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Two versions of the same person, one in the morning looking awake and happy and one at night looking fatigued and unhappy

Night and Day: It’s Like I’m Two Different People

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m a morning person. I always have been and probably always will be. In high school, a period of time in most people’s lives when waking up at the crack of noon was the norm, I typically got up at 5:00 AM all on my own because… well, no reason really, I just did. I guess waking up before the rise of the sun allowed me to experience a moment of solitude that didn’t seem to exist at any other time. The majority of life around me was still asleep, and no one was trying to bug me. I enjoyed the silence; it was just me and my thoughts. Everything around me was so still. Sure, you could say the same about the night, but for me, the problem with that is that I might (nowadays) have my silence interrupted by an unexpected text message from someone else who’s also still up. Even with friends in different time zones, that’s seldom really an issue for me at 4:00 AM. I like being a morning person.

I’m a morning person for new reasons

But now, I am a morning person for different reasons. While multiple sclerosis (MS) now tends to make actually getting up and out of bed rather difficult, I still wake up really early. That right there is an important detail: waking up and getting up are two very different things. Just because I wake up doesn’t mean I get up, much like how going to bed feeling dead-tired doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy to fall asleep, as I’m sure many of you know from personal experience.

Starting my day early before the cog fog rolls in

Anyway, when all is going “right” in life, I usually wake up around 3:00 AM and get up to start my day at 4:00 AM because that is when I seem to be the most productive. I don’t want to say I have more energy, but I’m definitely less fatigued. Usually, the cog fog that clouds my day hasn’t really rolled in yet, so I can think a little more clearly, making it easier to plan out my day and get stuff done.

Rising early is especially important in the summer

This is especially true during the summer. I live in Southern California where the majority of the year is either a little too warm for my liking or so hot that I find myself wishing I could put myself into a medically induced coma for 6 months. You see, the hotter it is, the more my MS flares up and the less productive I am. My fatigue level skyrockets and my MS cog fog becomes so thick that I can barely remember my own name! OK, that may be a slight exaggeration, but I mean, seriously, things really just seem to shut down up there. Everything is terrible, and I don’t feel like me; I feel like a zombie. I hate summer! So, I’m sure you can imagine the appeal of waking up early before the giant fireball makes its way high into the sky and starts heating everything up.

Impact on my social life

The last time I wrote about me being a morning person, I think I talked about how it wasn’t good for a typical social life. Most people aren’t up and ready to interact so early in the day. Most people, especially people my age, want to hang out at night, well after my bedtime. I was able to pull off going out late before MS came into my life because I didn’t need that much sleep but, as of now, those days are long gone for me. Like I said, the later I stay up, the worse my MS symptoms get. Who I am in the evening doesn’t feel like who I am in the morning.

I feel like a completely different person

For example, in the morning, I can have a decent conversation with someone, but later on in the day? I can’t seem to figure out what I want to say, remember what we are even talking about, or properly form words as my speech starts to slur. I can’t perform tasks that 12 hours earlier were easy for me, and my mood rapidly deteriorates. I would say that when it comes to who I am in the morning versus who I am in the evening? It’s like night and day.

I’m sure most people with MS don’t get up as early as I do, but that’s beside the point. What I would be a little surprised to hear is that most people with MS don’t feel like who they are in the morning is different than who they are at night. Would you say that’s an accurate statement or do you not really think of it like that? Let me know in the comments below!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The MultipleSclerosis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • Janus Galante moderator
    4 days ago

    This weekend was pretty much a flop for me.
    Although I am naturally an early riser, if I get little to no sleep I can be up to stay around midnight or so.
    That will absolutely ruin me for a couple days. Until I can get caught up with some sleep which will allow me to stay in bed until 4 or 5 a.m.
    No sleep = all symptoms come back

  • Matt Allen G author
    7 hours ago

    Oh man, if I don’t get “enough” sleep my symptoms are terrible! Especially my dizziness!

  • mstini2013
    5 days ago

    You definitely hit it!! I don’t get up early, I e always been a “Sleeper ” I do however, try my best to roll out of bed around 10am. I’ve seen where more people with MS are saying that they get up early though, so I’ve been making an effort to get up earlier, say 7 or 8 am. I’ve noticed that I actually feel better and can get some things done. When that fog rolls in though for me at least, it seems to last for 2 or 3 days and then all I can do is SLEEP, literally, until it resolves….ugh. On those days, I can’t do anything. I make myself get up to eat, and I keep a drink nearby so I can roll over and take a sip so I don’t get dehydrated. That’s all though. I love your depiction of life with MS. You hit it head on!! Sometimes, although I do have great family and friends supporting me, I feel so alone with my feelings and these posts help change my perspective. Thank You for what you do!!

  • Matt Allen G author
    7 hours ago

    When I have those “thick fog days”, I can’t do anything, not even sleep (ironically). It’s like my brain is wired, it sucks, so I pretty much just sit around and wait for the fog to roll out so I can function… I’m definitely more irritable than usual on those days because doing the most simple things is so difficult, it’s so frustrating…

  • ashleymck1990
    4 weeks ago

    Matt I completely agree! Granted I don’t get up at 3-4am I do get up around 6 and function much better in the first few hours. Usually by afternoon and evening I have hit a wall! Heat also affects me greatly so that counters into effect during summer months here in southern Indiana, which in itself can sometimes be a roller coaster of what’s the weather going to be today. Enjoyed reading your article!

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 weeks ago

    That’s how it was in Colorado, I would leave work and it would be hot and sunny and by the time I got home (15 minutes later) it would be cold, pouring rain, and the sky would be flashing with lightning. OK, that was actually cool but it would also work the other way to which had a tendency to mess with my MS.

  • Kaos
    4 weeks ago

    Going to bed just 1 hr past my norm pretty much messes me up the next day. If I do that 2 days in a row, I’m messed up for 2 days. Then I have sleeping issues on that 3rd night and it’s just a landslide from there.

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 weeks ago

    I came down with a minor flu/cold last week and that totally messed up my sleep schedule and how I feel. I’ve been over that bug for a few days now but I’m still suffering from the effects of having not adhered to my routine. Crazy how just breaking away from your sleep schedule can throw you off track for days!

  • Foggy160
    1 month ago

    Wow this describes me, I am 2 different people. My mood changes from sweet to leave me the heck alone. Lol. My body at the end of the day goes from side to side, energy is gone, and my eyes need a good rest or they sometimes become blurry.

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 weeks ago

    Haha, I wonder how many people I have met in the morning that later talk to people I have met at night and are confused to hear how they describe me so differently?

  • Bkboo
    1 month ago

    I love mornings and always have gotten up early. I go to bed at 7pm and up at 3:30/4. BUT I use to go to bed late and get up early. Love the solitude. Bird are still sleeping. I get up and get on with my day. But in a few hrs. I will take Nuvigil to go to work, which ends at 1 but I do get tired by 3pm….. Of course depends on MS. I do feel in most cases that Im energetic in the morning and by 3ish Im a sloth!!

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 weeks ago

    Wow, I was wondering when I would meet someone who followed my same routine! You are describing me exactly!

  • mrsaristotle
    1 month ago

    OMG this is me to a T. I am a day and night person.

    I wake up at about 4am most mornings and i love to write my blog then or check on my friends on different forums.

    I live in the UK. I get up by 7am as i let my dog out. My breakfast by 8.30, then she goes for her walk i take her on my scooter. I always do all my chores early even make my main meal so its cooked and ready for my lunch. I love the mornings.

    Come 6pm I am in bed. exhausted. This has caused countless upsets with my family. I have missed DO’s, wedding receptions as such because by 6pm I just cant go out. I am way too tired.

    The battery has drained. I watch a little bit of a comedy usually MASH, then asleep by 7.30 or 8. I am up a lot for potty breaks. But mostly i manage a decent enough sleep if the pain doesnt get me. I take only one 2mg diazepam to help with spasm. I find sleeping with a blanket cage helps me as it stops my legs getting overheated.

    Yes i am day person. Night sucks.

    I do my best work in the early morning.

    After years of this habit my family still dont get me. My husband did. but not my family as i still get invited out in the evenings.

    I think my routine is down to working all my life. I used to always get up early for children, then work, and in the evening i would be pooped so went to bed early. I have never really been the sociable evening lets go out for drinky poos type to be honest.

    I am definitely 2 people. I feel great in the morning even if i am in pain, I have less cognitive issues. come 4pm I am a wreck a mess, less confident and just want to hide away from the world.

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 weeks ago

    There was a time before MS came into my life, that going out and staying up till 2 am was the norm but now? I could not IMAGINE doing that! Now, by 2 pm, I have no desire to be social haha.

  • mstini2013
    5 days ago

    I’m definitely not the night time person that I used to be. I worked 7pm to 730 am (or later) as a RN for many years which made it hard to change. I still stay up but as I say that, I mean, I’m in bed by 9 or 10pm, but I usually watch some tv until 11 or 12…..by then my meds are kicking in and I can sleep. I’ve been trying to get up earlier though, and I’ve noticed that I need to go to bed earlier. The heat definitely plays a huge role in how I feel and function. We are in Northern Michigan, on Lake Huron, so it’s very humid here which sucks, but I still love summer…..the evenings are much cooler. We camp ALOT, so I try to conserve as much energy as possible so that I can enjoy our evenings by the fire with friends, family etc. Sometimes it works and other times I have to check out early…..thank god everyone understands:)

  • rbj129
    1 month ago

    This is very interesting, but it’s the exact opposite of what I experience & I wonder if there are others here like me?
    Diagnosed with PPMS over 11 years ago at age 46, I’m self-employed & work at home so (usually) set my own schedule & have ALWAYS been a night owl. It didn’t take long to realize that my legs, brain & everything else work WAY better from about midnight until the sun comes up, which is inconvenient when dealing with most of the rest of the world. So I’ve learned it’s o.k. to (sometimes) stay awake for up to 53+ hours, which I NEVER could have done in my 20’s or 30’s. Naps are good, though.

  • Matt Allen G author
    1 month ago

    Wow! 53+ hours??? The longest I’ve ever made it (pre-MS) was 48, that’s crazy! I wonder why it’s like that for you, I’m sure you have but you might want to consult your doctor on that one.

  • rbj129
    1 month ago

    There’s SO much in life that doesn’t make sense & that humans (including doctors) don’t understand. I’ll keep asking ?’s, but if I can stay upright & keep moving, I’m good, lol.

  • doll1976
    1 month ago

    Im up by 4am every day!
    I try an make every appointment as early as possible! I start getting “weird “as the day progresses lol! I just don’t think right, I’m in a fog most definitely! I don’t like to go in public after 1pm. I feel like people think I’m stupid or something when I can’t find my words…ughhh embarrassing! I’m fine when I’m around family or good friends that understand and help me with my word’s. Lol funny but not funny! You said it..”Night and Day”! Take care, Andrea

  • Janus Galante moderator
    4 days ago

    Hi doll1976,
    this sounds like a carbon copy of myself! Up around 4 or 5, early appts. and especially early shopping before all the people come out!
    Dropped words, whole sentences or worse yet..complete thoughts gone in a second!
    Thanks for your post!

  • mstini2013
    5 days ago

    I lose my words too. My best friend actually fills in the blanks for me, but my husband doesn’t know how. He does the “And??” thing. it’s so frustrating!!

  • Matt Allen G author
    1 month ago

    Exactly! Around noon it’s like my brain switches off. I’m still “awake” but I’m a total zombie!

  • doctp12
    1 month ago

    Yes, I experience the exact same time schedule.
    Usually up at 3 AM, cannot get out of bed, really stiff and cramped, can barely make it to the shower, which defiantly helps. Then a healthy, early breakfast while everyone is sleeps and make my lists of things to do..or try to do for the day. The list is long and I NEVER get thru half of it! I am a physician and plan my surgeries as early as possible, knowing I’ll be dead on my feet by 2-3 PM. Get home and say that I’ll do some stretching or a trip to the Gym…NEVER happens! Usually, decompress, go on my computer, think about a few hobbies but just fall asleep. Sometimes I wake up in a few hours, skip dinner and back to sleep by 8 pm.
    At times, Nuvigel keeps me sharp thru the day, but also interferes with sleep, Xanax, for me relaxes muscles, puts me to sleep.
    This is no way to live, Was on Tysabri for 8 years, felt miserable, now on Ocrevus for about 2 years…seems more flare ups with Ocrevus where both legs don’t function well, severe pain and cramping. The flare ups were not as often on Tysabri, but I just felt lousy.
    Is it the MS or the drugs? doctp12

  • Matt Allen G author
    7 hours ago

    Wow, that sounds exhausting even without the MS! How early do you take Nuvigil? I try to take it as early as I can so that it DOESN’T keep me up at night. Also, MS or drugs? Probably a combination of both… I wish I had a solution for that one but like most people, I’m still trying to figure that out.

  • mstini2013
    5 days ago

    I’m on copaxone Injections 3x a week…not that I like doing the injections, I definitely don’t, BUT, I haven’t had any new lesions since I’ve been diagnosed in 2014. I do have random pseudo flares though if I do too much, if it’s too hot, if I don’t eat right etc. I’m retired now since December 2018. I definitely miss my job as a RN.. …but I’m too forgetful and way too tired to do it anymore. I make plans, but try to keep things simple for myself which helps. Sounds like you are maybe doing too much?? Health care is not only physically straining, but mentally straining as well. Kudos that you are. able to keep it together in such a stressful situation. I will keep you in my prayers.

  • Toddlius
    1 month ago

    @Matt Allen G : I like to stay up late watching TV and “sleep” (broken) until 8-10 AM. I don’t have the energy to go out late though.

  • Matt Allen G author
    7 hours ago

    Yeah, that’s part of my “wind-down” period. Watch some TV/Netflix wgile eating dinner and for the hour before the 1 hour period of time before bed that I try to turn off all my screens.

  • TraciDL
    1 month ago

    Definitely 2 or 6 different people every day. You are very good at putting into words what ms is like to live with.

  • Matt Allen G author
    1 month ago

    Haha, 2-6 sounds more accurate but for the sake of simplicity and staying on the subject, I stuck to the 2 most common sides of this coin.

  • Lupe
    1 month ago

    You are not alone. I do the same thing. I still work so it’s beneficial for me because I start work by 6:30am and out by 3:00pm before my brain and body wears out, not to mention I avoid traffic. I miss the days of bowling on 4 different leagues after work and partying on the weekends. But, oh well. My cellphone and tv have replaced all that. It is my form of entertainment these days. Good thing I pretty much have always been a morning person, just not THAT early. Lol

  • Matt Allen G author
    1 month ago

    Well, I definitely miss bowling after work but I could do without the parties. Me + alcohol = NO… just no.

  • michclaud
    1 month ago

    I have the same schedule. I am awake at 2, watch television until 5 can’t do very much once the sun goes down but I still bowl on my Monday night league. Not well but it’s still the one night I get out with my friends and we laugh a lot. I have gone from a 160 average to finishing last season with a 100 average. But I am still out there.

  • vvxjr9
    1 month ago

    Lupe – I am glad that you are able to go to work every day. I loved my job, but between the pain, fatigue, and cog fog, I just couldn’t concentrate and do things correctly like I was able to do in the past. It was embarrassing and very upsetting to me. I was hoping that I would be able to keep working until I couldn’t do it anymore. I really miss going to work, but the other things I also had to give up bowling and dancing every week and so many more enjoyable activities I used to do, but can no longer do.

  • caya1430
    1 month ago

    Matt, I am so glad and appreciate this article because it describes exactly what I have been experiencing this past year. I noticed from my progression, that I too, am a morning person than night nowadays. The cog fog is something I just can’t shake off, ever, but because of the afternoon/evening fatigue after work, I am toast. I cannot concentrate let alone carry a conversation with anyone. My brain is done after a certain time. My brain wants to shut down and I can’t stay awake long enough to even go out for a late night. That’s not happening. It saddens me because I was that person to go out and dance the night away. I looked forward to getting “dolled” up for it. The morning hours is when I am most productive and clear thoughts. Ugh, I don’t know how to make it better. I can’t rest or nap because I still work. My fear is when I am a complete “zombie” and my memory and attention affects my work performance. Only time will tell but I continue to push forward. Thank you for listening.

  • Matt Allen G author
    1 month ago

    I assume you take medication to help keep you awake for work? For me, Nuvigil does what coffee used to do for me. But it only lasts a little while and even then, sometimes I am MENTALLY exhausted but PHYSICALLY I still feel energetic which is a terrible combination. But who knows, maybe that’s just me?

  • Bkboo
    1 month ago

    Yes, I find that too on Nivilgil….depends on MS and how tired I am…

  • ToyaMoore
    1 month ago

    We are in the same boat friend. I also live in Southern California. Palm Springs area specifically. I always thought it was strange that I would wake up at 3 am and feel so “clear-headed.” I thought I was some type of insomniac and tried to force myself to sleep for hours until I finally realized this is my most productive hours. Started hitting the gym by 4 to 5 and feeling much better for it. Good luck on your MS journey.

  • Matt Allen G author
    1 month ago

    Oh man, Palm Springs, I really can’t imagine living there. I used to date someone who worked out there and when I had to pick her up, it was terrible, even with the A/C!

  • pmdpeace
    1 month ago

    Matt, I’m interested in knowing what time you go to bed? I feel like a different person at any given time 24/7. It depends on my symptoms, the time of year, the weather and my level of activity.

  • Matt Allen G author
    1 month ago

    Lately? 7:00. Lol… As a kid I always wanted to stay up, bedtime was the worst, but now? As an adult? I CAN NOT WAIT to go to bed!

  • jimenezdl
    1 month ago

    Let’s see…I’m generally a morning person, although I don’t get up that early lol, but I’m pretty much up by 7A. As you mentioned earlier, just because I’m up, doesn’t mean, I’m up, but I push myself to get out of bed and the day going because I do know by the end of the day, I’m dead-tired. I’d say that’s a pretty accurate statement.

  • Matt Allen G author
    1 month ago

    I think all we can do is be awake/work/get stuff done when we have the energy to do so (however early that is), but I think most would agree, my schedule is a little more on the extreme side haha

  • doctp12
    1 month ago

    My experience is the same as yours!! I make sure to stay well hydrated and eat small meals during the work day.
    What MS drug are you taking, how long and what MS do you have and for how long? doctp.

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