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CuriousMomof3

Strategies for resetting your internal clock?

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As I've posted before, my 10 year old requires a parent awake in his room whenever he's asleep.  For the past month or so we've had a schedule where DH goes to bed when he does, sleeps 6 hours, and then I go to sleep for the next 6 hours, and it's worked reasonably well.  But for a variety of reasons, we want to switch the order.  

Tonight is night one, and my 6 hours should have started 3 hours ago, but I'm not sleepy.  I'm exhausted, I'm always exhausted, but experience tells me that if I try to go to sleep when I'm not actually sleepy then I'll just toss and turn and think anxious thoughts. 

I know I've asked a variation of this before, but if anyone has any great ideas for resetting their schedule, I'd love to hear them.  

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Blue lights are used to help overcome jet lag.  It might be worth a try to use one in the mornings, if you have one or could borrow one for a few days.  

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2 minutes ago, klmama said:

Blue lights are used to help overcome jet lag.  It might be worth a try to use one in the mornings, if you have one or could borrow one for a few days.  

 

I don't have one, but maybe i could get one.  Where do you get one?

I wonder if there's a way I could use it in DS's room without impacting him. 

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They sell them on Amazon.  Kind of pricey, which is why I suggested borrowing.  People primarily use them for seasonal affective disorder.  They are pretty bright, but it might work in your ds's room if you could put it on something facing you and away from him.  

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I don't know that I know anyone who has one, but I could buy it, and then return it, I guess.  I found one for $55. 

I wonder if they make goggles.  

I'm assuming it doesn't work while I'm sleeping right?  Like I couldn't put it on a timer and then have it turn on 1/2 an hour before my alarm, and then my body would think it's morning?  That's probably not going to work.

 

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I don't know.  They make lights for waking you up, too.  They aren't as bright, but they would light the room, so probably not what you want. 

Have you ever tried taking a sublingual methyl B12 supplement?  Those can increase energy levels and can help with sleep schedules, too. You'd want to take it at the time you want your morning to start.

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Stay up for 24 hours and your body will sleep when you want it to. Plan a project.

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3 minutes ago, Slache said:

Stay up for 24 hours and your body will sleep when you want it to. Plan a project.

 

It looks like that's going to happen, whether I mean it to or not, as long as you consider parenting to be a project.  Since I need to be up in 2 hours, and won't get a chance to sleep until about 9 tomorrow night.  

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Just now, parent said:

Take a benedryl an hour before bed.  Or try melatonin?

I can't risk being sleepy if I need to wake up quickly.  

Just now, parent said:

Workout in morning.

 

I need to figure that out.  

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2 minutes ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

I can't risk being sleepy if I need to wake up quickly.  

 

I need to figure that out.  

I haven't taken melatonin, but my mom says it won't make you sleepy.  I think it puts you to sleep but doesn't keep you asleep.  One benedryl helps me sleep but I can wake if needed, not really groggy at all, but you know your body.

Working out in mornings does help set a body routine and you are tired by end of day.  I absolutely sleep better when doing full morning workouts.  I am working my way back up.

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2 minutes ago, parent said:

I haven't taken melatonin, but my mom says it won't make you sleepy.  I think it puts you to sleep but doesn't keep you asleep.  One benedryl helps me sleep but I can wake if needed, not really groggy at all, but you know your body.

I'm not sure how I'd find out if it made me groggy without trying it, and I can't risk being groggy.  I don't really know my body because I've never tried those things.  

2 minutes ago, parent said:

Working out in mornings does help set a body routine and you are tired by end of day.  I absolutely sleep better when doing full morning workouts.  I am working my way back up.

 

The issue with working out, is that if my new wake up time is 3:30 a.m, then I assume for a morning workout to work it would have to be during those first few hours, and during those hours, I'm watching my son.  

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1 minute ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

I'm not sure how I'd find out if it made me groggy without trying it, and I can't risk being groggy.  I don't really know my body because I've never tried those things.  

 

The issue with working out, is that if my new wake up time is 3:30 a.m, then I assume for a morning workout to work it would have to be during those first few hours, and during those hours, I'm watching my son.  

Well, you could be in his room doing some quiet exercises, just keep up intensity.  Like rotate through squats, plies, crunches, lunges, yoga poses (if you know them).  Could get some handweights and do some upper body too.  Minimize rest time and just sequence through it, maybe 2 min each exercise for at least 20 min total.  Every movement counts.

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Just now, parent said:

Well, you could be in his room doing some quiet exercises, just keep up intensity.  Like rotate through squats, plies, crunches, lunges, yoga poses (if you know them).  Could get some handweights and do some upper body too.  Minimize rest time and just sequence through it, maybe 2 min each exercise for at least 20 min total.  Every movement counts.

 

Maybe, I could try.  

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While Benedryl DOES make me groggy, Melatonin doesn't, at all.  Other things to do to reset the rhythm (which, frankly consistency over time is the biggest factor) include:

1. Indulge in a set "wind down go to bed" routine, whatever that looks like for you.  

2. Practice mindful meditation/breathing once prone.  Even if not sleeping, lying prone like you ARE gives a certain kind of rest to the body and the mind meditations give a rest to the brain.

Just let me say, I admire greatly your love and dedication to all your family.  Best wishes for a quick turn around.

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8 hours ago, Slache said:

Stay up for 24 hours and your body will sleep when you want it to. Plan a project.

 

Doesn’t work for me. I become a walking hazard instead after two days of not sleeping and then I need to get a nice nap in the car ASAP while my husband drives. My worse was five consecutive days without sleep but I am an insomniac. 

8 hours ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

The issue with working out, is that if my new wake up time is 3:30 a.m, then I assume for a morning workout to work it would have to be during those first few hours, and during those hours, I'm watching my son.  

 

Benadryl doesn’t make me drowsy unless I am sick, then the exhaustion from the cold gets me sleepy and Benadryl provides enough symptomatic relief for me to sleep. So it’s really hard to say. 

Stretches work for me for predawn exercise. I have upstairs and downstairs neighbors so I can’t do stuff like jumping jacks. Tai Chi, pilates, yoga should work too. 

I sleep best when in motion so rocking chair and car rides works best for me. It’s great for power naps but not so comfortable for sleeping 6hrs. 

Lavender oil helps some of my friends. They drop a drop or two on their pillowcase.

 

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Melatonin is what your body natural makes to help set your biological clock. It tells you it is time for bed, but doesn't make you knocked out anymore than just normally feeling ready for bed does, if that makes sense. 

So when you normally go to bed at 3am, that is what melatonin would feel like. Like ready to go to sleep. 

But I agree that staying awake 24 hours is often a fix. 

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Yeah I have to stay up 24 hours, basically, to get a reset.  That plus making sure I wake up with an alarm consistently a few days on a row helps very much.  But being sleep deprived and then getting a solid, uninterrupted chunk in the new block and a firm wake time does wonders.
 

I also use a sleep mask, because even in a dark room my quality of sleep is significantly deeper with this mask.  It’s pretty much magic.

https://smile.amazon.com/Sleeping-Contoured-Blindfold-Concave-Meditation/dp/B07Q6WLX5J/ref=sr_1_5?crid=KRMEL4MLDM7D&keywords=mzoo+sleep+eye+mask&qid=1581434868&sprefix=Mzoo%2Caps%2C250&sr=8-5

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This doesn’t answer your question, but as an alternative, could you have a caretaker watch your son at night so that you and your husband can get decent rest?

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Just now, Rachel said:

This doesn’t answer your question, but as an alternative, could you have a caretaker watch your son at night so that you and your husband can get decent rest?


No, he needs someone with very very specialized medical training, like a PICU nurse, and at one point we looked into that although we didn't find anyone, but when we brought him home from the last hospitalization, we stopped looking.  His anxiety about being separated from us is really high, understandably both because of his history and his current situation, and I think it would terrify him to wake up with someone he doesn't know.  

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12 hours ago, Arctic Mama said:

Yeah I have to stay up 24 hours, basically, to get a reset.  That plus making sure I wake up with an alarm consistently a few days on a row helps very much.  But being sleep deprived and then getting a solid, uninterrupted chunk in the new block and a firm wake time does wonders.
 

I also use a sleep mask, because even in a dark room my quality of sleep is significantly deeper with this mask.  It’s pretty much magic.

https://smile.amazon.com/Sleeping-Contoured-Blindfold-Concave-Meditation/dp/B07Q6WLX5J/ref=sr_1_5?crid=KRMEL4MLDM7D&keywords=mzoo+sleep+eye+mask&qid=1581434868&sprefix=Mzoo%2Caps%2C250&sr=8-5

 

A sleep mask is a good idea.  I will think about that.  The waking up won't be an issue, since I'll be up six hours after I lie down.  I'm just not sure i can do the 24 hour thing, given how little sleep I'm running on.  Last night, my DH came back downstairs after about 3 hours and told me to go back to bed, so we each got about 2-3 hours.

We decided not to try tonight, today was a rough day, and the fact that both of us were functioning on about 3 hours of sleep didn't help.  So, we're going to rest up and maybe try again on the weekend.  

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Yikes -- 6 hours of sleep a night is not a healthy long-term plan for you and DH. It will impact your emotional and mental state, your sleep patterns, and it eventually reduce your effectiveness in caring for DS 10yo's health needs because of chronic sleep deprivation -- which will also take a toll on your relationships with all of your children. I saw all of those effects happen with DH who had reduced sleep hours and interrupted sleep patterns during his career as a firefighter/paramedic.

What about a helper who comes in for about 4 hours, and overlaps with you during the day or in the evening, so that DS 10yo gets comfortable seeing the helper daily, to the point where you and DH can either take naps, or extend your 6 hours of sleep to 8 hours. The helper could waken you if a health issue arose for DS, and the helper could otherwise be assisting with the homeschooling or household chores or cooking -- whatever allowed you and DH to get some extra rest.

I am sorry DS's health needs are so fragile and extreme. I pray you can find support soon.

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10 hours ago, CuriousMomof3 said:


No, he needs someone with very very specialized medical training, like a PICU nurse, and at one point we looked into that although we didn't find anyone, but when we brought him home from the last hospitalization, we stopped looking.  His anxiety about being separated from us is really high, understandably both because of his history and his current situation, and I think it would terrify him to wake up with someone he doesn't know.  

Poor guy! This sounds like an all around difficult situation. I was hoping with you and his dad being at home it would be more comfortable for him. 
 

It took my good friend years to find an overnight caregiver for her medically fragile son. She is a single mom and so often I wish I had the training and ability to help her and give her a break, but I don’t. Becoming friends with her has really opened my eyes to the difficulties some parents face on a daily basis. 

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9 hours ago, Lori D. said:

Yikes -- 6 hours of sleep a night is not a healthy long-term plan for you and DH. It will impact your emotional and mental state, your sleep patterns, and it eventually reduce your effectiveness in caring for DS 10yo's health needs because of chronic sleep deprivation -- which will also take a toll on your relationships with all of your children. I saw all of those effects happen with DH who had reduced sleep hours and interrupted sleep patterns during his career as a firefighter/paramedic.

What about a helper who comes in for about 4 hours, and overlaps with you during the day or in the evening, so that DS 10yo gets comfortable seeing the helper daily, to the point where you and DH can either take naps, or extend your 6 hours of sleep to 8 hours. The helper could waken you if a health issue arose for DS, and the helper could otherwise be assisting with the homeschooling or household chores or cooking -- whatever allowed you and DH to get some extra rest.

I am sorry DS's health needs are so fragile and extreme. I pray you can find support soon.

 

I know it's not ideal.  Nothing about this is ideal, but right now 6 hours is the goal.  

We have lots of help.  Both DH and I are on family leave right now, and we have another adult, either a family member or one family friend,  almost all the time that the other kids are awake.  Our other kids are fed and loved, and well cared for, and we are incredibly grateful.  But none of those people are at the point where we can leave them alone with him and go to sleep.   

More to the point, we've made a promise to our child that we'll be there, and we don't intend to break that promise.  He's had enough trauma, if he's less scared when we're there, then we'll be there.  

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7 minutes ago, Rachel said:

Poor guy! This sounds like an all around difficult situation. I was hoping with you and his dad being at home it would be more comfortable for him. 
 

It took my good friend years to find an overnight caregiver for her medically fragile son. She is a single mom and so often I wish I had the training and ability to help her and give her a break, but I don’t. Becoming friends with her has really opened my eyes to the difficulties some parents face on a daily basis. 


Having Dad at home makes an enormous difference for him and his quality of life.  It absolutely makes everything easier, and the world is just less scary when Dad's there.  I can't tell you what a gift it is that we are able to be able to do that, or how grateful I am to the people who've made it possible.  

I can't imagine doing this as a single parent without family support.  

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20 hours ago, CuriousMomof3 said:


Who me?  Not so good tonight, hopefully tomorrow will be better. 


I just thought that I'd come back and say that today was definitely better.  

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10 hours ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

 

I know it's not ideal.  Nothing about this is ideal, but right now 6 hours is the goal.  

We have lots of help.  Both DH and I are on family leave right now, and we have another adult, either a family member or one family friend,  almost all the time that the other kids are awake.  Our other kids are fed and loved, and well cared for, and we are incredibly grateful.  But none of those people are at the point where we can leave them alone with him and go to sleep.   

More to the point, we've made a promise to our child that we'll be there, and we don't intend to break that promise.  He's had enough trauma, if he's less scared when we're there, then we'll be there.  

What if you slept in the same room as him, while you had a medical worker there to handle any problems, or at least identify them and wake you if they happen? He'd have you in the room, so if he woke up he'd see you/know you were there, and/or the medical caretaker could wake you up? It would mean trying to sleep with a stranger/medical worker in the room, which might be hard for you, but maybe if you are tired enough that would be a solution? Pull a cot/bed/airmattress into the room where he sleeps and you sleep and he sleep and someone else does lifeguard duty?

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29 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

What if you slept in the same room as him, while you had a medical worker there to handle any problems, or at least identify them and wake you if they happen? He'd have you in the room, so if he woke up he'd see you/know you were there, and/or the medical caretaker could wake you up? It would mean trying to sleep with a stranger/medical worker in the room, which might be hard for you, but maybe if you are tired enough that would be a solution? Pull a cot/bed/airmattress into the room where he sleeps and you sleep and he sleep and someone else does lifeguard duty?


I used to sleep in his room, and count on the alarms attached to his equipment to wake me up, and for a while it worked reasonably well.  Well, sort of well, but there came a point as the alarms grew closer together, and my anxiety has increased, that my heart wouldn't stop pounding from one alarm to the next (usually several times an hour) so I wasn't sleeping at all.  I finally learned that if I stayed awake, and read or watched Netflix or something when I was watching him, and was able to keep an eye out and prevent some of the alarms, that I slept better later when it was my turn.

My husband is better at it, probably because he's a veteran and an LEO and used to adrenaline and shift work.  Last night, for example, my son was freaked out about something and wanted to sleep in Dad's arms sitting up in the rocking chair, and my husband was able to doze off and on, and let me handle the problem solving.  But that's not quality sleep.  He did get a nap today, and  assuming things go well, we'll divide tonight differently so I get a little more sleep.  

I'm not really looking to problem solve the 6 hour thing.  I think I can manage on 6 hours a night, if I actually sleep that much.  The last two nights, I probably didn't get 6 hours total between them.  That was rough, so I'm really hoping I actually get 8 hours tonight!

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1 hour ago, CuriousMomof3 said:


I used to sleep in his room, and count on the alarms attached to his equipment to wake me up, and for a while it worked reasonably well.  Well, sort of well, but there came a point as the alarms grew closer together, and my anxiety has increased, that my heart wouldn't stop pounding from one alarm to the next (usually several times an hour) so I wasn't sleeping at all.  I finally learned that if I stayed awake, and read or watched Netflix or something when I was watching him, and was able to keep an eye out and prevent some of the alarms, that I slept better later when it was my turn.

My husband is better at it, probably because he's a veteran and an LEO and used to adrenaline and shift work.  Last night, for example, my son was freaked out about something and wanted to sleep in Dad's arms sitting up in the rocking chair, and my husband was able to doze off and on, and let me handle the problem solving.  But that's not quality sleep.  He did get a nap today, and  assuming things go well, we'll divide tonight differently so I get a little more sleep.  

I'm not really looking to problem solve the 6 hour thing.  I think I can manage on 6 hours a night, if I actually sleep that much.  The last two nights, I probably didn't get 6 hours total between them.  That was rough, so I'm really hoping I actually get 8 hours tonight!

Can you get a nap during the day a few times a week, each of you taking turns?

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2 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

Can you get a nap during the day a few times a week, each of you taking turns?


DH can nap.  I'm not any better at turning off my brain at noon than I am at 9 p.m..  So, sometimes, like today, he'll nap and then tonight he'll get up earlier and let me sleep longer.  That's usually a strategy we use on days like today when we visited his Dad, so we had someone to be with the other kids, and when we were running on fumes because we'd each had about 4 -5 hours of sleep over 48 hours.  

 

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We stopped the quest to switch things.  We had picked a really bad day to try, in that the day after my attempt we had a long day of important medical appointments, with decisions to make, and neither DH or I was at our best because we were so sleep deprived.  

So, we're tabling it for a while, probably till Tuesday night.  We're planning to visit my father in law on Wednesday, which means that if the night goes really badly, we'll have extra hands for the other kids if we need to trade off being with DS10 and napping.  

DS has slept well the past two nights, and neither parent has needed to wake up the other, which is good.  So, we've both been able to catch up on sleep a little. We're back to our regular level of tired, and not crisis level exhaustion.  We'd still really love to make a schedule where I sleep first work,  so hopefully we'll have success on Tuesday night.  

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I ordered the blue light that @klmama suggested, but now I am wondering how to use it.  Any suggestions?  Imagine a schedule where I am hopefully sleeping 9p.m. to 3 a.m. and then need to be alert in a quiet dark space from 3:00 to about 7:00.  Ideas?

I am tagging @Ktgrok because I think I remember reading that you use light therapy 

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If you can do 8 hour sleep shifts and gradually change times by an hour or so per night it might be easier transition than one night having one bed time and the next night a 6 hours different one

I highly recommend: 

Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams https://www.amazon.com/dp/1501144324/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_Or1rEb5B4BGHE

 

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1 minute ago, Pen said:

If you can do 8 hour sleep shifts and gradually change times by an hour or so per night it might be easier transition than one night having one bed time and the next night a 6 hours different one

I highly recommend: 

Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams https://www.amazon.com/dp/1501144324/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_Or1rEb5B4BGHE

 

 

I agree that would be ideal, but there's no way.

 

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Just now, CuriousMomof3 said:

 

I agree that would be ideal, but there's no way.

 

 

Then I guess I’d pretend I was flying into a radically different time zone and use melatonin and light / darkness manipulation to help the reset 

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1 minute ago, Pen said:

 

Then I guess I’d pretend I was flying into a radically different time zone and use melatonin and light / darkness manipulation to help the reset 

 

That's what I'm hoping the blue light will do, but I'm just not sure how to use it best.  

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I didn't see this thread until today.  When I used to do nursing shift work I followed the jet lag advice I read somewhere, and either ate a high protein "breakfast" when I needed to be awake (sometimes this was a chicken sandwich, not eggs), and I bought some protein shakes to have when I couldn't stomach food. I've read somewhere that a high protein food at the equivalent of 8am in your new shift (or time zone) is the fastest way to adjust.

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I've never used blue light as a therapy, but it is said to keep people awake.  You're supposed to block it in the few hours before bed.

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Just now, Katy said:

I didn't see this thread until today.  When I used to do nursing shift work I followed the jet lag advice I read somewhere, and either ate a high protein "breakfast" when I needed to be awake (sometimes this was a chicken sandwich, not eggs), and I bought some protein shakes to have when I couldn't stomach food. I've read somewhere that a high protein food at the equivalent of 8am in your new shift (or time zone) is the fastest way to adjust.

 

I could definitely try that.  Make something to eat at 3 a.m..  Being awake isn't really the issue for me though, it's the being asleep part that I struggle with.  

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1 minute ago, Katy said:

I've never used blue light as a therapy, but it is said to keep people awake.  You're supposed to block it in the few hours before bed.

 

The suggestion that I was responding to is to use the blue light at the new wake up time in hopes that it would reset my clock and make falling asleep earlier easier.   Especially since the new wake up time is when it's pitch black outside, and I'm not in a position to turn on all the lights inside.  

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To make yourself sleepy, wear amber sunglasses for two hours prior to going to sleep. And then wear a sleep mask while sleeping. This keeps the blue light out so that your body will produce melatonin. Then, use the blue light to stop melatonin production and wake up. I would not recommend the blue light when your son is sleeping, though. Unless he wears a sleep mask, it is likely to disrupt his sleep. I got amber glasses at lowbluelight.com.

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Just now, Pronghorn said:

To make yourself sleepy, wear amber sunglasses for two hours prior to going to sleep. And then wear a sleep mask while sleeping. This keeps the blue light out so that your body will produce melatonin. Then, use the blue light to stop melatonin production and wake up. I would not recommend the blue light when your son is sleeping, though. Unless he wears a sleep mask, it is likely to disrupt his sleep. I got amber glasses at lowbluelight.com.

 

I'm wondering if I can put the blue light in the bathroom, because I imagine I would use the bathroom, wash my face, brush my teeth before I go downstairs and switch out with DH.  So, maybe I could use it then?  

I tried to find blue light goggles, but I could find were either light blue goggles, or blue light blocking glasses.  I was thinking maybe I could use those in DS's room.  I don't think he'd do well with a sleep mask.  

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1 minute ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

 

I could definitely try that.  Make something to eat at 3 a.m..  Being awake isn't really the issue for me though, it's the being asleep part that I struggle with.  

 

? Maybe Try melatonin 15 minutes to a couple of hours before bedtime. ?

There are liquid forms where dose is a dropperful, or 1/4 tsp or so, but you could start with just one drop, a tiny and deliberately probably useless dose, in order to not need to fear being incapable of rendering help if needed.  There may be a point where you get to a number of drops that would help falling asleep, yet without any grogginess if you needed to awaken for emergency. 

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I think an unfiltered computer or smartphone screen would give blue light .  You could probably go into bathroom and turn on a smartphone and come see what’s up on this site. 😊😁

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So in my mind, you are working a 05-17 shift. And getting up at 0300 to get ready for your day. So I would get up at 0300, and you can’t shower, but do all the other toiletries for the morning. You can certainly use the blue light then. Check the effective distance and angle for your light. 10 minutes, if you can manage, and maybe another 10 minutes around 0900 or 1000. 
I find that watching Netflix at that point in my day will put me back to sleep. So *I* would use that time to do things like make a cup of tea, fold laundry while listening to Netflix or an audio book, meal plan, order groceries to be picked up later. I would have supper around 1700. Then start my evening routine of getting ready for bed, planning to be in bed by 2030. I would take melatonin then, and be mentally prepared to sleep.

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