the night is the hardest time to be alive and all alone
It’s the wee small hours of the morning, I’m still in hospital, I still hurt, and my mind is racing ~ small wonder I can’t sleep. There are some other reasons I’m wide awake; not so long ago I was drinking heavily, the nurses are still giving me a bunch of medication at bed-time, including antibiotics, EPO, and a strong painkiller ~ these meds knock me out for a while, but that isn’t real sleep. Add to that I’m dozing during the day, getting no exercise, getting no fresh air, and I’m seeing no natural daylight to speak of.
All of which leads me to consider what it is we need to get the 6 to 8 hours of good sleep a night we all need if we want to be healthy in body, mind, emotions, and spirit.
- We need natural daylight, preferably sunshine and fresh air, to reset our internal body clock. If we spend all day in artificial light, only emerging from our homes and workplace when it’s dark, then our body clock is screwed.
- Do not drink too much coffee or strong tea, or eat chocolate late at night, the caffeine screws with our brain chemistry.
- Do not self-medicate with booze. Do not drink too much alcohol, especially avoid the couple of glasses of red wine in the late evening. Better still avoid getting blasted late at night and passing out. Alcohol is very bad for you, and you can take that one to the bank.
- Do not eat late at night. You should not eat within a couple of hours of going to bed.
- Drink plenty of water, even if it means you have to get up in the night to pee.
- Avoid looking at your computer / tablet / smart phone within an hour of going to bed, and do not keep your device on the bedside cabinet. The blue light screws with your brain’s idea of when it’s night and day.
- Your bedroom should be very dark and fairly cool. If you are sweating in bed, or throw the covers off, then your room is too warm.
- Avoid sleep medication. Even herbal sleep aids are bad if you use them for longer than a couple of weeks. Anyway, any sleep medication loses its effect after a few weeks and you will need stronger and stronger doses.
- Do not take the problems of the day to bed with you. Before you go to bed spend 20 minutes or so just relaxing and emptying your mind.
Some say that they get by on very little sleep at all. And that they do their best work at night. All I know is that I can step into the night and dream of adventures with the Lady I Love.
Bon nuit et bon rêves. Dormez bien mon amour.
watch the dark moon rise
and make a darkling wish
I’ve never heard of a cat that suffered from insomnia.
But, then again, I’ve never heard of a cat that suffered from anxiety, depression, and a total lack of self-confidence.
Given that it’s two o’clock in the morning here in England, and I’m awake writing this blog, you might say that I’m suffering from insomnia.
As it goes, I haven’t slept well since the garret was broken into and I had some important stuff stolen. Having your home burgled is a much more upsetting experience that I thought it could be, until it happened to me.
I need to find a way of working through all this.
staring at a log fire doesn’t count as insomnia among cool cats
Tired minds don’t plan well. Sleep first, plan later. ~ Walter Reisch
Not getting enough good sleep causes all kinds of problems. You lose sharpness, your concentration and memory suffers, you get bad tempered and irritable, you gain weight and look terrible. Really sustained lack of sleep is very serious; it weakens your immune system, leads to heart and circulatory problems, increases your risk of diabetes, kills your sex drive, and if it goes on for long enough it will lead to your early death.
A long lie-in at the weekend doesn’t help either. That long lie-in is not good sleep, all it will do is give you the equivalent of jet-lag on Monday morning. Changing your sleeping patterns at the weekend is bad, you should aim to go to bed at the same time every night, and get up at the same time every morning ~ no matter what day of the week it is.
Drinking too much just before bed time will not help you to sleep either ~ you might pass out and be dead to the world for a few hours, but you will wake up disgustingly early, feeling very thirsty, and looking like something the cat dragged in. It’s best not to touch any booze for an hour or so before you go to bed ~ instead drink some water, water is good for you.
Using your tablet or laptop late at night isn’t good either, the blue light fries your brain and that stops you from having a good sleep. Playing computer games late at night means that your brain isn’t relaxed when you go to bed, a part of your mind is still concentrating on whatever game you were playing. Using social media late at night is worse, part of your mind will be racing with what you’ve just learned and said.
If your bedroom is too warm, not dark enough, and not quiet enough, then you will not sleep well either. You need a dark, cool, quiet, and peaceful environment to sleep well. If your partner keeps you awake a night; snoring, being restless, or whatever, then one of you should sleep in a different bedroom.
You need between 6 an 8 hours of good sleep every single night of the week. If you get less than 6 hours sleep then you will be running on adrenaline he following day.
Some say that they don’t need much sleep, they do fine with four or five hours a night. And that sleep is just for losers. All I know is that people who don’t get enough sleep look really old.
eating a narcotic laden apple to get to sleep might just be a bad idea
Alone and on the road again…..
I’ve just enjoyed the first decent night’s sleep I’ve had in about a month, and I’m in a hotel……
In my long and mostly disreputable life I have spent more nights than I care to remember in all kinds of hotels, in most of the major cities of the world, (and some towns that would have to work hard to qualify as a bomb-site). And in all that time I
never hardly ever slept well in an hotel.
One solution to ‘hotel insomnia’ is to get good and drunk….. But these days I am utterly sober.
So, what’s different this time?
I believe it’s that I’ve put my worries, resentments, and anger behind me….. And nobody can possibly sleep with a mind racing like an evil train crash.
I also believe that a few hours in the hotel pool taking the strenuous exercise of swimming lessons, and then going for long walks by the sea, also helps.
And, on a cautionary note, sharing your hotel bed with a woman you’ve just picked up at the hotel bar will not help you sleep either.
I have never in my life ‘picked up’ a woman in a hotel bar.
Hooker, or otherwise.
Insomnia turns an earthly paradise into a place of torture.
If you don’t fall asleep within 20 minutes of getting into bed and turning off the lights, if you toss and turn and wake up several times in the night, if you don’t wake up feeling instantly refreshed and ready to hit the ground running, then you are not getting enough good sleep.
Scientific studies show that for good health almost everyone needs 7 or 8 hours of good sleep, every single night of their adult lives. Not getting enough good sleep does really bad things to you.
Just some of the bad effects of lack of sleep are; depression, diabetes, fatigue, heart diseases, heart attack, high blood pressure, poor immune system leading to illness, impulsive behaviours, irritability, paranoia, stroke, suicidal thoughts, and Death.
All of us know exactly that some of the things some of us do from time to time will prevent us from sleeping well at night; not getting enough fresh air and exercise during the day, drinking too much booze, eating late at night, using social media late at night, not going to bed at the same time every night, staying in bed late at weekends, having unresolved issues that prey on our mind, having an untreated mental illness, having our bedroom too warm, too noisy, and not dark enough, being in a dysfunctional relationship, hanging out in bars, casual sex…..
I’ve got a bad case of the 3.00 am guilts ~ you know, when you lie in bed awake and replay all those things you didn’t do right? Because, as we all know, nothing solves insomnia like a nice warm glass of regret, depression, paranoia, and self-loathing. ~ D. D. Barant.
Some things that most of us do will disrupt our internal body clock, our circadian rhythm, and prevent us from getting a decent night’s sleep, for night after night after night. Who knew that our internal body clock is so important to good sleep and good health? If you do stuff that
fucks up disrupts your internal body clock, resulting in a lack of good sleep, you will seriously damage your physical, mental, and spiritual health and fitness.
All the things that will help ensure that we will always have a good night’s sleep are so
bleeding obvious that a child of 5, or 6, or 7 already knows them, instinctively.
- Stick to a sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, including weekends and vacations.
- Get plenty of fresh air and exercise. Get out and walk for an hour a day, (10,000 steps), but not too late in the day.
- Get plenty of sunlight during the day ~ tricky if you live in northern England like me, (or Canada, or Alaska, or Scandinavia…).
- Avoid caffeine later in the day. It’s a stimulant, and the caffeine in a cup of coffee will take about 6 or 8 hours to wear off.
- Do not smoke. Nicotine is a stimulant, smoking affects your breathing, you will get nicotine withdrawal through the night and wake up, you will have nightmares for years after you stop smoking. Smokers never sleep well.
- Booze. Don’t drink to much, especially late at night. A glass of wine / hard booze just before you go to bed will stop you from getting a decent night’s rest. Trust me, people who drink late at night, most nights, are three parts of the
smeggingway to being an alcoholic.
- Do not eat late at night. Don’t eat anything much for a couple of hours before bed-time.
- Don’t take a nap after three in the afternoon.
- Have a relaxing hot bath just before bed-time. Light some candles, play some relaxing music, turn off your racing mind.
- Have a dark bedroom, quiet bedroom, cool bedroom, gadget free bedroom, and no
fuckingblue light from your phone / tablet / computer shining all night.
- Forget all the bad things from the day, especially the ignorant
son of a bitchperson who cut you up on the freeway on your way to work.
- Finally, if you just cannot get to sleep, then don’t just lie in bed fretting. If you really cannot sleep, get up and do something else instead, (but none of the bad things listed above).
One thing that some doctors say will result in a restored sleep cycle and better sleep is using marijuana, pot, cannabis. There are some serious downside risks to the cannabis user, such as; anxiety, breathing problems, poor coordination, damaging a child in the womb, hallucinations, heart attacks, impaired thinking and cognitive functions, nausea, road traffic accidents, smoking anything is a known health risk, suicide, paranoia and schizophrenia, being arrested, losing your job, and Death. All other drugs you can take to help you sleep are worse than marijuana, especially in the longer term. (Anyhow, I would never sleep with anyone who uses drugs. Come to that, I wouldn’t have lunch with a drug user.)
Some say that going without sleep for night after night is dangerous. And, that eventually going without sleep will kill you, after 11 days or so. All I know is that not sleeping is very, very unpleasant.
you may be able to tell that I didn’t sleep well last night
Coffee ~ I am giving up coffee for a month.
Just lately, I’ve noticed that around mid morning I’ve been feeling anxious and jittery, as though something bad was going to happen. Now it may well be that I’m prescient, and something really bad is about to happen to me, or to someone I care for. But, thinking about it, the more likely explanation for my endogenous anxiety is that I’m drinking too much coffee. Therefore, I have decided to be abstinent from coffee for one month from today ~ Thursday June 9th.
Giving up coffee for a while could also:
- improve my general health
- stop the jitters I get from time to time
- help with my quest to lower my blood pressure
- alleviate my terrible insomnia
- cure the constant headache I’ve had since March 23rd this year
- mean that I’m not always on the lookout for a bathroom
I thought about drinking decaffeinated coffee instead, but I’ve tried it and it’s as horribly pointless as alcohol-free beer. As I’m also abstinent from alcohol, I found a better alternative to booze in sparkling water, (club soda). For the next month, my better alternative to coffee is going to be green tea.
Allegedly, green tea has its own range of benefits.
Abstinence is giving up something you find pleasurable. So, as well as booze and coffee, I’m also giving up
- refined sugar
- wheat ~ it seems wheat is very bad for you, so no bread, nor cake
- eating foods full of preservatives, (which means buying organic produce)
- eating any pre-prepared or take-out food, which are always full of salt, sugar, and preservatives
- watching tv for more than 1 hour a day ~ take more exercise instead
- perfectionism ~ I am too much the all or nothing man, and far too judgemental
Giving up perfectionism may not happen, but I’ll try.
I will let you know how successful I’ve been on Monday July 11th.
Wish me luck.