They say the older you get, the less you sleep, or the more sleeping problems you may have. That may or may not be true. I, for one, have suffered from insomnia throughout most of my adult life, starting around the age of 25. Why is that? It’s complicated — and this is only a short story about the subject.
Well, without a doubt, in my case, it boils down to stress, conscious or subconscious stress. The two can be hard to separate and indeed diagnose. But I’ve certainly learned a few things about this tiring issue, which has helped me deal with it better along the way.
However, it’s a strange phenomenon — I have reoccurring sleep issues, which frustrate and flatten me at times. Still, I do eventually manage to get it under control. The reason for that is when you are overtired; you just don’t think and process clearly, so you forget logic and slip into old habits, which take time to recognize and correct. Finally, I look around my environment and situation to understand the root of the problem. Then you can begin to fix it, and it works once you know what’s going on with your mind.
Stress is, without a doubt, the most significant cause of insomnia. And the problem with stress is you may not even know that you are stressed, as you often don’t feel stressed because you think you “got it.” Yet your subconscious mind isn’t happy and plays silly billy with you until you wake up and deal with the underlying problem.
When it first happened in my twenties, I was super stressed building a business and drinking too much, trying to suppress it all and have fun. The sleeping issues got worse and worse, so I drank more, which led to me feeling terrible and sleeping even less. So that didn’t work.
Sleeping pills also don’t work; they knock sideways for a while, you get addicted, used to them, and then need a higher dose — a slippery slope!
I fought for years to fix that one, and I did by staying up late and getting up early, without the booze. Man, that was tough, as sometimes I still didn’t sleep but had to pull off the regime for a while — but it worked, eventually.
Sleepless Nights in Paradise.
Right, so I’ve had some sleepless nights here in Bali of late again. First of all, I’m a light sleeper, so getting to sleep and staying there isn’t easy if there’s any sort of noise.
There are, however, some other simple reasons for poor sleep, which are easy to fix if you recognize them.
- Room temperature
- Mattress comfort
- Bed comfort
- Watching too much TV
- Phone screen time (blue light)
- Overworking and thinking
… to name a few
Why was I sleeping poorly in my little paradise, and how did I fix it?
Well, I’ve been working hard (yes, we do, even in Bali), and there’s been a lot of pressure to get things done for my work and to make money. It hasn’t been easy during this crazy pandemic for most of us to make ends meet, that’s for sure.
I also thought that “I got this,” I’m not stressed; all is good. But, the bottom line is, even if you can suppress the conscious feeling of stress — so you aren’t aware of it, oh boy, your subconscious mind won’t let you off the hook.
What was happening was I’d go to bed thinking I’m good, relaxed, and ready to sleep, then the mind starts racing and playing silly billy (as I said above), and you are all over the map with your thoughts. That’s a big problem as it really IS NOT easy to control or eliminate.
So I first had to recognize this was going on and then talk about my thoughts with friends, but friends you can trust aren’t easy to come by, especially in a foreign country you don’t know well!
Luckily, I found such a friend let off steam and released my concerns by talking openly and honestly about them. That was a great help — thank you, my friend, for this.
Next, I made a conscious effort to stop screen time by a good hour before sleep, watched a mundane movie, and didn’t turn off the lights too early, even if I felt like sleeping. I pushed myself to stay awake longer than I would like, knowing that I’d have less sleep than I wanted to.
But I figured out it’s way better to have 5 or 6 hours of decent sleep than trying to sleep for 8 hours — by going to sleep too early — which didn’t work.
It worked, I broke the cycle, and I’m sleeping better again, from 11:30 to 6:30, and I feel good all day. Oh yes, I feel tired come 1 pm, or so, then I go for a 20-minute nap, which rejuvenates me to hit the rest of the day with full power!
I hope you sleep well, and if you don’t, please try what I suggested, or send me a message, and we can talk in the middle of the night when we are awake instead of sleeping!
Thanks for reading.