Why can I only sleep in the morning?

This question was asked in Haymarket, Virginia on 05/10/2013.
I feel that I get my deepest sleep from 7:00 - 10:00 a.m. every day. If I can't sleep during those hours I get migraines and can't concentrate. Could this be true? Can I change this or are some people just wired as either night or morning people? Thank you.

Doctors Answers (2)

J. Douglas Hudson, MD, DABSM
Answered on: 5/15/2013

It sounds as though you have what we call "Delayed Phase Syndrome". This is most common in teenagers but due to jobs, school, family, etc. most people adjust to a more normal sleep/wake pattern. However, some don't adjust. Shift workers have a particularly difficult time adjusting to a normal schedule. You use the word "deepest" sleep which may be the most consistent sleep without interruption but most of the time our early morning sleep is REM sleep (the lightest sleep) which is also restorative sleep. You can change your pattern but it will take some work on your part. If you sleep until 10 AM I must assume you are either unemployed or can work whenever you wish. Changing a circadian rhythm is not easy. Again, I assume you don't go to sleep or stay asleep much of the night. Much of the history is missing such as medications tried, etc. We often begin with light therapy. A bright light (especially blue light band) at 9:30 AM to "make your day begin". After a few days go to 9 AM then 8:30, etc. You may need medication to induce sleep at first. Use FDA approved sleep aides, not over the counter medications which adversely affect your sleep patterns. Don't sleep late on weekends. The opposite of what you have is called Advanced Phase Syndrome. These folks go to bed early and arise early. I think you will, in time, get your normal sleep and this should work as well for your headaches. Morning headaches may be caused by sleep apnea and oxygen deprivation.

Vector Sleep Diagnostics Center
Answered on: 5/14/2013

You obviously have insomnia that has many causes including primary insomnia when there is no obvious trigger or cause. Treatment of chronic insomnia requires complex care that may include medications, psychological support and behavioral and psychological intervention. You may benefit from a consultation with a sleep disorder specialist.