By Shamus Posted Monday Jan 14, 2008

Filed under: Personal 28 comments

I’m now on the tail end of a night of insomnia. I’m still wide awake, but I’ve usually woken up by now anyway. This is always so awkward. Do I just… go through my morning routine and start my day as if everything was normal? I have some sleep pills here, and only now, after the sun has begun to rise, does it occur to me that maybe I could take one.

Or maybe I should just keep doing what I’ve been doing… which is just clicking on stuff, staggering around the internet like a drunk trying to find his way home. I must say there are an awful lot of very odd blogs out there if you suddenly find yourself going down the wrong internet sidestreet at 2am on a Monday morning.

LATER: I work from home, so I don’t have to worry about “going in to work”. I took the day off anyway – I’m in no shape to code. The project I’m on involves mucking about with a database and doing some semi-complex things to it. I need to have my head clear before I attempt that.


From The Archives:

28 thoughts on “Paranoimia

  1. Alexis says:

    Start the day afresh with your regular routine. You’ll be amazed how much it revitalises you.

    It will probably bite around mid-afternoon, if possible go home, take a nap and work any remaining hours that evening or not at all. Consider it sick leave, you probably don’t do this very often so it isn’t a problem.

    Drinking coffee to work through the bite is likely counterproductive.
    If you do work extra hours after the nap, try to leave an hour for passive entertainment afterwards.
    Set a (loud) alarm clock or three so you wake up on time the next day. It’s up to you when you go to bed, just make the alarm loud enough you know it will hurt more the later you sleep.

    Good luck, easier to say this lot than do it. It may not work for actual insomnia, but it’s the best way I’ve found to deal with my nocturnal tendencies.
    I hear sleep pills are hard to get off of, I asked once and was told they’re a last resort.

  2. Alexis says:

    hmm, no way to change the associated email address (and hence avatar)

    A shame Gravatars doesn’t support avatars by domain (eg [email protected])

  3. Phlux says:

    Nice dose of Max Headroom. Haven’t seen that show for years.

    The symptoms the day after a night of insomnia are not entirely disimilar from the jetlag one gets crossing continents (particularly flying westward).

    Best thing you can do for jetlag/insomnia is force yourself to stay awake until a reasonable bedtime, and try to get a couple extra hours of sleep. This will put your body back into the normal rhythm.

    If you’re crashing mid-afternoon, just take a short nap and try to make it the rest of the day. This is what works for me.

  4. Nyxia says:

    Follow your normal routine. Chances are, around noontime or so, after you’ve eaten lunch, you’ll drop off fast, sleep a couple hours, then be fine. Good news is you’ll probably sleep a lot better tonight, lol

  5. Rich says:

    It happens to me all the time. An afternoon nap is what fixes things for me as well, if I can spare the 2 hours. Avoid over caffeinating, the jitters are not worth it. Good luck.

  6. Steve says:

    I agree with, well, everyone else. Forcing yourself to go about your day in a zombie state at least means you’ll have worn yourself out before bed tonight :)

  7. Snook says:

    Speaking of insomnia… I tend to get it quite often (I seem to work best on a 36 hour day) and when I go to bed at night I feel tired, but not sleepy. Any cures for that, that don’t involve me imbibing chemicals?

  8. Phlux says:


    Best bet is to not go to bed until you’re actually sleepy. Nothing worse than sitting in bed tired and ready for sleep, but not being able to do it.

    If you can get past the horrid taste, warm milk is actually great for helping you fall asleep. When it’s warm, there are some enzymes that get activated and that acts as a kind of natural sedative. I suppose technically that’s still a chemical, but it does work.

  9. Snook says:

    Unfortunately not going to sleep isn’t much of an option at 2:30AM when I have class at 9AM. I’ll try warm milk (I remember it working when I was a kid, so we’ll see.) Music helps a LOT, but falling asleep with headphones on (don’t want to wake the roommate) is painful the next morning & hard on the headphones…

  10. Davesnot says:

    Do the normal day.. though, going home mid-day would be tough since you’re already there..

    I’d stay away from the pills.. that sets of a set of dominoes that is just as well left standing.

  11. Rich says:

    @ Snook- I know that you said chemicals are out of the question, but… I have used two Benadryl capsules as an occasional sleep aid. It’s an OTC antihistamine. It’s cheaper to buy store brand diphenhydramine, which is all Benadryl is anyway.

  12. Will says:

    I was too young at the time to really get into the whole Max Headroom experience, but based on the voice and facial expressions, I could instantly tell it was Matt Frewer.

    I fought a bout of the living-dead syndrome a couple weeks ago, but that’s because I was trying to shed my total caffeine dependency.

  13. Aelf'en says:

    If you can, take a long hot bath or hot shower right before you want to go to bed. This raises your core body temperature, and then it drops off again quickly when you get out, which tells your brain to go into a sleepy mode. I don’t know why it does this to your brain, but it works for me.

  14. Snook says:

    Odd, a shower always wakes me up in the morning… I think I’ll try a glass of warm ovaltine tonight, not that I’ll be getting much sleep as I’m getting the final pieces for my new computer.

    I’ve heard that “emptying your mind” works, although I tried it for a few days and noticed no difference. For the curious: It’s where you just do “stream of conciousness” writing for 15 minutes before bed.

  15. David says:

    That’s awesome, I was just watching the commentary track on the Meaning of Life DVD and Terry mentions Matt, as he has a bit part in The Crimson Permanent Assurance.

  16. Telas says:

    If you have insomnia, do something physical during the day. What usually happens is the either your brain or your body is tired, but the other one isn’t yet.

    Don’t overdo it; one of the signs of overtraining is restless sleep. Just do something like walk around the block a few times.

  17. Nilus says:

    My wife and I just came home with our first child over the weekend. After four days of sleeping on the most uncomfortable hospital couch ever imagined I couldn’t wait to get home and sleep on my own bed. Of course this is our first child and I am slowly finding out that I might not get a full nights sleep for years.

  18. DGM says:

    My sympathies on the insomnia. I often have trouble falling asleep when I need to as well.

    These days I can never see Max Headroom without thinking of SHODAN. It’s the speech imped-ped-pediment. I can imagine them being related…

    “I must say there are an awful lot of very odd blogs out there if you suddenly find yourself going down the wrong internet sidestreet at 2am on a Monday morning.”

    Heh. I aspire to have one of those blogs. Any links you’d care to share?

    EDIT: Shamus, I’m trying some of the new tags here but I can’t get the block quote tag to work properly. Are you sure it’s working right on your end?

  19. DGM says:


    Congratulations, you poor, doomed fool! :)

    Boy or girl?

  20. David V.S. says:

    What do I do to help myself fall asleep “on time” when I need to but am not inclined to?

    (1) I avoid eating or drinking during the two hours before bedtime. I’m not sure why this helps, but it does.

    (2) The conventional wisdom that having your internal thermostat cool down helps with falling asleep is true for me but apparently only at the end of such a cycle. I fall asleep more easily after a warm shower but only if the shower happens a full hour before bedtime.

    (3) Enough exercise during the day is important. I like running on the nearby bark-paved running trails, or doing some weight lifting. Again, this wakes me up for a couple hours so I need to do the exercise at least two hours before bedtime.

    (4) Stretching or relaxing also helps, this time no earlier or later than about two hours before bedtime. I’ll take time to pray, do tai chi, lie on my back on a “foam roller”, etc. The trick is to do this late enough it is of actual help in physically relaxing me before bedtime, but early enough I do not get frustrated if I cannot mentally relax while I am physically relaxing.

    (5) If I can finish something on my to-do list that I would otherwise be tempted to think about while trying to fall asleep, do that something.

    (6) Some steady background noise helps me if my brain is used to it. I can plug in an electric fan/heater in the living room to become acclimated to its noise and then move it to the bedroom when I go to bed.

    (7) For the half hour before bed I do something really boring that requires my attention but gives my brain nothing to replay in my mind as I try to fall asleep. World of Warcraft fishing is ideal.

  21. Du Jurk says:

    Shamus, I usually keep a whiskey around for such an occasion. I’ll turn on the fireplace, sip a dram and soothe myself to the crackling.

    @Nilus- Be careful using this method. The little ones don’t really care how you’re feeling at 3:30am. :-)

    -Du Jurk

  22. sithson says:


    I too couldn’t sleep last night, and low and behold I found this…

    Apperently they have released the code for sim-city… I thought you as a programmer might want to look at it :P

  23. Davesnot says:

    @Nilus… I thought I could give you same advice.. since I have a 5-year-old and a 2-year-old.. and I’m a stay-at-home Dad.. that home schools…

    Anyway.. I thought of giving you some advice.. but I just don’t have the energy for it…

    Good luck! .. oh.. ok.. one bit of advice.. when it gets really bad.. go outside and notice that the rest of the world is still there… oh.. and don’t throw the kid out… as tempting as it may seem…

    Good Luck!… this is the easy part (grin)..

  24. Robert says:


    Just masturbate.

  25. Old Man Matt says:

    Snook wrote:

    I've heard that “emptying your mind” works, although I tried it for a few days and noticed no difference…

    Am I the only one here who found that hilarious?

    Oh, and that’s actually good advice from Robert. Gettin all intimate with the wife would be even better. It won’t help you get more sleep, but it’s so much more rewarding than anything else you could try.

  26. Snook says:

    “Am I the only one here who found that hilarious?”

    Hardly, I’m usually not one to go for things like that but I figured “eh, what’s the harm?” Except then my thoughts increased… SO it’s useless.

    Robert: My roommate wouldn’t appreciate it, I’m sure.

  27. Nilus says:

    Thanks for the congrats and advice everyone. To those who asked, hes a little boy. 9lb 7 oz(so I guess not really little). 21 1/2 inches long. Names Hanif Robert after his grandpas. The name was a win win situation. Both are families get honored, my wife gets an Arabic first name, and a giant Star Wars fan got to name his kid Han. Now I have to convince her to name the second kid Chewbacca :).

  28. Snook says:

    If you get some twins, though…

Thanks for joining the discussion. Be nice, don't post angry, and enjoy yourself. This is supposed to be fun. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

You can enclose spoilers in <strike> tags like so:
<strike>Darth Vader is Luke's father!</strike>

You can make things italics like this:
Can you imagine having Darth Vader as your <i>father</i>?

You can make things bold like this:
I'm <b>very</b> glad Darth Vader isn't my father.

You can make links like this:
I'm reading about <a href="">Darth Vader</a> on Wikipedia!

You can quote someone like this:
Darth Vader said <blockquote>Luke, I am your father.</blockquote>

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.