It’s the middle of the night and you know you should be sleeping, but you can’t. Something is keeping you up: Maybe a coworker tried to throw you under the bus, or your friend said something rude. Whatever it is, you can’t get it out of your head, and you need to sleep for work tomorrow. It sucks.
I’ve had my share of those nights, and they’re the worst. It doesn’t even have to be something serious that’s keeping you awake, either. Sometimes it’s small; a snide comment or the assertion that you’re not doing your job well. Other times it can be serious, like hearing through the grapevine that someone important said something off-color about you. Combine this with even a little stress and anxiety, and your brain is off to the races at the worst of times—the middle of the night. I’m willing to bet you’ve been there too.
They say that the night before a race doesn’t matter – it’s the sleep the night before that which matters.
For those devices that can’t run f.lux without a jail break, consider purchasing orange safety goggles. They’re extremely cheap and work wonders and are not that uncomfortable. I’ve fallen asleep with them on. They’ll also help block out the light of your television or your blue-colored lighting around your home. You really don’t want any blue light in your eyes past sundown.
Diphenhydramine can have a sort of stimulatory rebound effect in some people and give them restless leg syndrome. This could mean falling asleep in a drug-induced haze and waking an hour or two later unable to sit or lie still, which makes the night so much worse. If this has ever happened to you, it’s probably not worth the risk.
Your usual sleep hygiene stuff is still helpful here, including temperature. Your body temp goes down when you’re asleep, and most people sleep best under warm blankets in a cool room. Taking a hot bath or shower can be soporific because exiting the hot water produces a perceived drop in temperature. Cracking a window in autumn can keep the room cooler.
I struggle with anxiety-induced insomnia, and ultimately I often rely on something to listen to to keep my mind quiet. It’s hard to ruminate when you have input. If white noise works for you, great. But if you end up needing a dull free access lecture or something to fall asleep, just go for it. I sleep with headphones a great deal of the time because I’ve been stressed lately. I’ll listen to Netflix episodes of things I’ve heard dozens and dozens of times, so it’s not that interesting, but it’s light and just enough for my brain to listen to to keep me from thinking about anything. Whatever works. The goal is sleep, period. You can be an A+ sleeper after you graduate/finish that project/reach that deadline.
If you’ve had surgery under anesthesia in the last couple of decades, your doctor was probably listening to her favorite music while operating. There’s growing debate in the medical field about whether music in the operating room really helps surgeons focus or creates a potentially dangerous distraction.
Pain relief isn’t just a physical thing; distracting yourself can help you get through a painful experience. We’ve already seen that kids who watch cartoons don’t feel as much pain when they get a shot. It turns out that playing a game works even better than passively watching videos.
There’s always been the joke about how “it hurts here”, so someone injures the wounded person somewhere else to distract from the original pain. Less joke now, more truism. But decidedly less about the technology – it’s about the immersion. Which makes sense why a video game would work better – it requires your interaction vs passively watching a TV show.
Dudes: Cramping your style since the dawn of time, and, now possibly cramping your career prospects. New research has found that being friends with the opposite gender in high school can lead to lowered GPAs—and that the effect is three times more significant for girls, especially in areas like math and science. Thanks, dudes! Stay cool this summer! Don’t go changin’!
It’s much easier to progress when you have a good base.
There’s nothing wrong with goals, dreams. Part of achieving those is having attainable goals, and differentiating between goals and milestones. It can take a lot of discipline – sometimes we have an aptitude, sometimes we don’t.
I’ve spoken before about my distaste for music in particular training. For cycling, it’s a Darwin Award to me. There’s the same potential for running, but not as much and it can be more beneficial IMO to have music than while cycling. I’ve seen setups that allow you to listen to music while swimming. I come from cycling – group rides usually provide a partner but otherwise are without music so being without never bothered me.