Chrono-Crazy: N-24 vs. DSPS


November 24th is
N-24 Awareness Day
Let’s take a closer look at
Sleep TIMING

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Sleep Series

Happy Belated Thanksgiving!
I hope everybody was awake for it.

Even as I typed the words above, I figured that many of you would think I was kidding – while others of you, sadly, weren’t “on phase” enough to be awake and alert for a joyful celebration.

Some of you may even have snoozed-on well past the time you were supposed to arrive for that Thanksgiving luncheon. And I’ll bet at least one of you reading slept the day away.

And I ALSO bet you catch a lot of flak from your “sleep normal” friends and loved ones about your screwy sleep schedule — even if you have been formerly diagnosed with one of the Chronorhythm Sleep Disorders and have attempted to explain your challenges with sleep a number of times.

At least that’s been true for me for most of my life.

What’s going on here?  (Sleep TIMING glitches!)

I’ve written quite a few prior articles about sleep timing, some linked in the Related Content section at the bottom of this article, with links to all of the articles available from my Sleep Linklist: Everything you ever wanted to know about Sleep.

As I previously explained in articles about CRSD (ChronoRhythm Sleep Disorders) and N-24 (Non-24 Hour Sleep/Wake Syndrome), there is a part of everybody’s brain that regulates body rhythms, especially sleep – the suprachiasmatic nucleus.

SEE: When Your Sleep Clock is Broken

That’s what makes some people Morning Larks and some people Night Owls – most of them only slightly skewed to one end or the other.

Even though many can adapt to the sleep timing expectations of their circumstances, they are only sharpest when their body clock tells them they are supposed to be awake and alert and when they are supposed to be drowsy.

And that’s why many of us struggle to fall asleep at “standard” hours — early enough to be fully rested before we have to get up to start the next day. Many of those strugglers suspect insomnia, but it has never been troubling enough to pursue a formal diagnosis.

Then there are those whom others consider “extreme larks” and “extreme owls” – most of whom, whether they realize it or not, are probably diagnostic for one of the disorders of sleep TIMING.

Some of those individuals have been MIS-diagnosed with insomnia when what’s really going on is that their brain’s clock isn’t set to support standard sleep timing!

Disorders of Sleep TIMING

Even though today is N-24 Awareness Day, this particular article is going to distinguish between N-24 (where a person’s body clock insists that the day is longer than the 24 hours that is relatively standard here on earth) and another disorder that is frequently confused with it: Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome [DSPS] or Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder [DSPD].

Read more of this post

Sleeping with the Enemy: Mom’s N-24


How N-24 affects the rest of us
With a special take on the topic from Guest Blogger TinkerToy

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Comorbidities and Sleep & Sleep Disorders Series

“When you hear hoof-beats,
think horses not Zebras”

Most doctors are repeatedly exposed to that little ditty from their earliest days in Med School, encouraging them to always consider the simplest explanations first.

It’s not bad advice for many of the disorders and diseases they’ll come across in the patients who will walk through their office doors seeking diagnosis and treatment.

It just turns out to be exactly wrong when it comes to recognizing chronorhythm disorders – disorders of sleep TIMING.

November 24th is N24 Awareness Day

As explained in last weeks post, N-24 Awareness Day is almost upon us:

N24 Awareness Day was first organized in 2012 to help raise awareness of chronorhythm disorders – those affecting sleep TIMING – and particularly to increase awareness of one of its lesser known manifestations: Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Syndrome.

It is also known as hypernychthemeral syndrome, N24, N-24, or free-running sleep disorder.

It is a severe, chronic and disabling neurological disorder that causes an individual’s “brain clock” to be unable to stay in sync with “nature’s clock,” the 24-hour cycle of light and dark on our planet.

For many years it was believed to be rarer than those of us who live with it know it to be, and to affect only the blind – supposedly the only individuals unable to “rephase to light.” SIGHTED sufferers were excluded from the studies, and are still today.

How can medical science expect to find what they fail to seek?

N24 Awareness Day – or N24 Day – is now observed annually, gathering participants as increasingly more people become aware of sleep timing disorders, recognizing their own sleep-struggles when they read about the symptoms.

Many have been MIS-diagnosed with insomnia, narcolepsy, or “simple” sleep apnea, because MOST doctors, therapists and coaches remain shamefully unaware — unable to recognize clear symptoms of an entire class of sleep disorders: those that are the result of chronorhythm dysregulation.

Read more of this post

N-24 Awareness Day is almost upon us


I wonder if I’ll be awake for it?
Don’t laugh – “days” are always a crapshoot

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Comorbidities and Sleep & Sleep Disorders Series

Even though I’m scurrying to finish everything I need to do to be able to announce Open Enrollment for the upcoming Group Coaching, I simply must take a bit of a break to let you know of something coming up in less than one week: N-24 Awareness Day.

An Explanation, not an excuse

In addition to my personal Challenges as THE ADD Poster Girl, anyone who knows me well at all knows about my life-long struggles as the result of a bodacious disorder of sleep TIMING.  (If you don’t you can read all about it in JetLagged for LIFE!)

If YOU or someone you love has been known to be “up all night,” sleeping away much of the day, put it on your must read list.

Depending on how closely you can relate, it just might change your life to learn what just might be going on.

Read more of this post

Owls, Larks and Camels


Normal cuts a Wide Swath

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Another article in the Sleep Series

“Early to bed, early to rise,
makes a man stupid and blind in the eyes”

~ Mazer Rackham (from Orson Scott Card‘s book “Ender’s game“)

 

NiteOwlandMoon

Normal Circadian Rhythms

Among people with healthy circadian clocks, there are “Larks” or “morning people” who prefer to sleep and wake early, and there are “Owls” who prefer to go to sleep later each night and awaken much later each day.

But whether they are larks or owls, people with normal circadian systems:

  • can awaken in time for what they need to do in the morning, and fall asleep at night at a time that allows them to get enough sleep before they have to get up.
  • can sleep and wake up at the same time every day, if they want to.
  • will, within a few days of starting a new routine that requires their getting up earlier than usual, start to fall asleep at night earlier.

For example, someone used to sleeping at 1 a.m. and waking up at 9 a.m. begins a new job on a Monday, and must get up at 6 a.m. to get ready for work.

By the following Friday, the person has begun to fall asleep at around 10 p.m., and can wake up at 6 a.m. feeling well-rested.

This adaptation to earlier sleep/wake times is known as ‘advancing the sleep phase.’ Healthy people can advance their sleep phase by about one hour each day.

24 hours a day isn’t “normal”

Researchers have placed volunteers in caves or special apartments for several weeks without clocks or other time cues. Without those time cues, the volunteers tended to go to bed up to an hour later and to get up about an hour later each day.

These experiments demonstrated that the “free-running” circadian rhythm in humans is greater than the earth’s 24 hour cycle – anywhere from 24:15 to 25 or so a day].

To maintain a 24 hour day/night cycle, the biological clock needs regular environmental time cues, for example sunrise, sunset, and daily routine.

Time cues are what keep our body clocks aligned with the rest of the world.

Read more of this post

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