Anyone else have experience with these? These are different from hypersomnia and insomnia.

Basically my circadian rhythm is not 24 hours, it's 27 hours - 12h sleep, 15h awake. Meaning, if i let my body do it's thing, i wake up 3 hours later every day. It's super hard to manage - in 4 days my sleep schedule is 12 hours off, meaning if i start the week really great - wake up at 7 AM on a Sunday, then by Thursday i wake up at 7 PM and have no hope of managing school or having a social life. I have tracked my sleep for about 5 months and in the summer, when i was able to sleep by my natural rhythm, the pattern was very clear. I have no idea how to manage this because i also have insomnia due to anxiety caused by missing school. My original plan was to wake up at 6 AM on school days (Mon, Tue, Thu) and at 8 AM on my off days (Wed, Fri, Sat, Sun). It's impossible for me to get up with less than 8h sleep (and if i do, i will have to sleep more than 12h the next night to balace it off) and i have no control over when i go to bed. Alarm clocks don't work, (i have tried so many, where you have to shake it to turn if off, solve math problems, take a picture of a certain thing etc, but i realised that i can take the battery out, it's like i'm an evil version of myself in the morning who purposefully fucks up any chance of being awake at normal hours, ugh), people waking me up doesn't work (i get abusive and very angry, i'll do anything for them to leave me alone). So the idea was to wake up as early as possible, so i always get enough sleep on a school night. But it doesn't work because of insomnia. My doctor perscribed me sleeping pills, but this is a short-term solution as you can take Ambien for 4 weeks max because you build tolerance. I only take them when school depends on it, because then you don't build tolerance as quickly, but they don't always work, my anxiety overrides the effects. I'm out of ideas. Going to bed at 10 PM every night would still mean not having a social life and that's important to me because right now i go out once every 3 months and basically have no friends. I also can't relax or have fun because i feel anxiety for "wasting" time not studying and i feel even more anxious WHILE studying, so i really need to learn how to take time off and how to live without constantly feeling like a failiure when i'm not being productive. (I also do this fun thing with my seroquel - when my sleep cycle is totally off - i.e. i wake up at 7 PM, i don't take my seroquel which induces insomnia, stay up for 24 hours, go to bed at 7PM and then sleep for 24 hours, wake up at 7 PM, don't take seroquel, stay up for 24 hours, go to bed at 7PM, sleep for 24 hours, wake up at 7 PM etc. Even desperately making myself be awake for so long just so i can go to bed at a normal time backfires, haha). HELP Is there anything i can do? Any ideas of what i should try? I will probably have to do a special deal with my school so i can go and do tests and exams when i can and not worry about attendance for a while... i don't know.

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Circadian Genes and Bipolar Disorder

Influence of sleep-wake and circadian rhythm disturbances in psychiatric disorders

Sleep and Circadian Rhythms in Bipolar Disorder: Seeking Synchrony, Harmony, and Regulation

Looks like the smart money is on "yes."

I know from experience that my worst single trigger is having my sleeping habits suddenly messed about...I have often thought that bipolar disorder was somehow a malfuntion of my body's ability to process time. That's sort of how it feels to me.

 
I found this from a different thread, will read up later.
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Have you had a sleep study?  Have you seen a sleep specialist?

I haven't discussed this with my pdoc, no. What would be the purpose of the study? 

 

 

The purpose of the study would be to see if there might be something (whatever it may be) that would be causing the sleeping patterns you have.  It is only a one night study but maybe there is something that hasn't come to light yet that is causing it.  And if so, maybe there is a treatment that can get you on a 24 hour sleep schedule.

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I have a circadian rhythm sleep disorder. DSPS or non-24hr. I take 15mg of Remeron each night at 9 or 10PM. It works. I sleep, and I can get up at 7AM if I have to. 

 

There are lots of sleep hygiene things that are relevant to circadian rhythm disorders. Try to get lots of sunlight in the morning and avoid light as much as possible in the evening. If you are in the northern hemisphere, it may help to use a lightbox in the morning during the darker months. 

 

Seeing a sleep specialist for a thorough assessment and diagnosis would be wise, too.

Edited by mcjimjam
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I have a circadian rhythm sleep disorder. DSPS or non-24hr. I take 15mg of Remeron each night at 9 or 10PM. It works. I sleep, and I can get up at 7AM if I have to. 

 

There are lots of sleep hygiene things that are relevant to circadian rhythm disorders. Try to get lots of sunlight in the morning and avoid light as much as possible in the evening. If you are in the northern hemisphere, it may help to use a lightbox in the morning during the darker months. 

 

Seeing a sleep specialist for a thorough assessment and diagnosis would be wise, too.

Yeah, i've found that lots of things help with falling aleep, but it's still overall pretty unmanageable. I do live in a place where recently we have been getting 6 months of snow a year and about 3 hours sunlight at the darkest time, right now it gets dark at about 5 PM, so we get about 5 hours "sun"light (mostly gray clouds). But i have migraines that cause sensitivity to light and it's also one of my triggers, so i can't look at bright lights. Is that how lightboxes work? Do you have stare into them? :D

 

 

Have you had a sleep study?  Have you seen a sleep specialist?

I haven't discussed this with my pdoc, no. What would be the purpose of the study? 

 

 

The purpose of the study would be to see if there might be something (whatever it may be) that would be causing the sleeping patterns you have.  It is only a one night study but maybe there is something that hasn't come to light yet that is causing it.  And if so, maybe there is a treatment that can get you on a 24 hour sleep schedule.

 

I haven't really thought about seeing a sleep specialist, as psychiatrists deal with sleep disorders a lot - almost everybody but me took sleeping pills in the hospital i stayed at, and it seems like something the psychiatrists manage themselves. I looked into it, and the sleep disorders part of the hospital in Tallinn doesn't  mention circadian rhythms, just sleep apnea and other breathing disorders, plus you need to have an Epworth sleepiness scale score of over 10 to do the sleep study - i don't experience daytime sleepiness or fatigue when i've had a normal night's sleep, so they wouldn't do the study on me. There is a sleep disorders centre as part of the psychiatric hospital in Tartu (200km away), but i would still need to convince my pdoc to refer me (it's pretty hard for me to even get her to pay attention, she's overworked and always has like a thousand things on her mind, haha). I'll discuss seeing a sleep specialist the next time i see her, thank you.

Edited by Antlers
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I'll try to take the sleeping pill for a week straight, 9PM on Mon, Tue and Thu, 11PM on Wed, Fri, Sat, Sun. Maybe it'll stick and i'll naturally fall asleep after that? :D I also got a tdoc appointment to help me with my anxiety and panic attacks, that should help with the insomnia. I just have stick to a very strict sleep routine even after i stop taking the sleeping pills. I guess there isn't some new magic fix for all this, just have to try the same thing again until i succeed? :D 

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I've been going through this my while life, ever since i started kindergarten. My mom always said it was just me being stubborn. I actually feel more energized when it's dark. I used tell people it was cause I am a vampire. Lol i still can't figure out how to fix it.

Edited for typos.

Edited by panda90
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You don't have to stare directly into the lightbox. I believe it has to be in your peripheral vision. For example you could be using your laptop and have the light box next to it.

I haven't actually used one. They're not common here in Australia. I'm not sure whether it would trigger your migraine. Probably. When I get bad headaches any sort of light seems to have it worse.

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