xli. Coincidence & update

6 June 2009 at 23:50 | Posted in Circadian rhythm | Leave a comment
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Chapter three begins a year-to-the-day after the end of Chapter two.   A coincidence.  (I so wanted to call it serendipity but don’t want to add to the misuse of that word.)

In this last year I’ve retired but kept on with melatonin at night, my light box in the “morning” and keeping my sleep diary every day.  Plus a tiny dab of melatonin late afternoon and yellow goggles in the evening, when I don’t forget. 

The schedule has not become as regular as I’d thought and hoped, even though wake time is preferably “by 1 p.m.”  About every other month the  sleep specialist reminds me that he, at the beginning, had said that he couldn’t promise regularity, a “cure”.  And that he thought that my circadian period is “upwards of 28 hours”.

After five years of daily melatonin, I tried eight weeks without, thinking that, given the chance, my system might land on its own schedule.  Nope.  Those sleep diaries show chaos:  sleep whenever, rarely for 3-4 hours, often for 12-14 hours, night or day.  When I happened to get up between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. I did use the light box.  There’s no sign of a system, most particularly not any sign of Non-24, for which I’m glad.  When I showed the diary to the specialist, he pointed at those eight weeks and asked: “What  happened here?”

It took only a few days back on melatonin to get back where I was before; here’s a typical 4 weeks:

4weekDIARY jpeg

BTW, as you can see, the sleep diary is now simplified, with four weeks to the page.  With 28 days across and 24 hours down, midnight in the middle as before, symbols at the top for melatonin use and at the bottom for use of light box, the filled in sleep parts of each column show clearly how (ir)regular my sleep pattern is.  Illustrated is, believe it or not, a month that the specialist was quite happy about:  “That may be the best month you’ve had.”

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Next:  xlii. Researchers mentioned here

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