Column: Why does my mind wander?
October 18, 2023
It doesn’t matter the time of day. If I’m sitting in my recliner, I could grab a blanket and take a nap. Often, I don’t even need to be tired. The moment I sit in that chair, I’m ready for bed.
There are plenty of afternoons when I’m waiting on information for a story or cannot find the right words to complete an article that I’ll sit down and be asleep within minutes. 30-minutes later, I will be awakened by the sound of a phone ringing or a cat being mischievous and find a nice puddle of drool.
Things are entirely different at night. Perhaps sometimes it does have to do with the fact I got in a nap, but this happens even after a day where I wore myself out.
If I don’t fall asleep within the first 10 minutes, I am screwed despite how tired I am. This is when my mind really starts to wander. When I’m in my chair, all I can think about is how nice the nap will be and, after the initial five minutes of crabbiness, how good I will feel as I tackle the rest of the day.
When I’m in bed, I think about the weirdest things as my mind spins.
The other night, I was mentally tired after building the Voice and Lewis and Clark Journal pages and was ready for bed. The day was a bit much for me, with around 30 pages, and I just wanted to get some rest.
Of course, I didn’t fall asleep immediately despite my heavy eyes.
Within about 15 minutes, I started thinking about random things stressing me out. This includes thinking about stupid stuff that I did as far back as in grade school. As much as I wanted to sleep, I kept thinking about the time in third grade when I punched a kid in the face because he shoved my friend. So much for sleeping, as I was overwhelmed with guilt by a perfectly placed right hook.
I’ve tried all sorts of things to remedy this issue. Over the years, I’ve tried going to bed later, going to bed when I’m tired, not taking naps, exercising later in the day, and even trying to meditate a bit.
I went a couple of years where I tried sleeping pills, but it was once again the issue of all sorts of problems when I don’t initially fall asleep. The biggest issue with sleeping pills is I felt like I was in a sort of half-awake/half-asleep stage and would start replaying every mistake I’ve made vividly.
One of these days, I will take the next step and mix things up. I will try to go to bed in the recliner and see what happens. If I start tossing and turning in the chair, I might sleep better in bed. In this case, I’d probably take fewer naps, but I’d also get more done.
Hopefully, I can sleep much better tonight than last night when I thought about a rude comment I made to a drama teacher in the 1990s.