Day Ninety-Three: Busy Brain Chronicles

Busy brain. It’s come up before. It’s the thing where I wake up in the night and just can’t get back to sleep. The assumption is it’s stress, but it’s not always stress. Sometimes it’s just… stuff.

Things are going well, but there’s a lot of things to go well. That’s what the busy brain is tossing around: maybe this is a kind of stress, but it’s not like ‘arrrgh’ stress. Just management.

Music soothes the busy brain

My wife likes music when she sleeps — she used to sleep with a TV on in the next room, low. And it’s nice when I can’t sleep to have something to listen to. She favours classical, I like world music and jazz (we trade off). It’s nice to have something to mentally dig into. Break down the different instruments, the different parts.

It’s possible that I’m waving off a warning sign. Waking up with management on my mind, even if there are no red flags or alarm bells. could mean I’m taking on too much. But I also deal better, overall, with a little bit of overload than with boredom. So if busy brain is the price of being kind of optimally busy, I’ll take it.

 

Day Eighty-Four: Sleeping In

Sundays are sleeping in days; often for me it’s a “get up, then go back to bed” sleeping in day — I get up with the cat, watch something dumb on Netflix for an hour, and go back to sleeping in.

There’s a school of thought that you should really sleep and get up at the same times every day. Which I kinda do. But the amount I sleep every day is less than the sleep I should get. Partly because of getting up in the night. So the question then becomes, is sleeping in for “sleep debt” better than keeping a steady sleep schedule?

I straight up don’t know; obviously sleeping the “right” amount every night would solve the problem. But that doesn’t seem to be in the cards. So I’m not sure if I’m setting myself up for success or failure by letting myself sleep in on Sundays.

So I turn my mind to ‘hidden costs’ — am I robbing myself of anything else by sleeping in on Sundays?

What does sleeping in cost?

Opportunity cost, I guess — but if it’s payback for getting up early on weekday mornings, there’s no lost opportunity. I’m pretty efficient and productive on weekday mornings. So losing “free” Sunday time for effective workday time is a good trade.

What else could I be doing with my early Sunday mornings?

  • Exercise, but recovery really is a thing, so taking mega-walks on Saturdays and having Sundays wholly off is something I’m down with.
  • Goofing off time, but that’s basically a different version of sleeping, and not as restful
  • Projects, but I don’t know if I’d be at my best to tinker with stuff when I’m sleepy on a Sunday morning

On the whole, I think the system works. It seems a bit silly in retrospect to run through all of this to arrive at “the current path is the best one,” but it’s important to head-check these things once in a while.

Day Seventy-Four: Birthday Insomnia

I started my forty-fourth year awake. A classic case of “busy brain,” no crises but just a lot of pains in the ass rolling around in my noggin. Mostly work-related, some volunteer-related. So I’ve been up off and on; from 11:30-12:30, then from 2:45-6:00, and got up at 6:50. I figure I’m running on about four hours of sleep. Yay birthday.

Exercise today was just stretching, partly tiredness, mostly time management — I still need to do this, have breakfast, shower, and be out the door.

Happy birthday, I guess

This is not the best way to have a birthday and start a year, but there are far far worse. Hung over, fatter than I am, and so on. I might be tired, but at least I can look at myself and say I’m making positive moves this year, which is nice.

I also got a really nice card from my wife, waiting for me on my keyboard, which is awesome. Also kinda passive aggressive “you only love your computer”  if I look at it a certain way, but I’m sure she didn’t mean it like that. I think she just knows I do this in the morning and wanted to surprise me.

 

 

 

 

Day Twenty-Nine: Perseverance in a World of Despair

Among the many things America’s Nightmare Clown President has to answer for, my sleep is among them. Bad sleep last night was not due to the cat, but literally waking up in the middle of the night in a world of despair.

For those of you who might be catching up on this in the future, yesterday was the height of the Nightmare Clown’s insane deportation order. It was also the day he tried to boot the heads of intelligence out of the National Security Council and insert his neo-Nazi intelligence officer onto it.

It’s hard to sleep in a world of despair.

Hard to stay sober, too. There’s certainly a new and different refrain almost 30 days into sobriety: why bother? Why bother exercising and eating well when there is literally an insane person in charge of the world’s largest nuclear arsenal? Why bother being sober when there’s good Vegas odds that the Nightmare Clown is going to start a nuclear war over a tweet?

Because the world needs you, is why.

The only answer I have off the cuff is a fundamentally arrogant one: I make a difference. It may not be a world-altering difference, it may not be epochal or earth-shattering. But just by being a decent human being and standing up to the Nightmare Clown, his propaganda machine, and his army of know-nothings, I’m making a tiny difference.

One of hopefully a billion tiny differences that can tip the scales back to sanity and decency and human progress.

I can’t be decent to other people, decent outwardly, unless I’m decent to myself. So while the Nightmare Clown can rob me of sleep, I’m not going to give him the satisfaction of robbing me of health.

Staying the course becomes another way of sticking it to evil, and the evil people trying to subvert what’s good about our world and our government. So in the end, it’s motivating. I’m going to get healthier, both physically and financially, by pursuing this course. I’ll have more vigour to fight and more money to fight with.

Up yours, Nightmare Clown. You and the jumped-up neo-Nazis you rode in on.

 

Day Twenty-Three: Sleep on Drugs

Speaking of sleep, drugs, and the number twenty-three, remember this movie?

It was terrible.

Anyway — after the Sunday not-greatness, yesterday was a kind of a slog, including a low-grade headache that chased me all day. I finally decided to take some nighttime ibuprofen before bed.

I slept like a log.

But does it count?

Is sleep on drugs real sleep? Does it count?

I feel like it’s cheating, somehow — I’ve never been a pills person; I resist even Aspirin for minor headaches. I’ve gotten the notion at some point that it’s better to power through and not take anything than to take stuff.

Which is weird, when you think of how much I’d been using alcohol as a stress reliever.

Sleep on drugs is probably okay. I’m sure, even though it’s not something I qualify as ‘real’ sleep, it’s better for me than a restless night, especially if it’s a very occasional thing.

Sleep on drugs vs. life on booze

Again, it’s weird to me that I’m resistant to medication, and I think that sleep with sleep aids ‘doesn’t count’. I’ve spent decades willing to think that alcohol is a perfectly acceptable way to relieve stress.

Before today, I’ve never really thought about that dichotomy.

Now that I’m thinking about it, it weirds me out.

Why have I been making a major life exception for one specific drug for so long? Especially one that’s proven itself to not be great for your health (physical, mental and financial)?

I’m not down on people who drink, by the way — I’m making personal changes for me because my “off” switch works a lot better than my dimmer switch when it comes to alcohol. It’s personally easier for me not to have a drink at all than to have that internal “can I have another drink?” debate.

But sleep on drugs is something that’s always bothered me, and I’ve always tried to avoid. Why is sleep on drugs bad, and relax on alcohol okay?

One to ponder. Huh.

 

Day Nineteen: That Darn Cat; Managing Sleeplessness

Friends, why do we own cats? Why do I own this cat?

I mean, I know why we own cats, but it’s a question that begs asking. Especially at 3:15 a.m. Especially when the cat is barreling across the bed like some short of hellish monkey-mosquito hybrid.

First, I like it when the trailer guy laughs when he says the word “hilarious,” because clearly the word “hilarious” does not sell the sheer level of hilarity of this giddy gale of gumshoe a-gogo.

Second, I had no idea there was a remake, and I now disavow any knowledge of the remake and we will never speak of it again.

Bad-sleep nights are bad. Thanks, cat!

I don’t have great sleep strategies. I wish I had sleep strategies. I suffer from what my wife calls “busy brain,” which is that I just start… thinking. It’s not bad thinking, not necessarily stress or worry stuff. Just planning my day, going over things, sometimes just, like, thinking about comic books I read once. Whatever.

So the big decision on bad-sleep days is whether to sleep in, if I feel like I can sleep but it’ll take me past my normal get-up time, or whether to just power through.

Today, I’m powering through.

I’m not sure this is a wise choice. The trade-off is this:

On one hand, I get to feel like I haven’t compromised anything, and I get my full day of stuff out of my day. I don’t feel rushed or anything due to having slept late.

On the other hand, I’m giving myself a daylong burden of managing my irritability and tiredness. I know I’m going to be cranky and not operating at 100% because I haven’t slept right.

In the “kill the bear!”* department, I know all of this is mangeable.  I know tons of people with kids. They handle this crap all the time. So that’s what tips me in favour of the less-sleep, manage-my mood decision — it can be done, so I know I can do it.

On the other hand, sleep would have been nice.

Cats are dumb.

*don’t kill bears