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.