If you find it hard to stay asleep during the night, you might have ASPD, which stands for advanced sleep phase disorder. This sleep disorder can cause people to wake as early as three o'clock in the morning, while making them excessively sleepy in the evening. ASPD can affect your social and family life, as it can leave you too tired to do anything in the evening. Fortunately, there are a few changes you can make to your home and lifestyle to combat this disorder.
1. Keep Your Bedroom Dark
In some parts of Australia, the first rays of dawn can start to shine hours before a normal time to wake up. Standard blinds and curtains don't completely block out sunlight, which means light can come into your bedroom and wake you up earlier than you want. Consider purchasing custom made curtains to keep your bedroom darker. Suitable curtains are lined to make them fully opaque and overlap the edges of the window to stop light sneaking around their edges.
2. Use Light Therapy Later in the Day
Bright light naturally increases energy levels, but many people spend the evening in dimly lit rooms. If you struggle to stay awake after dinner, try using a lightbox in the early evening to boost your energy and alertness.
3. Keep a Sleep Diary
Keeping a sleep diary can help you understand your sleep patterns. If the other tips given here don't work for you, show your sleep diary to your doctor. He or she can let you know whether you have a sleep disorder and give you personalised advice on treating it.
4. Try Melatonin
Melatonin is a hormone that lets your body know when it is time to sleep. People who have ASPD typically have high levels of melatonin in the evening, but these levels drop drastically during the night, causing you to wake excessively early. Talk to your doctor about slow-release melatonin pills, which you can take before bed to keep your melatonin levels high throughout the night. This should help you sleep soundly until it is time to get up.
5. Be Patient
Adjusting to a new sleep schedule can take time. Forcing yourself to stay up to your desired bedtime is unlikely to shift your waking time right away, which could mean you end up sleeping very little and feeling exhausted all the time. Instead of making a sudden change, try gradually moving your bedtime later in the evening.