Here’s something that I picked up recently …a sleeping disorder. Not sure what brought it on. Might’ve been the mid-life crisis, might’ve been the 2 job changes in a year, might be the pressure of starting a new job and putting my entire mind, body, and soul into it. Or a bad mattress.
I’ll save you the gruesome details (which aren’t all that gruesome), but the problem was never falling asleep, but it was waking up and then trying to get back to sleep. I’d lay awake, some nights, for hours and sometimes for so long, it would be time to wake up and start the day. It wasn’t fun, and the more nights it happened, the more angry I was with myself for not being able to relax and get myself back to sleep.
Then something happened, I complained to a group of friends – all about my same age and in similar points in their career and life-cycle, raising kids, saving for college, and stuff like that. Turns out, it’s not uncommon. This never, ever happened in my 20s or 30s. But now, as I had begun my fifth decade, I was floating through my days on 5 hours or less of sleep.
In 2014, I resolve to figure this sleep thing out. It started last night with an earlier bed time, no computer screens or iPad or iPhone screens, and when it’s time to sleep …total darkness. I even bought a sleep mask.
Last night, it seemed to work. Except that the sleep mask was a little too tight (felt like it was pushing my eyeballs into my skull, which became another source of worry) and it’s electric-green, so my wife and daughter laughed at me when they thought I was sleeping. But I will say, I did fall quickly asleep, and the three times I woke up, I got back to sleep pretty quickly. And I made sure all laptops and devices were outta my bedroom, and I closed my door.
And I don’t know if it’s real or a placebo effect, but I felt more alert today. And even though I missed the Golden Globes, which I selfishly wanted to watch, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter.
Yay, me! Anyone else ever have trouble sleeping due to an inability to turn off their thinking brain? I’ve talked to at least 2o dudes my age who knew exactly what I was going through.
What are your tips? Tricks? Comment or Tweet at me @donkowalewski.