Who Needs Sleep

kinnon —  March 28, 2008 — 14 Comments

Can someone help me? Please?

I went to bed rather early last evening. Around 9 to be somewhat precise. (Precise would be exactly 9:07:32.) I was extremely tired. And looking forward to my alarm going off at 6:20am. (Which reminds me. It’s sitting beside the bed and will wake Imbi up if I don’t go and retrieve it. Off I go.)

So. Here’s where I need help. Why. If I was tired. And needing a good night’s sleep. Why. Did my brain wake me up at 3:20am? And then not let me go back to sleep.

Is this an age thing? I’m 52. Am I turning into my father? (Let me rephrase that. Am I turning into my father when he was this age?)

I like sleep as much as the next person. How come I can’t seem to get enough – even when I go to bed early? Sheesh.



A television editor, writer & director since 1978. A Christian since 1982. More than a little frustrated with the Church in the West since late in the last millennium.

14 responses to Who Needs Sleep

  1. Bill,

    If you find answers, please post them. I feel you and I are becoming more like our fathers.

    I can go to sleep at 9pm and my day begins at around 3-4am. So, what this means is we need to get a national clearance on relatively young men taking afternoon naps…you work on Canada, I’ll take on the US Congress.

  2. Jimmy,
    I’m off on a shoot the entire day today and then have to do tape transfers to disk tonight so I can cut the footage here. I’m trying to figure out how I can nap during the shoot. Good thing I’ve been working with the same cameraman since 1981.

  3. No. Nap. do not nap.

    coffee, in your normal amounts.

    I’m doing somewhat the same thing (if it helps) … only sleeping about 6 hours and waking up. It’s killing me. I think it’s too much brain activity and not enough physical activity (for me that is). And not enough melatonin or something like that. Maybe not enough sunshine too. I’m not sure yet. I’m still parsing it out.

  4. it may or may not deal with age, but more factors with work-related stuff, light, etc.


    no caffeine intake after 6 PM. (even earlier if you’re highly affected by it.) try skipping sugar-fueled foods and drinks also after early evening.

    3 mg of Melatonin at least 30 minutes before bedtime. it may take a couple weeks before the Melatonin gets into your system and works more efficiently. every few weeks, skip a night when you take it.

    no computer work or video games for probably at least 1 hour before bedtime. the kind of light emitted from the screen acts in ways on our body that throws off sleep cycles. research the length of time on that and whether it’s true of all kinds of monitors, but this could be a significant factor, given the amount of time you spend in front of Mr. Monitor. same may apply to video editing or other work-related machinery you have to use that emits light.

    keep pencil and paper and small flashlight by your bed. jot notes if stuff keeps rattling around your brain. especially if you have certain concrete learning styles, or a strong “kinesthetic”/movement-oriented memory mode, the physical act of writing will help get it out of your brain so you can rattle less and rest more.

    you might want to do some research on REM sleep cycles. if i remember right, there’s a typical cycle shift that’s between 2-3 AM, which is why so many of us wake up around then – we’ve wafted out of deeper REM sleep and float right up into awakeness. (or it may be X number of hours after bedtime.) there may be other factors involved here, such as noise or light that catches us that early. so, make sure it’s dark and you might want to try a “white noise” generator of some kind, or a air filtration machine on low or medium, to block out the sound of the kids rummaging around the refrigerator, mice in the attic, etc. etc. etc.

    i’m about your age dr. bill, and have had similar problems at times. these things have helped. if all else fails, pick either the most boring sermon in the world to listen to repeatedly, or a soundtrack you find stimulating. if the former doesn’t knock you back out, at least the latter will help overcome those naughty Mr. Negative Tape messages like, “Dang, I’m sooooo stupid, I can’t even sleep right!” surely we all know whereof i speak …

    best wishes for a blissful night of full sleep …

  5. I heard a Baptist preacher once say that if you woke up unexpectedly in the night, God was prompting you to pray for someone or something in particular. He never said what to do the next day when you were a zombie at work.

  6. p.s. just talked with someone about lighting issues, and they suggested turning the monitor off when the sun goes down. also, they wondered whether “full spectrum lighting” would help moderate lighting issues better.

    so, more research needed …

    ummm … is wikipedia on at 3 AM?

  7. My grandmother has this problem. She gets up and rides a stationary bike for 20 minutes then goest back to sleep. She’s 83.

  8. You all are amazing…other than Chris comparing me to his 83 year old granny. GRIN

    Had a great night’s sleep last night. But I do need to put Brad’s suggestions into practice.

  9. I have also considered keeping a bottle of good sipping bourbon by the bed. If I wake in the middle of the night, I just take a good strong drink;0)

  10. Yup, Brad has some great ideas.

    If you still have problems, there are a number of great homeopathic remedies for this problem. If you’re interested, e-mail me and we can e-chat about it. 🙂

    Dr. Mom

  11. When I wake up early — like I did this morning — its usually because I have a lot on my mind that is not resolved and its time to observe Vigils. It has to be a praxis thing though; not a “do this and you’ll get that result (sleep longer)” thing. If you weave prayerfulness into your lifestyle, then those mornings you wake up early, it becomes part of the fabric of your life to pray and not an issue to get concerned about “fixing” …before you know it, you find that sometimes you’re waking up and praying Vigils and sometimes not… and in the process, becoming more connected to God…

  12. Bill,
    Sleep is so 1.0


  13. Bill,

    Look at what you wrote the day before.

    “Those of you who occasionally drop by know that I’ve been up to my ears in a rather large project for a rather large client. The stress has been high and I’ve worked a minimum of 12 hours per day for the last five weeks. We are finally in the delivery phase of the project.

    My client began viewing partially finished pieces today and I awaited his response with baited breath.”

    Sounds like your mind is going a million miles a minute. I take large doses of Vitamin B Complex. Keeps me calm, collected and I don’t get “rattled” as much. Restless nights, for me, have been a signal that I am worried about something, angry about something and just stressed out. Exercise helps, getting out into some sort of sun light daily is a key for me. Reading the Bible helps me tremendously. Just meditating for meditations sake. That’s when I gauge how active my mind really is. Swirling thoughts going like a race car in my mind. I try and take those thoughts captive by making a note about what is going on inside, capture the thoughts and then one by one praying about what it is those concerning thoughts. It is something that I battle with all of the time. I am finally sleeping well because of some of the techniques listed above. Sleep is a wonderful gift!

  14. I’ve got to tell you how much I appreciate all your comments.

    Jimmy, you cracked me up.

    Dr. Mom, I’ll attempt to remember to drop you an email because I do want to hear more.

    Dan, you’re hilarious. Heard good things about you speaking to the FB folk this week.

    George, if I’d really listened to you these past 12 years or so, I’d be much further ahead.


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