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Even the tiny amount of melatonin I take heightens light sensitivity, to the point where I have to cover up laptop lights etc. to get to sleep now. And I reliably wake sometime in the hour after dawn, so sleeping in doesn't really happen (in the summer anyway).

Not a major problem - if I want more sleep I can just go to bed earlier or not take the melatonin. Latter course keeps me up a bit later, of course.

Real exercise is hard to make time for while primary-caregiving but otherwise my life is much more organized and healthful now. Melatonin made it possible. In part by making regularized (not binge) tea intake possible.
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I need some kind of daylight-based life coach. I don't know how to manage properly, what one can or should do with a day.

Maybe I could pay someone to let me follow them around between sunup and sundown.
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Update for co-sufferers:

Melatonin's still working like magic. I haven't messed with the dose yet - still taking 0.5 mg (instant release) at 7 pm, falling asleep between 9 and 11. Basically falling asleep when I feel like it, in that range, which is a novelty.

The sleep's completely restful, was broken just a bit in the first few days and not since. I wake 8-10 hours after falling asleep.

I've missed doses a couple times, and fallen asleep between 11 and 1 on those nights. It's all back to normal the next time I take it properly.

I'm too drowsy in between taking it and sleeping to want to do anything intense. I did watch Stalker on it, broken up over two nights, and didn't have trouble following anything. I'm not dumb but definitely sleepy - drove on it once, which was frightening but worked out okay. I'll avoid repeating that unless it's truly necessary though.

You feel it come down like a pleasant veil about 10-15 minutes after taking it. No side effects that I've yet noticed.

When/if it's kept its mojo for a whole month I think I'll try cutting the strips even smaller. Studies say 0.2 seems to work fine, and might keep me sharper evenings. The brand I've been using costs a few dollars for 15 strips, which I've been cutting into sixths. If I can find a way to accurately chop them into fifteenths each container will last me 8 months (7.5 plus some inevitable missed days).

If I need to be a night person for writing or whatever I still can, it seems. The reversibility's oddly comforting.

I haven't tried combining it with light therapy or the orange glasses. And probably won't bother unless I start building tolerance.
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Predictable emotions of the week:

1. Bemusement: this is happening?

2. Chagrin: why hadn't I been up on this before?

3. Apprehension: how long can it last?

4. Disappointment: where's the mindset, skills, habits to get tons of things done? Surely all that should be included free?

5. Nostalgia: is my whole mad first life gone?

6. Terror: what if it's what kept me me?

7. Boredom: where's the crises and upheavals?

8. Novelty: how different all this sameness is!

9. Empowerment: I seldom think "I can't..."

10. Trust: the sun will rise tomorrow, not tonight.
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It's worked for a whole week.
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Sleep news:

Finally got my documentation in order and had my study Wednesday night. The questionnaire was all directed at sleep apnea, which I don't think I have and wouldn't care nearly as much if I did - I'm sure it sucks but it's not really in the same league. The Francophone technician had never heard of phase problems, got suspicious and annoyed at my conditional answers to all the questions (did I ever feel tired driving, like napping at midday, like I had poor concentration etc.), finally exclaiming, "For everytheeng eet's sometheeng, no?" The study itself was miserable due to the restricted mobility and painful drag of the medusa wig of electrodes, especially behind my ears. I hope they got something out of the tiny amounts of sleep I had, though I'm not sure if that of Non-24s even looks different from normal electric activity.

Because I've decided I have either really mild Non-24 or really extreme Delayed Phase (really mild Non-24 being slightly worse than the worst Delayed Phase). It's hard to tell the difference because a late enough natural "night owl" phase, where your body wants to sleep between 5 am and 1 pm for instance, isn't something you can reconcile with a job, SO, school, or especially a kid - you simply don't get to go to sleep at those times, so you're going to go forward, and be underslept, about as regularly as any non-24 who's trying to keep a toehold in human society. Main difference is Delayed Phase will give you some reliably alert periods - there's a circadian rhythm your body's at least trying for. But it's hard for me to compare morning and afternoon wakings, since I'm only doing the latter when making a concerted effort to correct ahead till I hit something viable.

I'm at least sure I don't have pronounced Non-24: some people go ahead 2-5 hours a "night" without trying at all and carry on whatever marginal existence that entails. I must either go forward a small amount or (as I've been assuming) just happen to be kept awake by this or that life event regularly enough that, since I can never sleep earlier than I had the previous night, my average advance is 24 or 25 minutes a night.

My GP is fishing around for a specialist to send the results to - not sure if that means they came back weird or she just doesn't diagnose stuff like this.

I'd been holding off experimenting with lights or melatonin so I could hand over recent logs of sleep and waking times, but I figure I have enough data now so I looked around town for low dose melatonin after the study. There isn't any, but it turns out Canadian Walmart does stock it as tongue-dissolved strips, so I bought those and cut them into slivers, approximating half an mg each. Allegedly if you take tiny amounts at just the right part of your temperature curve you can move your bedtime earlier; they successfully use this method to entrain certain kinds of blind people, whose lack of sunlight cues makes them Non-24. Tried this twice - the first time did nothing but make me very groggy.

But then last night I took .5 at 7 pm and instead of sleeping at 11 I passed out at 10:30. (For nine hours, says Julie.) Three and a half hours of pleasant stupidity is a very small price to pay if I can replicate that! That's a whole new life is what that is. And maybe I can find a maintaining dose at sub-imbecile levels!

Main worry is that last night was a fluke and I was just making up lost sleep from the study night. But it's not stopping my mind from racing ahead into what it might mean if I wasn't.
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9:30 to 6:30. Sweet sweet sweet.
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Woke 12:30, after my second 8+ hour sleep in a row, somewhat unsettled by the really annoyingly loud leader of the tribe of children that runs about among the backyards here. But I seem to be past nightmares, though not past a glazed feeling when awake.

If I manage to push ahead an hour a day I'll be up at 5:30 next Monday, 8:30, my approximate goal, by Thursday. But I'm not seeing much of my wife this way. Anyway I won't be done with stuff till c. 6 pm tonight. Also I should probably eschew predictions at this point and just sleep whenever I'm tired. Become a human before worrying about functioning as one.

Internet's telling me it's almost time for Roth's annual snubbing. Which is good because I hear he's totally a sexist.
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Various things went wrong with the plan and long story short I just woke at 11:30 pm. But at least I got some sleep first for once. This actually isn't too bad because I'll be well-positioned to start a Bolero-paced, sensible redo after my Wednesday class, which I won't even be that tired for. A lot of wasted effort and unpleasantness, but what are you going to do. All life is sunk cost. Some bits just sink deeper.
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Half as much sleep makes me ten times as stupid, and I've been averaging half lately, weeknights. Weekends I sleep too much, and that makes for another, though rather different, flavor of stupid.

Also I give much, much less of a damn. The lack of sufficient damn also makes good or complete thoughts scarce. Time management still feels like death to me, but clearly the feeling is preferable to the real thing, doled out in bits when I don't have some realistic acceptance of the lifestyle I've chosen.

Everything's less good and interesting, when you're tired. All thrills are gagged with tea towels. Even pain is kind of boring.

I write these things that I might remember them.


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