Circadian Arhythm
January 16, 2005 11:43 PM   Subscribe

Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sleep (But Were Too Afraid To Ask). Circadiana is a new specialty blog dedicated to chronobiology. As a night owl (I'm posting this link at 2:45 AM), I look forward to many late nights reading this site.
posted by painquale (14 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
So, if melatonin doesn't work, and modafinil (Alertec) is just good for short-term use, what can we do? At this point it's frustrating to admit that we are fundamentally constrained by biology, but the author seems to support that idea.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 12:46 AM on January 17, 2005

The author suggests controlling one's exposure to light through the use of light boxes and lightproof rooms.

This is great stuff. I hope there are soon some more articles about why we need sleep.
posted by breath at 1:21 AM on January 17, 2005

This is indeed a great link. (I am writing this at 5:02 a.m., shortly before going to bed.)
posted by sueinnyc at 2:03 AM on January 17, 2005

Excellent stuff. Thanks painquale.
posted by The God Complex at 3:28 AM on January 17, 2005

This has cemented my belief that the sun is infact, our ENEMY.
posted by TwelveTwo at 4:08 AM on January 17, 2005

Next time the wife chews into me for raiding the fridge in the middle of the night, I'm turning on the light, printing this up, and throwing a copy her way.
posted by ThePrawn at 5:00 AM on January 17, 2005

I had the great pleasure, about 15 years ago, of being forced to sit in front of one of these light boxes on a regular basis.

Then eventually. over the course of the last decade, I learned (the hard way) that I'm asleep when I'm awake, and so is most everybody else.

Sometime in the past year, some scientists released a study suggesting that most people are quite possibly slaves to their behavioral templates, formed quite early in the game. That is to say, humans in a state of 'wakefulness' react to the world more like zombies than how we'd like to view ourselves, which is likely to be actively thinking, feeling, learning, fully self-actualized paragons of whole-brain usage.

I read this and was like, 'Well, duh.'

I'm going back to bed now.
posted by attackthetaxi at 5:27 AM on January 17, 2005 [1 favorite]

posted by Gyan at 5:40 AM on January 17, 2005

well, the site seems to be well-researched, but i don't know the author. circadian biology is a damn small field, and it's sort of unusual for me to find something like this without being able to track down how the author is connected.

i've been to three Society for Research on Biological Rhythms conferences in two countries over the last 6 years, been a member of the society for two years, and have no idea where this blog is coming from. i can say that the info seems solid, more so than i'd expect from someone with just a casual interest, so i really can't figure out why i don't recognize the author's name.

interesting link, thanks for posting this.
posted by caution live frogs at 6:15 AM on January 17, 2005

frogs: He's been interested in chronobiology for a long time, apparently.
posted by Gyan at 6:28 AM on January 17, 2005

One thing I noticed upon arriving to the States is that nobody here seems to have any notion of "sleep manners". I have seen (and experienced) many times people barging into the room containing a sleeping person, switching on the lights and TV, talking, even talking to the sleeping person, all the while not being even aware that this is a Big No-No, very inconsiderate, and extremely rude.

My mother does this. I can never get her to understand how rude it is. He's bang on about this rudeness being a side effect of the Protestant work ethic, though I don't think talking about sleep is a taboo, per se.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 7:40 AM on January 17, 2005

I'm a night owl too -- it's 3pm here and I'm just getting into breakfast. My own life has been dramatically changed since I just accepted that, stopped attempting to get up at 9am and - helpfully - was promoted to an evening work job.

There's a top mailing list out there chock full of us for anyone who is interested, by the way. Details here
posted by bonaldi at 7:50 AM on January 17, 2005

Great post. I often wonder about our predisposition to certain sleep patterns. I live apart from my girlfriend, we're both grad students. When I'm with her, I quickly fall into a pattern of sleeping and waking early. We're also both athletes, too, and when living together earlier in our relationship we'd often fall asleep at 9, as we both needed to be up and training early.

Still, even though I train hard and have a heavy workload, when I'm alone I drift into what I have always done when I'm alone, a sleep pattern that gets later and later. What gets me, though, is that I felt better when sleeping early and arising early. I can't, however, seem to get myself to do this without the coercive effect of the g/f. It's not anything about sex, just the 'OK it's bedtime' routine that we went through. When alone I've tried this and just lay there, unable to get to sleep. I still get my 8 hours, just at later time. Having classes that don't start until 10 (or some days not at all) doesn't help.
posted by jimmythefish at 8:54 AM on January 17, 2005

All my life I've struggled with getting up late, and staying awake late. I always considered it severe "sleep momentum" -- I tend to stay in sleep or wake state and find it hard to switch between them. Starting around six years ago, my job allowed me to work at home mostly, but also had some swing shift requirements from time to time. My wife and I started doing a gradually rotating schedule, with an average of 25hour days...always pushing forward such that one complete rotation of sleep schedule happens about every three to four weeks. Night schedule is great for getting computer work done without distractions, day schedule is needed for errand running and meeting commitments with the outside world. Sometimes we need to do a little pushing or pulling to meet an appointment, but mostly we allow our bio clocks to run free, without alarms or worrying about day vs night, and just sleeping when we're tired and getting up when we feel fully rested. It's very comfortable for us, but the pattern runs an average of 25hours, not 24. (some days may run long due to insomnia, others shorter when we're more tired).

I think it seems to be working OK for us for the past few years, but I keep getting lectures from my sleep doctor about "sleep hygiene" and what "most people do" (he's treating me for apnea). I counter that this sleep schedule is what my body most wants to do, and that I seem to have a naturally delayed clock (which I've fought against most of my life). And other than not being completely consistent per the clock on the wall and the rising of the sun, we maintain good sleep hygiene. We darken the room and turn on a white noise generator to sleep during the day, etc. But the bright light-factor seems to be minimal for us...we feel *slightly* more awake when it's bright outside, but not by much. I guess I've got that owl-gene over expressing itself.
posted by Larzarus at 11:24 AM on January 17, 2005 [1 favorite]

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