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Why would one feel most awake after dark, and become extremely hungry/tired right around daybreak or after sunrise? (Help! I seem to only function well for the 8-12 hours of darkness.)

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 06, 2013 at 12:27 PM

I currently feel most alive around 7:00 - 8:00 p.m., when the sky turns dark.

Sunrise, in summer, is currently around 5:30 - 5;45 a.m.?? Sometime before, or slightly after that, I sense a temperature drop. Sometime around then, my energy is extremely tired, I feel starving (even if I just ate), and sleep by 7:00-8:00 a.m. is pretty much mandatory, lest I stumble into a car in the street.

This reaction appears to occur regardless of how much sleep I have had (although I am unsure about waking up right then -- I believe that, when I do, I wake up exhausted/tired/starving and needing to sleep more.)

Edit: Eating more can often sustain me for a little while, but I inevitably need to sleep soon afterward. Occasionally, an early morning walk (when it is still cool and blueish out) or a later-morning walk (when the sun is warm and the sky yellow-white) have made me feel more awake, but I have not stayed out long enough to test whether I could stay awake.]

I am often awake during the nights only, though my schedule is very free. It has been like this since (often being awake during the nights) around October of 2011, with spurts of months of waking in the day and sleeping at night, or varying sleep durations/times, especially when working in little to no sunlight in the first winter. Sometimes (often until recently) I have gotten little sunlight, and the drapes are mostly closed save for two smaller windows, but the blueish light of daybreak or after-dawn is clearly visible through them.

Somehow, I suspect the blueish light and/or temperature drop have something to do with my odd reaction.??

I usually feel better around 2:00-3:00 p.m., and sometimes as early as 12:00.

I also seem to experience this slightly less when not under any stresses but do still seem to feel tired/hungry/unclear/needing to sleep around this time regardless.

Has something happened to my circadian rhythm or hormones?

Why do I often feel like I have about 8-12 hours in my day at most?

[Edit: I will, hopefully, be going out around noon more often to readapt to sunlight properly and produce more Vitamin D. But, I have not undertaken this regularly yet.

However, any insights would be greatly appreciated, as it is rather inconvenient and ineffective to have my energy levels tank at the beginning of daybreak and not fully recover until night time.]

7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on August 08, 2013
at 05:23 PM

Artificial light suppresses melatonin production. Continued exposure makes the whole system haywire. We normally have a cortisol rise that wakes us in the morning, for instance. Sounds like you are very out of sync. I try to avoid screens after dark- I wish there were more e-ink screen devices (cell phones, laptops). Here are a few posts on Vitamin D in the morning:http://blog.sethroberts.net/category/sleep/vitamin-d3-and-sleep/ In my experience, it definitely does help regularize your nighttime sleeping.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on August 08, 2013
at 10:37 AM

Well, high night time cortisol will affect sleep, and lack of sleep will cause insulin resistance, so there are big problems that can arise from failing to fix this. Try to sneak out of work the way smokers do every 15 minutes when it's sunny and get a bit of sun. Indoor light is very weak compared to sunlight. In terms of adrenal support, it depends on how far gone off the rails you are - if you've exhausted your adrenals, you need it; if you just have inverted your cortisol pattern due to modern living and the glands are ok, you can fix this without it. ASI test will tell you.

1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

(529)

on August 07, 2013
at 08:02 PM

Wrong link - my apologies. - http://gettingstronger.org/wp-content/plugins/wordpress-toolbar/toolbar.php?wptbto=http%3A%2F%2Fgettingstronger.org%2F2013%2F02%2Fan-alternative-to-vitamin-d-supplements%2F&wptbhash=aHR0cDovL2dldHRpbmdzdHJvbmdlci5vcmcvMjAxMi8xMS93aHktaS1kb250LXRha2Utdml0YW1pbi1kLXN1cHBsZW1lbnRzLzx3cHRiPldoeSBJIGRvbiYjODIxNzt0IHRha2Ugdml0YW1pbiBEIHN1cHBsZW1lbnRzPHdwdGI%2BaHR0cDovL2dldHRpbmdzdHJvbmdlci5vcmc8d3B0Yj5HZXR0aW5nIFN0cm9uZ2Vy

1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

(529)

on August 07, 2013
at 07:56 PM

Ah, I'm curious - I've been wary of D3 supplementation after reading this article: http://gettingstronger.org/wp-content/plugins/wordpress-toolbar/toolbar.php?wptbto=http%3A%2F%2Fgettingstronger.org%2F2013%2F02%2Fan-alternative-to-vitamin-d-supplements%2F&wptbhash=aHR0cDovL2dldHRpbmdzdHJvbmdlci5vcmcvMjAxMi8xMS93aHktaS1kb250LXRha2Utdml0YW1pbi1kLXN1cHBsZW1lbnRzLzx3cHRiPldoeSBJIGRvbiYjODIxNzt0IHRha2Ugdml0YW1pbiBEIHN1cHBsZW1lbnRzPHdwdGI%2BaHR0cDovL2dldHRpbmdzdHJvbmdlci5vcmc8d3B0Yj5HZXR0aW5nIFN0cm9uZ2Vy , and figuring sunlight exposure would be enough for the moment in summer. Thoughts?

1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

(529)

on August 07, 2013
at 07:51 PM

Hm, the camping sounds useful. I haven't done that in a while, and moving back out into the wilderness - at least for a while - sounds quite wonderful. I might try this. // Taking brief walks at various times of day was an idea I'd been toying with and also seems quite potentially useful. :-) // // As mentioned in various comments (though not in the original above question - will edit some, perhaps), the main concern is overall health and longevity prognosis (and "debilitating hunger/exhaustion/weakness around dawn perhaps being indicative of some worrying systemic weakness).

1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

(529)

on August 07, 2013
at 07:40 PM

-- elaboration into artificial lighting & its effects or excess blue light? (I do often "study" much on a laptop or similar device when not in front of something physically, although I've been noticing adverse effects on my feeling healthy with that also, and considering rearranging to brief bursts of 5-15 minutes with computer/tablet, with much physical movement and reorientation with the world.) (Save for that, there is also fairly constant artificial lighting inside which could easily be turned off/on at various times of day instead.)

1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

(529)

on August 07, 2013
at 07:33 PM

-- elaboration into artificial lighting & it's effects or excess blue light?

1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

(529)

on August 07, 2013
at 07:31 PM

Hmm. Fascinating . I have the good fortune of not having experienced any of the above items (I have heard and seen many unfortunate things about the "world", though.), except perhaps for the artificial light overexposure or blue light exposure. (I also have almost always found night slightly preferable to daylight, so on my very free schedule for the past years have drifted towards simply being awake at nights.) (But the dawn/morning daylight sensitivity/weakness is somewhat problematic in overall being healthy. And, in summer, in being efficient/effective in pursuing my life.) Any further --

1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

(529)

on August 07, 2013
at 07:21 PM

(Ah, right -- save for odd hours and sleep durations/times, I've never consumed caffeine much in my life (tea at various occasions, and perhaps less than 16 fl. oz. of coffee ever). I'm curious - would this still make adrenal support efforts a large concern? I've read adrenal support being a large factor in recommendations for many sundry things hormone related but not researched/seen why yet.)

1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

(529)

on August 07, 2013
at 07:13 PM

I had heard of / read of some interesting things regarding darkness/light readjustment but never looked into it deeply. Apart from it being inconvenient, are there any potential problems/indicators on longevity or overall health maintenance from having an inverted cortisol/melatonin pattern (assuming this is what it is)? Inconvenience is not necessarily too bad, especially with afternoons seeming better as I'm being more vital again, but bad health (such as the "debilitating exhaustion/hunger/weakness" maybe being indicative of an overall systemic weakness) or bad health prospects would be.

1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

(529)

on August 07, 2013
at 07:05 PM

Fascinating -- this sounds very potentially useful -- I will look into it. Since being more active during the day, I've noticed I'm much clearer and more awake after 11:00a.m.-2:00p.m., when it becomes very hot and bright outside. So, it's now merely the ~6:00a.m.-9:30a.m. period which is "debilitatingly exhausting" feeling, and I feel mostly fine after dawn/morning fades. Odd.

Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on August 06, 2013
at 03:00 PM

I had similar concerns -- didn't really care about "when I got to bed", but I did miss sunlight and people. ;-) I made it pretty simple: I made a point to at least lie in bed if not be asleep 1/2 hour earlier every day for a week than the week before. I also made an effort to reduce any food consumption near bed time.

1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

(529)

on August 06, 2013
at 02:19 PM

**window in summer at the moment in which I definitely feel exhausted.

1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

(529)

on August 06, 2013
at 02:17 PM

*similar body temperature responses

1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

(529)

on August 06, 2013
at 02:17 PM

Returning fron glancing at researching - the regulation in body temperatures definitely seems to fit, though I have no trouble sleeping at any desired time; it's simply the 6:00-11:00 (often 6:40-10:45) window in summer at the moment. // I'm curious as to what you did to correct, if it was anything beyond readjusting sleep times (which could be fairly simple), and whether you had similar body temperat. I don't mind having an unusual schedule per se but am more worried about potential long-term effects on longevity or healthy longevity and sunlight/light sensitivity having been dysregulated.

1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

(529)

on August 06, 2013
at 02:02 PM

Fascinating. I suspected as much but did not know of the phenomena by its name. Will research this more.

1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

(529)

on August 06, 2013
at 12:58 PM

I'm rather new to researching this; would you mind explaining what getting cortisol tested would do?

1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

(529)

on August 06, 2013
at 12:54 PM

I'm rather new to this; would you mind explaining what getting cortisol tested would do?

1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

(529)

on August 06, 2013
at 12:53 PM

(I'm rather new to researching this; would you mind explaining or point to information as to what getting cortisol tested would do?

1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

(529)

on August 06, 2013
at 12:50 PM

*in winter far more than

5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a

(4713)

on August 06, 2013
at 12:50 PM

Have you had your cortisol tested?

1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

(529)

on August 06, 2013
at 12:49 PM

*winter far more than

1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

(529)

on August 06, 2013
at 12:48 PM

A quick appendage to my above post. I can think of (potentially) poor hydration, the drapes (black), light or sunlight adaptation...? (I do seem to recall feeling good/fine in winter far mire than in summer's daytime), and I also recall a few times in which I was very happy, with quite a but of ambition and hope and trust in the overall situation for the day & foreseeable future when I think early morning - noon would have been entirely fine. (It is possible that current stressors or unresolved uncertainties could have brought this back to the fore when I was already overcoming it.)

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5 Answers

2
96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on August 07, 2013
at 05:31 PM

From the sounds of it, you have an inverted cortisol/melatonin pattern. You can take an ASI test for this to confirm it.

If that's the case, you can do a few things such as very bright light exposure in the morning, preferably from sunlight, and sleeping in a pitch black room. You'll need to cover any LEDs such as those from alarm clocks, TVs, set top boxes, etc., especially anything blue or white. Change your curtains to black out curtains. Maybe get one of those bright light things for SAD therapy and use them as soon as you wake up.

At night, wear orange tinted glasses if watching TV after sunset, and install F.LUX or the equivalent on any electronics such as notebook computers, cell phones, tablets, etc.

Ensure that whatever coffee/caffeine you consume is cut off after 2pm the latest, but noon would be best. If you can do your workout in the day - you'd want activity, even if it's just a long walk. The more activity and light you get in the day, and the more darkness you expose yourself to at night, the more you can fix this problem.

Adrenal support such as salt, minerals, licorice root in the morning, and tulsi (holy basil) in the late afternoon would help too.

You might want to seek out Dr. Kalish's book and some of his video seminars on this.

1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

(529)

on August 07, 2013
at 07:21 PM

(Ah, right -- save for odd hours and sleep durations/times, I've never consumed caffeine much in my life (tea at various occasions, and perhaps less than 16 fl. oz. of coffee ever). I'm curious - would this still make adrenal support efforts a large concern? I've read adrenal support being a large factor in recommendations for many sundry things hormone related but not researched/seen why yet.)

1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

(529)

on August 07, 2013
at 07:05 PM

Fascinating -- this sounds very potentially useful -- I will look into it. Since being more active during the day, I've noticed I'm much clearer and more awake after 11:00a.m.-2:00p.m., when it becomes very hot and bright outside. So, it's now merely the ~6:00a.m.-9:30a.m. period which is "debilitatingly exhausting" feeling, and I feel mostly fine after dawn/morning fades. Odd.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on August 08, 2013
at 10:37 AM

Well, high night time cortisol will affect sleep, and lack of sleep will cause insulin resistance, so there are big problems that can arise from failing to fix this. Try to sneak out of work the way smokers do every 15 minutes when it's sunny and get a bit of sun. Indoor light is very weak compared to sunlight. In terms of adrenal support, it depends on how far gone off the rails you are - if you've exhausted your adrenals, you need it; if you just have inverted your cortisol pattern due to modern living and the glands are ok, you can fix this without it. ASI test will tell you.

1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

(529)

on August 07, 2013
at 07:13 PM

I had heard of / read of some interesting things regarding darkness/light readjustment but never looked into it deeply. Apart from it being inconvenient, are there any potential problems/indicators on longevity or overall health maintenance from having an inverted cortisol/melatonin pattern (assuming this is what it is)? Inconvenience is not necessarily too bad, especially with afternoons seeming better as I'm being more vital again, but bad health (such as the "debilitating exhaustion/hunger/weakness" maybe being indicative of an overall systemic weakness) or bad health prospects would be.

1
8d3cb0be5f31c75a05f853cb3b5c245a

(1601)

on August 06, 2013
at 02:26 PM

You could try camping:

http://theconversation.com/how-a-week-of-camping-resets-the-body-clock-16557

I've always found that to be helpful. Your body is forced into a different rhythm. Try not to bring anything like ipad, dvd player, etc. but stuff to make a campfire, books, food, tent, etc.

(car camping could work)

Also, When you say you feel awake after 7-8 pm, I would suspect your cortisol rhythms are out of whack. Have you done a saliva cortisol test?

I guess, do you need to change your schedule for work/seeing people? If not, I suppose you wouldn't be here. Anyway, it might be best to stick to what works and try getting bright light device over your head or taking walks at 7 AM, 12 pm, and 5 pm every day for 10 minutes (and for the light device, try to get it from a reputable manufacturer, because it's literally a drug to your body which Dr. Michael Terman, a director of sleep studies at Columbia, and the author of the great book CHRONOTHERAPY, says should be regulated - i.e. to what extent do the bright lights output what they say they will (some are too weak), and perhaps you could work with a doctor on when and how long to use it - Terman and his company sell their devices here http://www.cet.org/eng/AboutUs_ENG.html)

This article gave me hope http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/04/19/sleeping-or-not-by-the-wrong-clock/?_r=0

and Dr. Terman also has been well reviewed by most patients (via google searches, 3 people ranked him 5/5 but he also has good cases of people he has helped in his book)

I would say it takes help, and cortisol regulation (as well at proper times), diet, activity during the day, and supplements were all necessary to get me to sleeping soundly through the night. It's not perfect, but I accept it takes time to fix.

1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

(529)

on August 07, 2013
at 07:51 PM

Hm, the camping sounds useful. I haven't done that in a while, and moving back out into the wilderness - at least for a while - sounds quite wonderful. I might try this. // Taking brief walks at various times of day was an idea I'd been toying with and also seems quite potentially useful. :-) // // As mentioned in various comments (though not in the original above question - will edit some, perhaps), the main concern is overall health and longevity prognosis (and "debilitating hunger/exhaustion/weakness around dawn perhaps being indicative of some worrying systemic weakness).

1
Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on August 06, 2013
at 01:56 PM

Look into delayed sleep phase disorder - and definitely talk with your doctor or head-shrink about it.

It's something I dealt with when I was younger. It is often exacerbated by lifestlye choices, so as I grew up and "got my shit together", this issue went away. I basically slept from 5AM until 1PM everyday. I mean, the math works out, but I missed the daytime and seeing other people.

Most people that colloquially say "oh, I have insomonia" when their sleep is just poor almost certainly do not have insomnia and probably have light forms of DSPD.

1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

(529)

on August 06, 2013
at 02:02 PM

Fascinating. I suspected as much but did not know of the phenomena by its name. Will research this more.

1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

(529)

on August 06, 2013
at 02:19 PM

**window in summer at the moment in which I definitely feel exhausted.

1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

(529)

on August 06, 2013
at 02:17 PM

*similar body temperature responses

Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on August 06, 2013
at 03:00 PM

I had similar concerns -- didn't really care about "when I got to bed", but I did miss sunlight and people. ;-) I made it pretty simple: I made a point to at least lie in bed if not be asleep 1/2 hour earlier every day for a week than the week before. I also made an effort to reduce any food consumption near bed time.

1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

(529)

on August 06, 2013
at 02:17 PM

Returning fron glancing at researching - the regulation in body temperatures definitely seems to fit, though I have no trouble sleeping at any desired time; it's simply the 6:00-11:00 (often 6:40-10:45) window in summer at the moment. // I'm curious as to what you did to correct, if it was anything beyond readjusting sleep times (which could be fairly simple), and whether you had similar body temperat. I don't mind having an unusual schedule per se but am more worried about potential long-term effects on longevity or healthy longevity and sunlight/light sensitivity having been dysregulated.

0
59b1fb3c808957039f9ddf6fb341c05c

on August 07, 2013
at 09:19 AM

Adrenal fatigue? I felt exhausted in the day, would go to bed shattered and then have the most shocking nights sleep, only to finally doze off around an hour before getting up. Then it was like a remake from the night of the living dead, dazed and confused at work and so completely tired and wired at the same time... very disturbing...

0
7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on August 06, 2013
at 06:22 PM

I felt this way when I was younger and being exposed to various errors in modern society. Artificial lights, the abject lie of modern education, the retarded and emotionally stunting relationships we develop as a result, and the crap medication folks push on you when you start complaining about all the weird side effects you get from living at odds with your evolutionary history.

So, as you might guess, since I've been eating paleo and avoiding excess blue light for a while now, I don't have this problem anymore. A good dose of Vitamin D3 in the morning helps as well. It is also a good idea to be careful with alcohol, because it seems to be a sleep disrupter.

The social realities may be harder to deal with, because we very often have to deal with people who are still plugged into the craziness.

1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

(529)

on August 07, 2013
at 07:31 PM

Hmm. Fascinating . I have the good fortune of not having experienced any of the above items (I have heard and seen many unfortunate things about the "world", though.), except perhaps for the artificial light overexposure or blue light exposure. (I also have almost always found night slightly preferable to daylight, so on my very free schedule for the past years have drifted towards simply being awake at nights.) (But the dawn/morning daylight sensitivity/weakness is somewhat problematic in overall being healthy. And, in summer, in being efficient/effective in pursuing my life.) Any further --

1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

(529)

on August 07, 2013
at 08:02 PM

Wrong link - my apologies. - http://gettingstronger.org/wp-content/plugins/wordpress-toolbar/toolbar.php?wptbto=http%3A%2F%2Fgettingstronger.org%2F2013%2F02%2Fan-alternative-to-vitamin-d-supplements%2F&wptbhash=aHR0cDovL2dldHRpbmdzdHJvbmdlci5vcmcvMjAxMi8xMS93aHktaS1kb250LXRha2Utdml0YW1pbi1kLXN1cHBsZW1lbnRzLzx3cHRiPldoeSBJIGRvbiYjODIxNzt0IHRha2Ugdml0YW1pbiBEIHN1cHBsZW1lbnRzPHdwdGI%2BaHR0cDovL2dldHRpbmdzdHJvbmdlci5vcmc8d3B0Yj5HZXR0aW5nIFN0cm9uZ2Vy

1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

(529)

on August 07, 2013
at 07:56 PM

Ah, I'm curious - I've been wary of D3 supplementation after reading this article: http://gettingstronger.org/wp-content/plugins/wordpress-toolbar/toolbar.php?wptbto=http%3A%2F%2Fgettingstronger.org%2F2013%2F02%2Fan-alternative-to-vitamin-d-supplements%2F&wptbhash=aHR0cDovL2dldHRpbmdzdHJvbmdlci5vcmcvMjAxMi8xMS93aHktaS1kb250LXRha2Utdml0YW1pbi1kLXN1cHBsZW1lbnRzLzx3cHRiPldoeSBJIGRvbiYjODIxNzt0IHRha2Ugdml0YW1pbiBEIHN1cHBsZW1lbnRzPHdwdGI%2BaHR0cDovL2dldHRpbmdzdHJvbmdlci5vcmc8d3B0Yj5HZXR0aW5nIFN0cm9uZ2Vy , and figuring sunlight exposure would be enough for the moment in summer. Thoughts?

1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

(529)

on August 07, 2013
at 07:40 PM

-- elaboration into artificial lighting & its effects or excess blue light? (I do often "study" much on a laptop or similar device when not in front of something physically, although I've been noticing adverse effects on my feeling healthy with that also, and considering rearranging to brief bursts of 5-15 minutes with computer/tablet, with much physical movement and reorientation with the world.) (Save for that, there is also fairly constant artificial lighting inside which could easily be turned off/on at various times of day instead.)

7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on August 08, 2013
at 05:23 PM

Artificial light suppresses melatonin production. Continued exposure makes the whole system haywire. We normally have a cortisol rise that wakes us in the morning, for instance. Sounds like you are very out of sync. I try to avoid screens after dark- I wish there were more e-ink screen devices (cell phones, laptops). Here are a few posts on Vitamin D in the morning:http://blog.sethroberts.net/category/sleep/vitamin-d3-and-sleep/ In my experience, it definitely does help regularize your nighttime sleeping.

1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

(529)

on August 07, 2013
at 07:33 PM

-- elaboration into artificial lighting & it's effects or excess blue light?

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