I know that ideally early to bed early to rise catches the early worm or however the story goes is optimal and also a big part of paleo, but Ive ALWAYS had an extraordinary ability to stay awake and a stubborn inability to fall asleep quickly -no matter how hard I try. This goes way back. As a child at holiday gatherings all the other kiddies would be crashed out and id always be the last one standing-wide awake. Also we never got to sleep before 11:30-12:00 in my family-even on school nights. This did end up having deleterious effects on my health at certain points in my life (when stressed and unable to rest mind with bad insomnia ='d bad sleep deprivation symptoms and mental health suffered. These days I still struggle with falling asleep and take melatonin off and on to help. I also started supplementing with magnesium (Natural calm) Im still never asleep any earlier than 12am-1am.
Question(s) - so if your getting a solid 7-8 hours sleep does it matter if its 3am -10 am or is it inherently healthier to be from 10 pm- to 5am ? Is it really that bad to be getting to sleep so late-or are some of us just more inclined to do so by nature>? Whats your take on the importance of sleep schedules.? have you cured your night owlism..if so how? Do you even feel you need/want to?
???"The bed is a bundle of paradoxes: we go to it with reluctance, yet we quit it with regret; we make up our minds every night to leave it early, but we make up our bodies every morning to keep it late." - Charles Caleb Colton
kk..off to pop a melo and drink up my magnesium.. sweet dreams- :)
asked bymaryDeeeeeee (2097)
Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!
on March 15, 2013
at 02:03 PM
It definitely matters where you get your sleep. You want to match up with your circadian rhythm. For the VAST majority of people (I've seen estimates between 98% and 99.8% of the population) the primary time-frame for restorative sleep is at night time sleep. People with circadian disorders (also called Circadian Shifts).
You can minimize the affect by using proper recuperative sleep opportunities (naps) and things like bright light therapy, but over time it is not beneficial.
Could you be part of the 2% (or 0.02%)? Maybe. I would try turning off all lights (including the TV and computer) except candles at 9pm every night and reading for an hour. If you do that for a week and are still struggling to go to bed early, then take advantage of it!
on March 15, 2013
at 12:51 PM
Good article! I think there are many layers to this question. Are you ingesting too much caffeine? Is your cortisol out of whack? Do you have stress? If the answer to these (and probably others) is no, then you probably are a natural night owl.
In my immediate experience (not really n=1, maybe n=10!) circadian rhythms seem to have a strong age component and an individual component. I homeschool my kids, so they are allowed to stick to their natural rhythm. Two of mine are early risers (6 am naturally) and early to bed (by 8 pm). One is in the middle (bed by 10pm, up by 8am).
And one is an extreme night owl. A switch flips at about 9 pm, and she gets her most creative and productive. She usually falls asleep by midnight, and wakes up between 9-10 am. She is also 13, and the teen years (and young adult years) tend to exacerbate the night owl. Can't remember where I read it, but there is some thought that paleolithic teens were the "night watch" and most teens have a biological tendency to stay up late.
However, my husband is also this way. He comes home from work and takes a short nap, then gears up at 9 pm to work until midnight or later. I am the opposite. I like to be in bed by 9:00 and up by 6. My best work hours are early morning.
I say embrace it. Don't fight your natural instinct - figure out ways to make it work!
on March 26, 2013
at 09:50 AM
Sleep is obviously a very personal issue. Some people sleep for 8-10 hours a night and wake up exhausted while others function better on 3-4. Every person has a unique biochemistry and worrying about a "cure" is probably not the ideal way to look at it. If you can't sleep at night then adjust your life to fit when you can.
When I hit puberty I went from a normal sleep schedule to prolonged bouts of insomnia - not stress related, not caffeine related, not any outside stimuli. Just couldn't sleep. Nearly two decades later I'm completely used to it. I've worked evening/overnight jobs since I was a teenager.
Instead of trying to fight what your body is telling you it needs just go with the flow.
on March 26, 2013
at 12:07 AM
Yes I personally have "cured" my night-owlism. I made some changes based on How to Become a Morning Person and within a few weeks I was going to bed by 11pm and waking up at 7am (this might not sound impressive to a natural "morning person" but for me it was a huge improvement).
Some people have circadian rhythms that are more sensitive to manipulation by light fluctuations, and modern life provides lots of ways to accidentally reset your sleep cycle. Being inside all day means you may never get enough bright light during the day, and staring at a blue screen of a TV or computer at night sends the message "it's daytime!" to your brain.
If you are sensitive to light cues, to cure night-owlism you need to do 2 things:
- Get bright blue light in the morning
- Get only low red light in the evening, or darkness
You can test this hypothesis like I did, by trying a few suggestions from the article and seeing if you see any improvements. An easy first step is to install f.lux (a free program that automatically turns your computer monitor redder as the sun sets. I found that with it installed, I would actually get tired at night while on the computer. The next step I did was to make sure I opened my window blinds in the morning and turned on the bright overhead light as I was getting ready. Eventually I bought a lamp timer and a 2800 lumens full-spectrum bulb, and now that wakes me up instead of an alarm.