If you’ve been keeping up with my blog you’ll know I struggle with sleeping consistently for sufficient hours, at times that are best to be asleep. You’ll also know I encourage thinking about problems from as many different perspectives as you can. Sometimes we might have found an answer …to a different problem than the one we are facing.

Sleep. Every human needs it. And if we can manage, our body are best suited to sleeping when the stars are in the sky. Our bodies know night is a time for rest, to be ready for the giant ball of fire to appear in the sky. My circadian rhythms mean I’m naturally more inclined to stay up later. For more than a decade, through my highschool and university years, I pushed ‘staying up late’ to the limit many times. This further solidified in my mind that staying up is a way to make myself more productive. Now, with paid work that is more or less 9-5, sport three or four times a week, and a lot of writing scheduled in around that, I more often than not feel tired for significant portions of each day.

Something always has to give. Used to be I’d keep burning the candle at both ends until I hit mini burnout. In reality there’s nothing ‘mini’ about any burnout.

Each time, I’d take a few days off work, and try and force myself to go to bed earlier. My hope was this would have the knock on effect of helping me to wake up earlier. Only once has this strategy worked. It was probably the most productive six months of my life. Every night, about thirty minutes before I wanted to be asleep, my body would yawn, and I would listen. I’d clean my teeth, get my gear ready for work, read, and drift peacefully into dreamland. I would get seven and a half hours sleep, get up the first time my alarm went off, and tackle the day. So I know it’s possible.

What happened to that goodness? I left that job, took some time off work, and my bedtime slowly drifted later as I played more and more video games and watched more and more television. There were other factors at play which influenced my mental well-being at the time; preparation for an international sports tournament; feeling lost about my purpose in life, and sadness around the lack of finding a ‘forever-home’ for my life; but I let my sleeping habits slide.

I’ve tried several times to get that routine back, and succeeded for short periods. A few days here, a week there, but I haven’t quite cracked the formula yet.

But what if the problem isn’t when I go to bed, but how much sleep I get? My brother is a strong advocate for naps. After finishing work he would often take a nap to rest to get his mind ready to tackle his PhD thesis.

I haven’t tested this theory over an extended period of time for myself, but the days I schedule a nap after work and keep it to thirty minutes or less, it feels like an energy boost for my mind and body. Afterwards, when I’m playing or writing at my desk, I feel energised.

What about alternative solutions for different areas of life?

I can throw a frisbee well. However, my body shape and level of limb flexibility means I throw a certain way. This may not work for everybody. I learned by watching throwers that move similarly to me, and have a similar body type. And of course, by trying things and finding new ways to do them!

When I write stories I fall somewhere on the spectrum from ‘pantser’ to ‘planner’. ‘Pantser’ being the term for letting your imagination guide completely. ‘Planner’ being the term for putting in a lot of work before writing even one word. Sometimes I feel drawn to plan out a short story, other times the idea sparks the writing. Some longer form stories have started almost on their own, while others have grown steadily through research and discussion. Being flexible has helped.

What hasn’t changed in any situation? I haven’t given up. If the solution isn’t obvious I put in effort to finding it.

* * *

Have you come across a problem in your life that is difficult to solve? How have you been trying to solve it?

What would happen if you came at the problem from a different angle?

* * *

Keep on keeping on being awesome. You’ll get to where you want to be. PEACE.

Cover photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pexels.


9 thoughts on “Recalibration

  1. inspirechief says:

    Hamish, I run on an internal clock. I get up when my eyes open and I sleep when my body tells me it’s time. I sometimes will take a nap usually involuntarily. My body tells me that I need one. 15-20 minutes is perfect and I am energized afterwards. Any longer and I feel worse than before the nap. I will be groggy and un-energetic the rest of the day.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Hamish says:

      That sounds like a sustainable daily routine. I think for the six months I was sleeping and waking at the same times, I felt I was running on my internal. My alarm was a secondary measure and I usually woke up 5 or 10 minutes before it. Thank you for the reminder of how useful this was for me, and the benefits to my physical and mental wellbeing.

      I’ll keep you posted with my journey back towards resetting to my internal clock again.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Navin says:

    Lovely sharing, Hamish….”What hasn’t changed in any situation? I haven’t given up. If the solution isn’t obvious I put in effort to finding it.”….magnificent ✨

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hamish says:

      Thank you Navin. 🧡 I can’t say it’s easy to do every day. But that’s what makes it worthwhile whenever I achieve one of my goals, looking back and seeing the hard work I put in to get there.

      I have been slack in my reading of others’ post recently, so I will get back to you on your most recent creation soon. I’m very much looking forward to more spoken word. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Cheryl, Gulf Coast Poet says:

    Hamish, I have sleep problems now that I never had when I was younger, I always dropped right off to sleep and was always a very sound sleeper. One problem now is fibromyalgia, which decreases REM sleep. Sometimes I wake up feeling tired even though I slept.

    On good days, I wake up after 7 hours feeling refreshed. I don’t set an alarm. When I was working, I would wake up every morning about 10 minutes before the alarm went off. Some nights now, I can’t go to sleep or wake up early unable to sleep.

    I don’t know of any magic bullet. Keep trying and you will find what works best for you. I think your natural circadian rhythms may be working against you. Take care! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hamish says:

      Yeah,when things are working against us it increases the difficulty of making change sustainable. I pray for practical solutions to sleep for you. 🙏

      I believe you’re right and my circadian rhythms now are working against me. However, I think I had something to do with making them that way. It feels like I’m close to cracking the best sleeping time for me with little lightbulb momenta every day.

      Thank you for your kindness expressed through wisdom. God’s peace to you and go well into this coming week. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

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