Sleep Issues and ADHD
Daylight savings causing big problems
Hi everyone, I’m a 36 year old ADHD female, and daylight savings time is really screwing me up.
I have sort of “classic” ADHD sleeping problems: I hyperfocus at night, making it difficult to stop what I’m doing, I have a hard time falling asleep, and waking up is an absolute nightmare—once I actually manage not to sleep through the alarm, I’m groggy for hours. I can barely process information before 10 am. I think I basically have a delayed circadian clock. I’m fine with sleeping if it’s on my own terms, going to bed and waking up when it feels right. Unfortunately, as a regular person with a job and other stuff, there’s not many opportunities for that. My sleep problems get worse each year. As a kid, my parents bragged about my miracle sleeping habits, now I’m a disaster.
For the past two years I’ve been working at a job with an old fashioned boss who wants me in at a specific time, even though I am analyst/manger of a department that’s just me and there’s no real need for it. I managed to move him up from 7:30 to 8:30. The problem is, I NEED to work out and get exercise. I can almost never get to the gym in the morning and make it to work by 8:30. This job is also out in the suburbs and I have to drive, so I get no walking or regular exercise during the day. I tried working out after work, but for various reasons (the fact that my brain works best at work later in the day so I work 10-11 days minimum is a big one). As a result, I’ve gotten really out of shape. And of course it’s a vicious cycle—we all know exercise helps you sleep, but I need to sleep and sleep early to be able to exercise. I need to be at the gym by 6 am in order to work out.
So after two of trying and failing to get in workouts with this job I finally, finally! started to make some progress this winter. I was practicing all my sleep hygiene rituals, getting into bed between 9:30 and 10, reading a little, and getting up between 5:30 and 6am to get to the gym (a 10 minute walk away) a few times a week. This is obviously completely against what my body wants to do naturally, and it wasn’t going perfectly smoothly, but it was progress.
Enter daylight savings time. It’s been three weeks now and I am so sleep deprived, I’m a mess. I’m 15-20 minutes late for work every day, forget going to the gym. Everything I am trying only seems to make it worse—the more I concentrate on sleep hygiene, the more anxious I get, the more my mind turns on, and the less I sleep. I just don’t know what to do.
I get home from work between 6:30 and 7:30, but I am making a real effort these days to leave at 5:30 (very hard for the way I focus), in which case I am usually home by 6, 6:30. I usually have to make dinner, eat it, and do the dishes. Sometimes I have some other small chores to do. It is now bright and sunny out the whole time and only gets dark when I’m just starting to wind down for bed. It’s pitch black out when I’m trying to wake up.
A few months back my doctor prescribed .2 mg of Clonodine. It made me really sleepy, but also made me tip over with dizziness all day, so I cut it down to .1mg, that I try to remember to take at 9pm to be in bed by 10. (btw, I also take Adderall XR as soon as I get up in the morning, but I don’t think it is causing these problems).
Once in bed I just can’t get to sleep. The longer I can’t sleep, the more anxious I get, the more awake I am. Since DST started, there have been a few nights where I’ve managed to fall asleep around 11-11:30, but then I’ll wake up at 2:30 and not go back to sleep until about 4:30 (I never used to have this problem). I’ll be passed out cold from 4:30-7:30, getting what I think is REM, and my alarm goes off and just rips me out of it and I’m a basket case for the rest of the day.
Anyway, I know this was REALLY long, I was just wondering if anyone else was having problems with DST and if you know of anything that can help. I pull the shades down in my house and everything, but the sun is telling my body it’s 9 pm instead of 10 pm, you know? All the usual tactics aren’t enough to overpower it this year.
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