I need sleep. I need to get on a decent schedule. But here I am again, 2:00 AM, I’m too whipped to game, but procrastinating going to bed. I almost fear it for some reason.
Is it just me? The only time I enjoyed going to bed was when I was on Ambien. But I was afraid that was going to wreck my brain long-term so I stopped taking it several years ago. It almost feels like when I was a little kid, and I hated going to bed then as well. Like I never grew out of that. I’m sure spending weeks in a coma only strengthened that fear of sleep, but this is really messing with my life right now. It’s not healthy.
I disliked going to bed a lot over the last few years. I was burned out. Still am to some extent. The issue was knowing what would confront me when I’d wake up - a job I hated doing. Mixing that with shift work didn’t help, where every fortnight I was meant to be awake from 10pm to 7am and getting flogged with endless work coming in. There’s this quote I remember reading in a book a while back. I’m paraphrasing because I don’t remember it well, but the context rung home. People who have something to look forward to have a reason to go to sleep. That sounds crap, but I hope the meaning comes across. I don’t comment much, but I know you’ve been through a lot and it will have taken its toll on you.
I agree with Adam B.
There’s one thing that helps me doze off and that’s listening to podcasts or youtube videos. Avoid screens where possible, but having people talk about stuff seems to do it. Unfortunately, you have to be choosy and hope it isn’t some asinine media that has sudden loud noises through the middle of it.
I used to for 30 years of my life, but not anymore. I hope you find a solution that works for you Jeff.
Newsless void is a good first step in my opinion, although I tended to fill that void with other stuff that was just as noxious, if not worse, so I’d be wary of that.
What helps me if I can’t sleep is to put something relaxing on in the background. Nature programs are great for this. Perhaps try some Richard Attenborough documentaries. I like listening to long play game analysis or electronics shows on Youtube. The key thing is to find relaxing content that is just interesting enough to distract your mind without fully engaging it.
Sorry to hear about your difficulties Jeff. What we do is put on a white noise generator in the bedroom at night at a fairly low volume and then I will read before bed which often tires me out. There are definitely times when my mind is racing but thankfully those times are few and far between.
I’m not exactly anxious about sleeping; I just don’t want the night to end, ever. Have found laying in bed listening to a podcast with familiar voices keeps me there until sleep takes over. Old episodes of Jason McMaster and Tom talking about a game I don’t myself play work well. :)
I’ve never had problems myself, fortunately. I normally get into bead at around 11:30 (sometimes a little past 12) and read for 30-45 minutes. I would concur to try to limit access to anything that causes stress during the evening. Stay away from social media and even the forums. I like to have a nice hot bath before going to bed. Anything with a backlight is probably not a good in the late evening.
My wife just finished a book all about sleep. Apparently eating or drinking anything (other than water) in the evening gets your internal furnace busy digesting the food and alcohol, and will challenge your ability to sleep (and to sleep well, getting to the deepest more restorative REM cycles, or whatever it is). I have to say, we follow a strict no snacking / alcohol after suppertime (just tea) during the week, and we sleep waaaaay better than the weekend, where we cheat and have chips and beer and go to bed later. That said, there are other obvious variables in play, like work/school for kids, general tiredness from stress etc.
Hi Jeff. I’m kind of not surprised by this post, sadly. I noticed a couple of your posts last night fairly late and though “Oh, man, that poor guy.” I recognized the behavior as something I’ve seen myself and others do too.
One thing that’s way too easy to do (and I am absolutely GUILTY here) is to let the internet send you into a nervous spiral. It’s especially easy during the pandemic, and with lockdowns, etc. The injustices of the world, the venal outrages of public figures and politicians…it all somehow magnifies past bedtime. And it can feel like the weight of those circumstances fall squarely upon us as individuals to do something. Late at night our brains trick us into thinking these things have become our own responsibility.
It’s a tough tightrope to walk, I know. We all want to be aware of those around us and we want to be empathetic and good citizens to our fellow humans for sure! But there also comes a time when we have to realize that we’re just borrowing troubles from others to no good end, adding unnecessarily to our own anxieties. And internet outrage has the nasty effect on our psyches in that it makes us want to seek out more fuel for that mental fire. Which just is no good for anyone’s health. And worst is, we end up lying awake at night with the realization that we’re losing sleep and it only adds a force multiplier to the anxiousness keeping us awake.
Don’t be afraid to put the world away at night. Close the browser and social media. Definitely take the advice offered by others here of listening to a podcast or just some nice, even-volumed music.
Falling asleep has often been a problem for me. When I was young, I would literally have to read myself to sleep. I think the suggestions offered are good. Years ago, I downloaded hypnosis apps to my Kindle Fire. I don’t put any stock in hypnosis, but I find the narrator’s voice very soothing. I’m not a big classical music fan, but I find that having classical playing on Spotify or whatever can also help. (You have to find the right tempo, though!)
More personally and probably less relevant: I also find that my imagination helps. I try not to think of the present (that will agitate me); rather, I go back to childhood and think of the imaginary activities I did and kind of re-engage with those. Sometimes I put myself as a long-lost son of Amber and wander through Castle Amber and its environs (especially when I’ve recently reread the Chronicles of Amber).
Mate, I feel you. I have struggled with sleep a lot.
The routine is super important - you have to find something that works for you, that puts you in “the zone” of calmness.
My routine is simple. I decide when I SHOULD go to sleep and work back from there.
At least 1 - 1.5 hours before, I stop computer gaming / doomscrolling. I set all my notifications to night mode and shut down my computer(s), switch off my iPad and set my phone to charge. The only electronic device am allowed to use in this period is my kindle paper white (or my iPhone streaming audio to wireless headphones). There are so many interesting podcasts out there - I could give some recommendations, from thoughtful and profound to the superficial and profane. All tastes are catered for.
I take any meds I need at this point, run an extremely hot bath and soak in it, reading on my kindle in candlelight / listening to an audio podcast for about 45 minutes. (The content must be something interesting / educative - avoid falling into the trap of reading or listening to unsatisfying garbage - which is simply “doomscrolling” by other means. Read books that educate you, listen to podcasts that inspire you.) I then get straight into an ice cold shower and I try to stay in there for at least 3 to 5 mins. Ideally it is cold enough that you struggle to breathe - which means for that period of time you are de facto meditating (I struggle to meditate the “conventional” way). After this you should feel as if your brain has rebooted - any ruminative thoughts / remnants of mental garbage from the day have been washed away.
If I follow this routine I drop into bottomless sleep within minutes of my head hitting the pillow.
If the idea of sleeping makes you anxious, ritualize it and make the process to get there pleasurable. Everyone is different, but I hope this is of some use to you.
I was never a big fan of sleeping, I always rather be doing something! At night, that usually meant playing games, but sometimes I’ve binged on a show that my wife wasn’t interested in like Breaking Bad.
Over the last several years (decade?) I’ve got a better understanding of what sleep does for your health. Part of that is seeing it for myself and getting higher blood pressure readings when I’ve been depriving myself of sleep. I feel better too when I get enough sleep. I’m less prone to eating too much junk when I’m not staying up real late.
Sure, i do stay up too late sometimes, but it isn’t every night like it used to be. Find a routine that helps you get in a sleeping frame of mind. I like to read in bed. I usually don’t last too long because it gets me drowsy, which is what I want.