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Delayed REM, but not full on DSPS?

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Delayed REM, but not full on DSPS?

Postby neal88 » Mon Nov 21, 2011 11:34 pm

I've always had trouble waking up in the mornings, and in the last two years it's gotten exponentially worse, but the doctors can't figure out what's wrong. This is a long, detailed story so bear with me:


From elementary to high school, I had to wake up at 6AM, and according to my parents I was always hard to wake up, and it was always hard for me to fall asleep. I don't recall any of this (or much of my childhood period), and I'm still having extreme difficulty waking up. But here's the kicker: I don't have any problems going to sleep and I don't wake up in the night.

Usually, I go to bed anywhere between 11:30 and 12:30. I have no problems going to sleep, and I fall asleep within 20 minutes. I don't wake up in the middle of the night (that I can recall). When my alarm clock, which is situated across the room, goes off anytime before 10AM, I get up out of bed in a foggy, drunken-like stupor, hit the snooze button, carry the alarm with me back to bed, and go back to sleep. As the alarm keeps going off every five minutes for the next hour or two, it is constantly interrupting my dreams and I continually wake up in a foggy stupor and hit the snooze button. My wife will try to wake me up and I will talk to her in my sleep, and then never remember any of it. By the time I wake up, it's 10-11AM and my body feels horrible (almost aching all over) and I'm fatigued for the entire day. Occasionally I will have "excessive daytime drowsiness" in addition to the fatigue.

My wife also mentioned that she has dreams in the middle of the night, while I notice that I only have them in the late morning, which is what tipped me off that something isn't quite right.


I've lived in the same house for 22 years. 11 years I slept in a downstairs bedroom, 11 years I slept in an upstairs bedroom. Suffered from the same symptoms, though not as bad as recently. Moved to a new place 8 months ago, and the fatigue and sleepiness hit me really hard the last 3-4 months.

Two years ago I spent most of March in Japan, where I walked all over the place and was passed out asleep by 10PM and woke up at the crack of dawn, completely alert and awake, with no fatigue and no drowsiness during the day. Come back home, suffer from jet lag for a month and a half, then I'm back into the same old painful cycle.

Spent a week this Spring in Hawaii, still slept late, had mild fatigue and no drowsiness.

Spent 8 months this past Summer in California at an intensive language program where breakfast was at 7AM, classes at 8AM. The first 5 weeks I went to bed around 12-1AM and struggled to wake up in time for 8AM class. Last 3 weeks I went to bed at around 11-11:30PM and was barely able to wake up by 7AM, but was able to get breakfast and get to class on time. Did not suffer from any fatigue or drowsiness at all. Came home, I started sleeping even later, and feeling even worse.

The only two environments where I did not suffer from this problem were California and Japan, Japan being the better of the two.

Doctor Visits

I went to my physician. He tested me for Vitamin D, HIV, and some other run-of-the-mill stuff. Couldn't find anything.

I went to an endocrinologist. He checked Thyroid, Liver functions, Testosterone, Quartisol, Vitamin D, bone density. Didn't find anything wrong with me other than osteoporosis (at the age of 23 no less) and completely ignored my other symptoms and focused on the osteoporosis.

Went back to my physician, said the endocrinologist wasn't helping and things were getting worse. He said that I have a "narcoleptic feel" and referred me to a sleep study.

Went to a sleep study. Went to sleep at 10:30PM, they woke me up at 5AM. I woke up completely awake and alert, rested and refreshed. Which never, ever happens at home. Sleep doctor said my sleep study was normal.

After I explained to him that I did not experience any problems at the sleep study, he thought that my problem could be environmental. Then I told him that I've had the problem at 3 different locations, excluding Hawaii, hotels, etc. Then I mentioned that the alarm clock keeps interrupting my dreams. He said that that would make sense if my REM phase is delayed, and that the alarms are interrupting my REM sleep and I'm not getting any rest. So he suggested I push my sleeping schedule back an hour.


I'm going to bed around 11-11:30PM, trying to wake up between 6:30 and 8:30. I still can't do it.

If my REM sleep doesn't start until 5AM, and doesn't end until 10AM, how am I supposed to wake up and have a normal life? I've already had to drop a 10:20AM class because I couldn't make it in time, and my cognitive functions are going down the toilet and I can't concentrate because I'm not getting any rest. And to make things worse, I have a 9:10AM class next semester that I have to take.

Is there anything I can do to get my butt out of bed in the mornings?
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