Sleep is a complex matter. There’s little known why some sleep like logs and others are restless insomniacs.
I’ve come across lots of people who sleep poorly and plenty who won’t be awoken by an earthquake.
It’s a strange phenomenon that people can differ so much in their sleeping patterns.
I’ll sleep great for a week or two days. Suddenly, without rhyme or reason, I hit the wall, and the restless nights start over again.
I can’t ever pinpoint a reason my sleep went from perfect to lousy.
It happens seemingly out of the blue and gives me a “wake-up call:”
“You’re doing something wrong!”
My sleep problems go one of 2 ways
1 — I fall asleep quickly but then wake up 3 hours later.
Once I’m awake, there’s no way I’m falling asleep again. I lie there tossing and turning, wondering why my brain won’t let me sleep.
I notice multiple odd thoughts and mini-dreams wildly stumbling through my mind, which is what’s keeping me awake.
I don’t know where these frantic dreams and thoughts come from. Mostly they’re about things that happened many years ago or never at all.
All I know is, my mind will not shut down and I can’t sleep.
It feels as if a switch was turned on in my brain telling me to stay awake and think. It’s a bizarre feeling.
I won’t lie there feeling anxious or stressed, I’m actually calm and at ease.
That sensation puzzles me even more.
I silently say to myself:
“Why don’t you just leave your thoughts until tomorrow, shut down your mind, and sleep.”
Each time I hope my calming thoughts will send me back to a state of deep sleep, yet it doesn’t happen.
I’m forced to lie there until morning, then get up feeling like I was hit by a train.
2 — I can’t fall asleep at all.
Those are the most frustrating nights. When I find myself tossing and turning for more than 2 hours, I know I’m done for — I won’t get any rest tonight.
Oddly, when that kind of night happens I wake up feeling tired, but soon recover and feel more or less normal again, despite not sleeping all night long.
That’s where I believe the difference lies — you “think” you didn’t sleep, but it’s likely you did several times, but don’t know it.
That’s the only logical explanation I have as to why I feel better after a “zero sleep” night than after a “3-hour sleep” night.
Breaking the sleepless cycle
It’s tough to break back out of a sleepless cycle.
After 2 or 3 nights of waking up too early, your body clock adjusts to this pattern and simply wakes you up — just like with jetlag from a long-distance flight.
That’s my observation and best guess.
I’ve tried several of the recommended methods to break out of the poor sleep habit.
1 — Meditate longer before bedtime.
2 — Read before sleep.
3 — Don’t watch TV or be on your phone/laptop for at least 2 hours before it’s time to turn in.
They rarely work for me.
I do admit that I often work too long and late on my laptop, then experience a sleeping problem. That may be my biggest self-inflicted culprit.
My work is never done. In the evenings I feel I can catch up more easily as it’s quiet and without distractions.
However, is worth causing these sleepless nights by working too late?
The fix I’ll begin working on tonight:
1 — Stop working 2 hours before bed.
2 — Meditate for 30 minutes.
3 — Read for 30 minutes in my living room.
4 — Go to sleep with a tired and calm mindset.
I used to have terrible sleep for years. That was due to my workload and overstressing myself in my younger years.
At the time it eventually made sense and I managed to get my sleep under control once I turned the heat down on myself.
My on-and-off poor sleep pattern in recent years is probably down to a few personal matters that I’ve gone through — distractions and anxiety in the subconscious mind.
Plus the stress I have caused myself with my work and insistence on staying up late writing until I can’t write anymore.
Looking after yourself and not pushing yourself too hard with your work is absolutely vital for your overall metabolic and mental health.
It’s vital to learn and accept that enough is enough — you need your rest!
As a professional health coach, I should know better and not push myself every night working late trying to get too many things done that causes me to lose sleep.
I will improve my habits from now on and hope to report back in a couple of weeks with an improved sleep cycle.
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