anxiety · life · sleep habits

Getting Up Early

Kicking the habit of going to bed late and waking up late is not easy. Even on nights when I have stuff planned for the next day and have to be up early to catch the subway train, I find myself thinking up excuses to delay shutting off my lamp. The worst is physically being in bed with the lights out and still worrying about whatever tomorrow has in store for me. If I don’t fall asleep. If I don’t fall asleep for another half hour. If I sleep badly and wake up with a headache. If I sleep poorly and am too tired to be motivated to go.  If I do go out. If I don’t go out. If I get there early. If I get there late. If I change my mind about my plans. If I show up but get too nervous to tell anyone there that I’ve arrived. If I get lost on my way there. If I get there but don’t go in.

I’d like to be well rested and wake up early. I know wishing something was true won’t change anything. Nothing can happen without effort on my part to change my habits. The nights in which I am obligated to set my sleep schedule to an earlier time, I feel myself subconsciously resisting it as the minutes tick by. It’s like telling myself in my head that in a half hour, I will put my phone on silent for the night and go brush my teeth. But I don’t. Most of the time, depending on what I do before bed, it’s usually something to distract myself with and help me unwind. Listening to a podcast. Working on a cross stitch. Reading a book chapter on my Kindle.

The bad part is although I mean for these activities to aid in relaxation, I find that after I finish something, like the podcast episode has reached its end or I completed a section on the cross stitch or I read to the end of the chapter on the Kindle, it seems my mind is still running at high speed. I’m unsure what word to use to describe it. Sometimes it does feel like I want more, but other times it feels as if I want it only because I’ve finished something and am bored. Almost like I can’t stand the stillness around me and need more activity to keep me going. The downside to this is I end up doing stuff but not being fully present or fully paying attention to what I’m doing at the moment because I can feel my body getting tired yet somehow my mind continues to want a distraction. I wonder if this dysfunction is because of anxiety. My theory is that because I don’t get to experience the everyday fulfillment of interacting with people frequently and regularly with consistency, my mind is often bored and searching for ways to entertain itself at inappropriate times at night when I should be spending my energy on sleeping. I do think it’s an innate instinct in humans to want to be social and I believe this is true for me even though I tell myself I’m fine with mostly being alone.

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12 thoughts on “Getting Up Early

  1. Maybe you are nocturnal, at least mentally. I too find kicking the habit of sleeping late so, so hard and have yet to do that. I’d wake up tired, go to work for the whole day, feel tired at work but the moment the sun sets, I perk up. I feel less tired (still tired) but my mind is so active and alive. And it is this time of the day I feel I can be most productive 😦 But I think it shows on my face that I don’t get a good night’s sleep – my dark circles. Then again, I’ve always had rough sleep, and maybe it is due to anxiety.

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    1. I feel like my mind is active all the time too, except I don’t have a daily outlet to keep myself on my feet and busy all day. I’d like to, but I have no idea where to get that. I’ve thought about sports but I suck at all of them (no one wanted me on their team during P.E. class lol) and I don’t have the endurance to run for a long time.
      Do you think human bodies and minds are simply not meant for the constraints of society and work obligations? I wonder if feeling active at night is a sign that the mind is resisting whatever adaptations people force their minds to focus on during the day and then try on its own to revert to its natural state at night. Who knows.

      Dark circles are horrible. Everyone has them but somehow there are those who I think actually look good having them or their circles aren’t even that prominent.

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      1. Lol. No one wanted me on their team during P.E. class either. Always the last one to get chosen.

        I think you might be right there. I think maybe our bodies naturally are inclined to do things that make us happy and be spontaneous as opposed to following the crowd. Sadly this doens’t always win you fans and friends in this world.

        My dark circles make me look exhausted 😦 But luckily I have found a concealer that covers them up and I look much better when I use it.

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      2. Yes, the feeling of getting chosen last is humiliating. Even worse was getting yelled at by my teammates for missing a shot or generally sucking at whatever sport we played in P.E. during any given day.

        I wish I knew how to use concealer and never learned how to put on makeup as I was too lazy. Does concealer make your skin look natural?

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      3. I use MAC Pro Longwear’s concealer in NC30 – when I put that over my dark circles, they vanish quite considerably but my undereyes still look natural. I do put some finishing powder over it to make it look more natural, and primer on my skin before I put any makeup on… Ultimately it is about experimenting and knowing your skin since makeup reacts differently to everyone 🙂

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  2. The only thing that has helped me is taking the maximum dose of melatonin. People try it at 1, 2, 5 mg and it doesn’t work so they discard the idea altogether. I take 20mg 45 minutes to an hour before bed and fall asleep fairly quickly. I also have a blue light blocker on my phone at night. Times when I missed taking it I stayed up an hour or more wondering why I can’t fall asleep. It never crosses my mind I forgot the melatonin till the next morning… duh.

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    1. I see. How safe is it to take melatonin? Did you decide to start taking it on your own or was a doctor’s suggestion? If I try it, should I be starting from the lowest dosage and only increasing it per night if nothing happens?

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      1. I’d go right to 20 honestly. My nutritionist told me about it. Blue light drains it from our body which is why they say to turn off the tv and such. Blue light is everywhere though. I have an orange bandana over my bedside lamp just in case, lol. It’s a normally occurring in the body so totally safe. I’d give it a try for say a month then stop and compare. I get it from Amazon (10mg capsules) because stores only carry 1-5mgs. It works for some, not for others. Like I said, I didn’t realize it was working till I stopped taking it and saw the difference.

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    2. I have my iphone on nightmode when I use it after 8 pm. It makes the brightness of the screen more pinkish and dull. For my bigger smartphone, I usually have it set to the lowest brightness and also use the app Twilight. It’s supposed to cut out the harmful light that prevents me from getting sleepy. I guess it helps somewhat but mostly I feel like I might need something like melatonin to make me so sleepy that I can’t even keep my eyes open bc even the times when I feel sleepy naturally, the stubborn part of me just wants to fight it. That doesn’t end well, as you can imagine, bc I end up staying up. 😵

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