Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A December Event: Insomnia

Today, or whatever today has been, has not been fun. I actually don't know what to call the current moment as last night I got zero sleep. That's right, none, and it seems to be a trend for December as I think back to previous years.

What kept me up? The simple answer is a racing brain. There was no slowing down my brain last night, or today's night, or whatever it was but my mind thought about anything and everything all at once. It wasn't a fun experience as I thought about today, tomorrow, and the next 12 months. Again, all these thoughts were all at once which made distinguishing thoughts difficult.

Another aspect thrown in was the sensory aspect. I was staying at a hotel and the heater was at a pitch and volume I'm not used to so each time I was on the verge of, perhaps, achieving something resembling sleep I'd be thrown right back in the world of being awake.

The primary issue, though, was that my brain would not stop processing. This used to be much more frequent in my life, but once the brain starts speeding up it's like trying to stop a boulder falling down a steep cliff. To make matters worse the longer this goes on the harder it is to stop.

There's one thing here that, unless you lived it, is probably very difficult to understand and that is what I mean by "thinking of everything." How does one think of everything? There is no metaphor here and this is something I mean as literal as possible. When I can't sleep due to the racing brain my brain is thinking about so many random things, and important things, all at once that there is no singular answer and the best way to describe it is to say that I am thinking of everything.

From what I've heard from others I know I'm not alone in these bouts of sleepless nights. I've had others explain it to me the same way I describe it here in that there is no pause button on thoughts. Imagine this; I can think in pictures and I can play out scenarios in my brain like a computer simulator. Sounds great, right? Most of the time it is except when it won't turn off and I want to sleep. Think of it this way; imagine trying to sleep with your eyes open and having five television screens with five different programs on. Would you be able to seamlessly fall into sleep? I think not.

It is interesting that December seems to be my month for these issues. I don't know if there's something to that or if it's just random chance. This isn't a self-fulfilling prophecy but I have felt this coming on as I've been nonstop for so long and haven't had a time to just decompress. It always seems as if the current era is my busiest but I don't know if I could top the past three months in terms of being busy. I've been home no more than two weeks total in this time and honestly, for me, it feels like it should still be September.

Moving forward I am going to have to keep in mind that I am in this state of sleep issues. My personal history tells me if I have one night like it there's a good chance it'll happen again soon. I'm hoping not tonight as writing this blog has certainly helped, but the next two days are nights I don't want it to happen due to early presentations. Somehow I was able to muster the inner strength to give two presentations this morning before quickly going back to the hotel and taking a much needed nap, but presenting after being up in excess of 24 hours is something I'd like to avoid. That being so I am going to attempt to go to sleep so hopefully, within minutes, today, whatever today may be, will be forgotten in a state of sheer sleeping bliss.

1 comment:

  1. Just out of curiousity, do you normally have a tv or radio on during the night to help you sleep? And, if not, have you tried that in order to have your brain focus on one thing rather than generate thoughts about "everything", as you put it? I know that can help some people who frequently have insomnia or just can't shut their mind down at night. Or what about a white noise machine if you'd rather not have actual conversations going around you at night? I don't know, but I'd sure like to be able to help you. The occassional sleepless night is enough for me, I can't imagine having them often.