Lee Wochner: Writer. Director. Writing instructor. Thinker about things.


The question that keeps me up all night

No, it’s not about one’s place in the universe. It’s this:  Why can’t I sleep tonight?

For me, at least, it seems completely unrelated to stress — because I sleep poorly most nights, and most days (pretty much all days) are good days.

Some common causes to eliminate:

  • I don’t do a lot of blue-screen viewing before bed (I read for an hour or so)
  • I don’t ingest sugary snacks or things with caffeine late at night
  • I get plenty of exercise: I go to the gym every other day, and do plenty of walking the rest of the week
  • I drink very little alcohol any more, and none right before bed
  • I don’t stay up all night worrying, because Stoicism has taught me that there’s nothing I can do about most of those things anyway

I actually think it’s mostly this:  excitement. Voltaire said (and I’m paraphrasing here) that Man is basically optimistic because he goes to bed every night making plans for the next day. That’s me for sure. There are things to do, and I’m looking forward to them.

That doesn’t feel so great, though, the next morning. This morning I got up at 7:30 so that I could go get some blood drawn. It would’ve been nice to get more than three-and-a-half hours of sleep before that. When you’re getting blood drawn for lots of routine testing, you have to fast for at least eight hours before. So you know what else would’ve been nice? Being able to have a cup of coffee after those 3.5 hours of sleep.

Tonight was going to be my gym night. Now I’m thinking I may have to change my plans — at this point right now, I can’t quite see benching weights later. So, instead, my plan is to read an especially dull book to see if that’ll help.

Except:  Watch me get too caught up in it. And then be up all night.

2 Responses to “The question that keeps me up all night”

  1. Dan Says:

    Sleep has become an issue I don’t worry about anymore — a perk of being retired & living alone. Have you considered quitting & sending your loved ones away?

  2. Jim Markley Says:

    Are you tired? As far as I’ve known you’ve never needed much sleep. I believe you once told me 4 hours per night.

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