ii. “Yes, I am awake”

19 November 2005 at 11:45 | Posted in Circadian rhythm | 7 Comments

 The life-long night-owlism.

This story tells a good deal.  Mom, Dad or Grandma would get me up, as in standing on the cold floor in little bare feet, and make me assure them “Yes, I am awake.”  Before going back to bed, I’d promise to do some chore or errand.  Later, they’d all but call me a liar when the chore hadn’t gotten done and I claimed that I remembered nothing of the morning conversation.  They were in doubt, because if I made a promise in the afternoon or evening, I was pretty reliable.
Solution.  It finally occured to all of us that I had, in fact, learned to read.  Early morning conversation followed by a written “reminder” of what I’d promised, was effective.  A note without the worthless exercise on the cold floor would have been just as good, but they apparently thought they should ask me to do them a favor rather than giving me orders. . .
My siblings remember that their very least favorite chore was being sent in to wake me.  Even at noon or one or two.  (Poor kids.  The task was not only near impossible, I was often nasty.  They say.)
Next post:  iii. Circadian rhythms


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  1. I’ve got to tell you, I’m quite disturbed by this discovering I just made, for years I thought I was jut lazy, or that I love to watch late night TV.

    My mom always said in a heart light tone that I was “like that” since i was a baby, I used to sleep all day, but all of the sudden, at about 8 to 9 pm I woke up and start playing around the house while my family was just going to bed,

    “We use to wash you asleep while you were a kid” my aunt once said, I just barely was awake when it was lunch time and then go back to bed, my family had to put furniture as obstacles in front of the stairs so they could sleep without having to worry about me wandering around the house.

    It always was like that for me, for the first few years of school it was a nightmare for me and my mom, but as I said, everyone (even me) thought I was just lazy, while in the school bus I’ll I did was just sleep, and then in classes it was the same, I came home at noon and sleep all the afternoon, and woke up at about 8pm and do all my homeworks, that was the time my mom realized that it wasn’t just a whim I had, I really was more active at night hours.

    Here I am, 23 years later, preparing for another night of rolling in my bed, waiting for 6 am to fall asleep, while searching wikipedia after watching a documentary about fatal family insomnia, and one of the related articles was about DSPS.

    It feels good to know, that all this just isn’t something I was doing wrong by staying up until late hours, it wasn’t just me beeing irresponsible and couldn’t wake up early.

    It is nice to find someone you can relate to.

  2. Hi Ese. Those are great animal pictures on your blog. What are they? (A bat or two?)

    And does your blog title say that it doesn’t exist, or am I just making that up?

    Yes, it is good to find out that you (we) are not the only one(s) with this disorder. When we are told for many years that we are irresponsible, we tend to start believing it. I’m sure it will be MANY years before the public has heard of us. The important thing for now is that people with the disorder learn what it is.

    That’s why I write here. I know exactly what it’s like to sleep through 5 alarm clocks and then have to think up another excuse to give to the boss.

  3. Thanks for the article and the comments here. I pretty much could have written your post, Ese. And 5 alarms, wow, delayed2sleep. I think I’ve slept through 2 or 3, but never thought to try and get my hands on more at one time. 😀

  4. I’ve just found your blog and am so pleased to know that I’m not weird. There are others like me out there! I spend every weekday in a state of constant fatigue which really impacts on my life. I just about manage to get my daughter to school and go back to bed for an hour or two. Even if I manage to sleep for a while it does little good. Usually my mind is really active while my body is aching with tiredness. I work as an artist so you’d think I have plenty of time for it but the problem is that I have most time during the day and these are the hours when I find it hard to summon any energy to concentrate on work. Ever since I was a little kid I remember lying in bed every night in the dark while my family slept in the rooms around me. I know my aunt always had problems sleeping at night and was known as a night owl like me so it looks like there is a hereditary factor in our family. I’m the only one of my four siblings to be affected. The rest are all “Normal”. So thanks for the blog. Will keep an eye on it..

  5. Thanks for writing, GmcK. There seem to be a lot of us “out there”, if only the medical profession would “catch up”. But it’s good not to be totally alone with it. Perhaps you could sleep more than a couple of hours while your child is at school, and work at night?

  6. Oh my god, I discovered this condition today!

    Like some of the testimonials here I have and do sleep through earthquakes. My cycle seems permanently set to nocturnal and for my entire life i have been, ostracized is a strong word, but somehow “different” to others around me in my lifestyle in terms of the hours I keep.

    I have lost numerous jobs due to me just not sleeping and then waking up with a heart attack scrambling to find my mobile, alarm clock, rush to the computer clock. Then having to make some stupid ass excuse because i know that “I just didn’t wake up” won’t cut it.

    I was even born asleep, not unconscious, ASLEEP!

    Although spamming around the web, my heart is not lifted with possible answers. Seems that its considered a disability, but how am i supposed to relay that to others around me? “I have a disability, I can’t get my butt out of bed on time”

    I do take comfort in the fact that I may not actually be lazy and irresponsible, but the lack of solutions does detract from that.

  7. Welcome, Echorest. “…how am i supposed to relay that to others around me?” Some people scare the hounders off with “I have a genetic fault in the suprachiasmatic nuclei of the hypothalamus in my brain.” Will that work for you? 😉
    I don’t know that I’ve slept through earthquakes, but my neighbors won’t believe that I slept through the upstairs neighbor’s kitchen fire with cops and fire fighters up and down the stairs beside my bedroom wall and the sirens preceding that. It’s kind of scary to be able to do that.
    Finding a job to fit the condition (or freelancing etc) does seem to be the best management (rather than treatment). In some cases, primarily schooling, a proper diagnosis may help you get accommodations.

    Good luck!

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