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wooltonian
#1 Posted : 22 June 2015 08:35:58(UTC)
wooltonian

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I'm beginning to wonder whether too much sunlight around this time of year can disturb your sleep pattern in just the same way that too little light can have an adverse effect in winter. Over the last 2-3 weeks I have been consistently waking up bang on 4.00-4.30am every morning. Waking is usually preceded by a vivid dream. I then lie wide awake until at least 6.00am when, if I'm lucky, I might eventually nod off again for another hour or so of very light, broken sleep.

This type of night waking (vivid dream in the middle of the night followed by long periods of wakefulness) very closely mirrors the disruption of my sleep pattern during winter if I don't use my light box. I can't work out whether the cause is too much evening light or the light mornings. I would normally reckon to be able to sleep through light mornings as long as it's not too bright or obtrusive, so this current bout of insomnia is puzzling me.

I know that the answer is probably to draw curtains during the evening and buy darker curtains for my bedroom, but I don't really want to shut all that lovely light out and I'm hoping that it will go away in a few weeks. I know that sleep patterns can change over time. I never used to have sleep problems in winter....now am I getting the same thing in summer as well ?!!

Anyone else having similar problems?
Linda
#2 Posted : 26 June 2015 12:23:13(UTC)
Linda

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You are not alone, Wooltonian. I couldn't manage in the summer (actually that should be "summer"!) without my blackout blinds. Even then, the room isn't as dark as I'd like, but just about manageable. Before I invested in them, I used to get really cranky in summer due to loss of sleep. Possibly it isn't just the light mornings; where we are it doesn't really get properly dark at midsummer, but the problem is exacerbated by the middle-of-the-night-dawn-chorus.

I'm afraid I have adopted the approach of reading for a while. Half-an-hour of Henry James can be enough to get me off again, but then it's hard to get up in the mornings having been awake for half the night.

On the one hand, I'm glad that it's past midsummer, because the nights will get progressivly darker, but on the other, it makes me more anxious about the autumn.

Where, oh where, is summer?!

wooltonian
#3 Posted : 27 June 2015 09:33:06(UTC)
wooltonian

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Originally Posted by: Linda Go to Quoted Post
Possibly it isn't just the light mornings; where we are it doesn't really get properly dark at midsummer, but the problem is exacerbated by the middle-of-the-night-dawn-chorus.


I can't remember if I mentioned this before, but have you thought about earplugs? Not everyone likes using them, but I swear by them. They don't blot out every sound, but are almost 100% effective against tweeting birds! When I take mine out in the morning the first thing I hear are the birds outside our bedroom window. If you go into Boots earplugs tend to be ludicrously expensive, but you can purchase exactly the same product on Amazon for next to nothing. These are the ones I use...

http://www.amazon.co.uk/...-4&keywords=earplugs

It's an interesting point about what the 'best time of year' is for people who suffer from SAD. I had always presumed the nearer the summer solstice the better. I'm not so sure that's the case for me now. As we both seem to find, the very long days of May - July bring their own problems, especially with regard to sleep patterns. I actually find that March - April and August - September are probably optimal in terms of getting the right amount of light for a good night's sleep.


Rayosunshine
#4 Posted : 07 October 2015 21:26:27(UTC)
Rayosunshine

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Too little sun is a much bigger problem than too much. As a police officer I worked a rotating weekly shift pattern for almost 20 years. The winter months with their long nights and early starts and late finishes meant that I was often going to or coming from work in the dark. Approaching the Christmas holidays filled me with dread as I plunged into a very dark place. I was treated for many years with strong antidepressants but these seemed to "dull the edge" and although they enabled me to keep going I felt that I wasn't really "me". Eventually after a long term illness and subsequent surgery and treatment for cancer I felt that I had reached rock bottom. I could hardly look at anyone without breaking down in tears. I was ashamed and embarrassed but eventually a friend whose opinion I valued urged me to see my doctor.
The doctor realised from my medical notes that I may actually have SAD syndrome and ordered a detailed blood test. The test revealed that I had almost zero levels of vitamin D and I may also have problems metabolising it. I wept like a child with relief to at least have a label for my condition and realised that I had been plagued with the condition for over 40 years. I was put on a daily dose of vitamin D supplement, my anti depressant was changed for the first time in very many years I actually felt well.
The depression may always be there but I've now started to use a Brightlight as part of my defensive arsenal. There are time that I feel closer to the edge than is comfortable but I'm more like "myself" than I have been. I will never be cured but at least I can say that my condition is being managed and my quality of life has improved. I would recommend to anybody who thinks that they may have the SAD syndrome to ask their doctor for a blood test to check vitamin D absorption. It could make a big difference to your life.
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