Medicine: Night Owls

Resetting the bodily clock

Evelyn King, a housewife and mother in her 50s, says that she was already plagued by insomnia in infancy. By college, King was resorting to barbiturates, but still she rarely dozed off before 3 a.m. Her life became a struggle. Any activity before noon was agonizingly difficult.

To doctors who specialize in such disorders, King belongs to a category of insomniacs dubbed "owls." For reasons that still baffle medicine, they are totally out of harmony with the workaday world. Only such tactics as copious infusions of coffee keep them awake when they are forced into a 9 a.m.-to-5 p.m....

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