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Sleep... and the Schedule You're Supposed to Do it On.

Posted 02-07-08 at 03:28 PM by nikkiana
One of the things that came up several times when I was discussing going on medication with my psychologist and my doctor was the fact that stimulants can mess up your sleep schedule. Make sure to take it in the morning, so it's not keeping you up at night.

I nodded dumbly along, and wondered if it was something that was going to affect me... and felt frusterated because words like Morning, Noon, Afternoon, Evening, and Night don't mean the same thing for me than they do for the rest of the population.

I work at home as a web developer for a small company that has employees all over the US and one in Hong Kong... We're allowed to set our own hours, so many of us work strange untraditional schedules... So, since most of my coworkers are in a later time zone than I am, AND because many of them don't like the work mornings, my work day is very late afternoon to night time, generally.

As one might expect, my sleep schedule ends up being a little odd.

The average person in the US tends to live a schedule that sorta looks like this:

6 AM - Wake up.
8 AM - Arrive at work.
5 PM - Leave work.
11 PM - Go to bed.

My schedule?

10 AM - Wake up.
12 PM - Start thinking about working and then goof off for a few hours.
3 PM - Work for a bit.
5 PM - Get distracted because hubby's going to be home soon.
5:30 PM - Distracted because hubby's home.
11 PM - Start working again.
3 AM - Go to bed.

The important part to notice, I get the same amount of sleep as the normal person in this schedule, my sleep schedule is just different than the normal person's.... and the order I do things is different too.

In the normal person's schedule words like morning, afternoon, evening and night connotate certain activities. You wake up in the early morning, you go to work in the morning and the afternoon, you go home in the evening, you sleep at night.

In my schedule, these words don't match up.

I've found this to be particularly intriguing and difficult because when you're dealing with a doctor, and talking about medication, there is an assumption that you operate on that normal schedule of doing things, so you're told to do things like take your medication in the morning so it doesn't keep you up at night.

The medication dilemma I'm having is that it just doesn't last long enough. If I take it at 11:30 or so, it's worn off by 6:30. It covers some of my work time, but I generally want to do a bunch of stuff later too... which means the majority of my workday, I'm still unmedicated and distractable. (Though, I find I'm less distractable at night than I am during the day, maybe it's because I'm tired....)

Ultimately, I sorta feel that I need a second dose of medication around 5 PM for me to finish my day, but I have this sinking feeling that my doctor will balk at it.... because you know, you're supposed to be in bed around 11.
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Total Comments 2


  1. Old
    Lots of people work evening shifts, night shifts, etc. I think a flexible work schedule like you seem to have is ideal for someone with ADD, really. Your doctor really shouldn't have any trouble understanding that your work puts you on a different schedule than "most" people. I'd be surprised if you're the first one he's treated that wanted to take it in the evening, or even at night (assuming he's experienced with it).

    Like I said in the forums, when you have a "flexible" (read: broken up) work schedule, you need a more flexible medication schedule, too. IR may work better for you if your doctor will prescribe it... a dose in the afternoon when you feel you're done goofing off, and maybe a large one at 9 or 10 when you get the real work done.
    Posted 02-07-08 at 05:49 PM by okok okok is offline
  2. Old
    TheCat's Avatar
    When I was diagnosed with ADD I was working a late shift and while my schedule was not broken up, my "morning" was anywhere between noon and 2 pm. I used to take my morning meds at 3 pm because that was when I left for work. Thus, by the time I got to work (between 3:40 and 4:00 pm) my meds had kicked in. My doctor left it up to me whether or not to take my "afternoon" meds. If I was going to be working later than usual, I would take it. If I was going to leave at my "normal" time, then I would skip it.
    My doctor was aware of my schedule and prescribed accordingly: 2 18mg Concerta SA and 1 40mg Strattera in the morning and 1 18mg Concerta SA and 1 40mg Strattera in the afternoon. This worked well for me.
    The sustained action meds worked for me because my schedule was NOT broken up, which is why I wouldn't recommend them for you.
    The best thing to do is discuss your schedule with your doctor and work with him/her to find the best way to go. It may take some adjustment, but, working together, I'm sure the two of you will find the best combination for your schedule.
    Posted 02-08-08 at 11:11 AM by TheCat TheCat is offline
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