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This has been a lifelong pattern for him but now, it is wearing my mother (who has dementia) and myself out. He wakes up about 6pm and stays up until 5 or 6am. He rummages through things and tries to find his things all night. Should we try to change this lifelong habit or just go with it? If we go with it, what time should his sleeping pill be taken? Right now it is taken around 7pm and doesn't work until 5 or 6am. Any ideas? He INSISTS on getting a sleeping pill every night. Help!

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I agree with Jeanne, consult with a sleep clinic and see if they can't help you get your dad on a more convenient schedule for the sake of the family.

I'm also like jessiebelle, given a choice I would go to bed around 2:30 a.m. but we don't live in a world where I can do that and still get things done. But I have fought this my whole life. My body naturally wants to stay up late and I have to force myself to go to bed. And when I have early shifts in the morning my bedtime routine is such a high-maintenance schedule it's ridiculous the lengths I have to go to be able to go to bed early so I can get up early. I sympathize with your dad.
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It is remarkable to find others like myself. I'm a split shifter -- fine in morning and nights, but nearly fall asleep in afternoons. I think some of us are just on different clocks. If I had my way I would stay up to 2-4:00 each night. This worked fine when I taught night classes, but doesn't fit in with most people's lives. Those early doctor appointments can be murder.

Anyway... I make myself go to bed earlier, usually 11-12:30, depending on what I have to do the next morning. Strangely enough, even though I am time shifted in my mind, I feel better if I go to bed between 11-12:00. Maybe your father could discipline himself to do the same.

Jeanne, you and I ought to head to Hawaii. We wouldn't be able to afford to live, but it would fit our sleep cycle... at least until we shifted again.
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This one rings a bell for me, nursebecky. I have been diagnosed with Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder. My body is in Minnesota but somehow my internal clock thinks it is on Hawaiian time. I have been to a therapist specializing in this disorder twice. It can be overcome but it is a long tough journey that requires a lot of self-discipline.

Does your dad see the problem this is creating in the household? Is he willing to work on it for the sake of helping with your mom? (It is your mom who has dementia, right, not your dad?) It doesn't seem like the sleeping pill is doing him any good. If he is willing to work on it, the first step is to make an appointment at a reputable sleep clinic, to diagnose the exact nature of the disorder or disorders that are keeping him awake. Then when a care plan is established he may need help implementing it.

This pattern has apparently worked for him all his life. The only reason I can think of for changing it now -- and it is a very strong and serious reason -- is so that he can participate in his wife's care. If he is not willing to do that, then I think your best bet is to try to arrange things so that his pattern is least disruptive to you and your mother.

Good luck with this. Please let us know what you try and how it works.
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