I have ALWAYS had insomnia. I remember being 13 years old and being awake at 3 am, 5 am, sometimes not even sleeping before class the next day. Going to college made things worse, and I pulled many all-nighters. No matter how sleepy I was, I found it incredibly difficult to fall asleep at a normal hour, and incredibly difficult to wake up early. Because I was not sleeping well/long at night, I was plagued by constant fatigue, muscle aches, and of course, overeating.
Since making the decision to be healthier, resetting my circadian rhythm has been an immense and ongoing challenge -- I couldn't just fall asleep earlier, no matter how many tips / tricks I tried, no matter how much exercise I did during the day. My inner clock was broken.
This article addresses how I fixed my own sleep schedule: www.humbledmba.co
-I get outside every morning (during/immediately after sunrise) for 30 minutes.
-I exercise at 6 pm (this increases my body temp for 4 hours, then it falls just as I'm ready to head to sleep, helping me naturally fall asleep)
-I use the f.lux software on my laptop to eliminate blue light emission after sunset, and I have eliminated all blue and green lights from my bedroom and keep it dark as possible. No TV after dusk, either.
Quite naturally, I fall asleep around 9-10 pm because of the previous 3 points, and I sleep soundly until about 6 am the next morning. The most important part of my success has to do with exposure to natural morning light (the sun is about 10,000 lux vs indoor lights of 500 lux -- you can try SAD lamps or other such things, but for me the sun is the most effective for "resetting" me each morning) and reduction of blue evening light (I don't even need to give up my laptop in the evening thanks to the f.lux software! I use that thing right up until bed). This shift in light patterns has turned this (seemingly hopeless) night owl to an early bird with more energy and control over my eating.
I hope this blog, and the link above, can help anyone else out there who may be battling with delayed sleep phase syndrome. No matter how deep in it you are, there is hope, if you want to change.
f.lux software (for Windows, Mac OS X, iPhone and iPad): stereopsis.com/fl