Step 1.) wake up in the middle of the night, preferably around 3:30 am or so.
Step 2.) lay awake for the first hour worrying about your job, your goals, your life, etc.
Step 3.) turn on david gray pandora station in order to drown out step 2.
Step 4.) lay awake for the next hour thinking about your dead dad, lost loves, missed opportunities, etc. while pandora reminds you that coldplay used to be pretty good before they sold out to arena rock (u2 sucks).
Step 5.) get up at 5:30 am and blog about it.
ok, so i don’t have the answers. i’m not a sleep doctor, or a regular doctor, or even cool enough to have a nickname like “doc” (what up, marty mcfly).
what i do know is when we can’t sleep, there’s always a reason. occasionally it’s because we’re excited about something happening in the future like a big trip (night before disneyland? dream on, or not). sometimes it’s because we’re anxious about something coming up like a presentation or an event or finally introducing yourself to that table of cute guys in the work cafeteria (yeah, never going to happen). maybe you spent most of the night out drinking and your body is reminding you what six beers, three mixed drinks (one chugged) and that’s where you lost count feels like. or more likely for me, you went to bed at 9pm and your body is reminding you that you are not yet 70 years old and should actually live a little. unfortunately, most of the time it’s because we’re unhappy or worried about something in our lives.
for the last two months i’ve been awake in the middle of the night one to three nights per week. i’m not going to disneyland, i generally avoid chugging mixed drinks alone (or with company) during the work week and i’ve even been adhering to my only slightly embarrassing bedtime of 11pm (10pm). so, i must be unhappy or worried or both.
the truth is i am unhappy and worried and both. with that said, in the majority of my life, i’m incredibly happy, content, proud, and full of love. but there are things i have going on (or not) that i feel like i can’t control. maybe it’s a quarter-life crisis. maybe i just don’t want to fully grow up. maybe it’s a little of a lot of things.
i won’t go into the details because i believe there are things that just shouldn’t go on the internet like trashing your job. or posting pictures of your infants/children without their consent. can you imagine what middle school will be like for them when anyone can get online, google their name, and find the embarrassing video of them dancing to a justin bieber song? i know there’s an awesome video of me covering a singer formerly known as britney spears. i would have no friends if the internet existed when i was 10 (ok, it did exist, but you know what i mean). this also goes for any status you’ve ever posted about how your baby isn’t sleeping or your baby is sick or your baby just went poop or your baby just smiled or your baby acted like a baby. again, hello 7th grader printing pictures of mom’s status about your first number two. yikes. also, you have a baby, we get it. lastly, please keep in mind the fact that our children will be able to go onto facebook and potentially see the night they were conceived. you may want to re-think those “shit, last night was a big mistake/i’m so hungover/where’s my underwear?” posts. fyi the internet is permanent to infinity and beyond.
back to the not sleeping, what do you do when you’re unhappy and worried about something you feel you can’t change? well obviously you wake up in the middle of the night. after that, i really have no idea.
for now, i just have to keep on keeping on. i don’t believe in sleep medication or really even doctors most of the time (sorry, marty mcfly) so i’ve just got me and my awake dancing monkey brain (those damn tap dancers).
but what i’ve learned is you should not worry about not sleeping. your body is already telling you that you have some unanswered sub-conscious questions. you’re already worrying about real life things. you don’t need to beat yourself up over not sleeping, too.
instead, try to take advantage of the early hours. i make it to the gym every time i wake up at 3:30 because really, what’s my excuse? maybe my body is telling me to stop being a lazy ass. sometimes i get up and make lists, or do the dishes, or even some yoga. maybe my body is telling me that i just need to relax. sometimes i take the time to look at the moon. when was the last time you really stopped and looked at it? maybe my body is telling me to find inspiration. sometimes i just lie in bed and imagine that there’s a zombie outbreak happening outside (seriously, it is so quiet as if there’s not another living soul around. how would you ever know?) so maybe my body is telling me to start preparing for the apocolypse (cheya right, like i don’t already have a zombie kit).
the reality is, you’re not going to solve your life problems in the middle of the night. if you are, then you shouldn’t be in bed.
if all else fails, you can try Step 6.) google “how to fall back…..” the main searches are “how to fall back in love after cheating” or “how to fall back in love with your wife” or something similar. this will help you’ll realize you don’t have it as bad as you think (unless of course, googling “how to fall back in love with your wife” is the exact reason you can’t sleep in the first place. in that case, see a doctor. or a priest. or a lawyer).
sweet dreams. or not.