On Having A Brain That Won’t Turn Off

I’m a thinker. I can’t help it.
I’m also a worrier. Can’t help that, either.
I have to add “Control Freak” to that list, too, while I’m at it.

This combination is a deadly trifecta for anyone who enjoys, well, sleeping. Or relaxing.

Normally I don’t sleep much anyway; harboring extreme jealousy of those who claim to get their eight hours every night, I usually hover around the six-hour mark when it comes to the actual amount of time I’m in bed. Sleeping time runs anywhere from four to five hours.

When many of you are enjoying your zzzz’s, I’m solving important problems, like “what happens if something that is totally out of my control actually comes to pass; what would I do?”, or “how many creative ideas can I come up with that will solve a problem that I already attempted to solve to the best of my ability?”, or “what would have been a better retort to that co-worker, when she said that thing to me at 9:30 this morning?”

To be fair (to myself), I don’t waste all of my thinking time considering how I could have done things differently; I also think about useful things in the middle of the night, such as who I will ask to sponsor my book launch events, what I could make for dinner that would be exciting and different, and how I’m going to make time for my workout the following day.

But midnight thinking can be painful the next day. The headaches, the exhaustion, and even the stress of not coming up with a blasted solution so I can get something off my mind weigh heavily on me.

The answer, of course, is to start shutting my brain down earlier in the evening. I’ve already given up soda, so caffeine isn’t a factor. I could turn off my computer, watch less television, change into pajamas earlier…

Honestly though, doing all of that will cause me to worry all night about what I should have accomplished, instead of shutting everything down. There has to be another way.

I’ll think about it.



©2011 Suburban Scrawl


  • Crazed Nitwit

    Do we share a brain? Now add a so in the Army, a soul sapping job, complete morons to the mix. I've just been searching insomnia online.

    I so feel ya on this one!

  • WeaselMomma

    I wish you got more sleep, but I must say that I enjoy your sleep deprived musings.

    That's your silver lining for the day.

  • DaddysFishBowl

    haha, I'm the same way, so if you find a solution that works, please share.

    Now I'm gonna be up all night wondering if you found a solution and if so what that solution is.

    Thanks, smh

  • Lynn @ Walking With Scissors

    Insomnia sucks rotten eggs. I wish I had a solution to offer you. My BIL is going through the same thing – he has an appointment with a specialist in a couple of weeks. Maybe he'll get some ideas that may help you. I'll let you know!

  • Tara R.

    Seems that insomnia is a computer epidemic… I know so many people online who have this lovely disorder… is that what we should call it? REM challenged?

    Definitely need an off switch.

  • Michelle

    I'm with ya on the thinking. Fortunately, since I need at LEAST 8 hours a night to do myself any good, I can usually fall asleep ok, but ugh if I wake up, I'm so sunk. so so sunk. That said, I'm off to go read shortly so I can sleep. Until my alarm goes off at 7. That's in 11 hours if you're wondering 😉

  • Heather E

    Supposedly I function my best on 10 hours of sleep. I haven't seen that in over 3 years. I usually get by on 2-4 hours. For about 6 months and then I crash and burn and it's ugly and hurts and well, yeah. It sucks.

    I wish we had an off switch. For people. It would be wonderful, right?


  • Liz@thisfullhouse

    Yeah, I hear you. Except, my brain wants to shut off at the worst possible times. Like, in the middle of

  • @NYCPatty

    I can totally relate. This week I was awake from 2A to 4A on wed because I was over thinking the conversation I had with my ex the day before and how I tried to do something nice for a new friend and it blew up in my face. SIGH!

    Things are better now but I hear ya on late night thinking!

  • As Cape Cod Turns

    If you shut your computer down too early, you may stress about what is being said about you.
    It would be pretty cool to have an on off switch, right?

  • PJ Mullen

    I think we are somehow related. I'm lucky if I'm asleep an hour after I actually shut the computer down and go to bed. And I even keep a note pad on my nightstand to make lists of things I need to do when they pop in my head while I'm allegedly winding down. It drives me crazy that my wife can go from talking to me to dead sleeping in 4.7 seconds.

  • Mrs4444

    I totally agree on the solution to this being worse than the problem–so much to do, so little time!!

    Thankfully, I have always been a great sleeper. These past couple of weeks, though, I spend a lot more time stressing out by the time I actually fall asleep–It stinks. For the first time in my life, I feel extreme stress. I feel a new appreciation for those who live this daily.

  • Lucy

    Boy, do I relate to this! I usually go to sleep okay, but most nights somewhere between 2AM and 5AM I wake up and my little brain starts whirring. So annoying!