It’s Late and I Can’t Sleep
A Look Into How Anxiety Affects a Night Owl
Nights like this suck. It’s late and my mind is racing with thoughts.
Hell, I spent five minutes debating in my head whether I should report that time three months ago when the moving truck lady called me a liar. I told her some specs her company gave me — we called twice to verify the measurements. She said I was lying, and then dropped our stuff in an illegal spot on the street. I’ll probably end up sending that company a(nother) tweet complaining, because why not? I’ve got nothing better to do at 1 a.m. except be mad at things I can’t control.
Trying to stop these thoughts doesn’t do any good. I start beating myself up mentally just for not being able to sleep. Usually, all I can do is put on some instrumental music or a sleep-inducing meditation session and hope my mind quiets down.
It’s even worse when I’ve changed timezones. I flew from Seattle to Denver tonight, so what is currently 1:00 a.m. feels more like midnight (which is still within the range of my normal bedtime, albeit on the late side). So now I’m counting the hours of sleep I won’t get thanks to this arbitrary thing called the earth’s rotation.
Every so often I give in to my mind’s demands and stay up late trying to quiet my anxiety.
Tonight is one of those nights. The whole reason I’m writing this article is because it’s been a month since I ticked off my “post a weekly article on Medium” task and my brain won’t stop giving me shit for it. I also get to mark off Monday’s task of “write 250 words daily” — another thing I haven’t done for weeks.
Two birds, one stone. Thrown from the darkness of a sleepless night. They’ll never see it coming.
It’s not all bad though. Nights like these often bring inspiration. I harness my anxiety and use it to come up with topics to write about. Like how the traditional 9-to-5 schedule that permeates our society is utter hell for night owls like me. Or remembering that I should write about my experience with switching to an early bird schedule for a few months until I couldn’t take it anymore.
In fact, I love being up late. Right now I’m looking down on a sleepy road in the middle of Denver, 200 feet above the city. It’s gorgeous. I want to go wander the streets, go shopping, and watch for animals (I’ve seen quite a few jack rabbits running around Denver).
I would stay up this late every night if I could.
But no, I have to be awake tomorrow morning, so instead of enjoying the lateness of the night, I torture myself by trying to sleep and never quite getting there.
If I call it a night now, I can eke out 6 hours.
Lane Sawyer is an IT consultant in Seattle, WA (I moved!). He likes to write novels and articles like this one when he’s not working on some new project or tackling a fun video game. You can find out more about him on his website.