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aidje's avatar

Why do I never go to bed when I intend?

Asked by aidje (3652points) December 2nd, 2008

Almost every night I tell myself, “I should go to bed at X time so that I’ll be able to wake up in the morning with a minimal amount of pain.” Almost every night, I stay up way past when I mean to go to bed, usually doing nothing particularly useful. Almost every morning, waking up is an incredibly painful affair because I have cut my sleep woefully short by my negligence.

Is there something going on psychologically that I need to address? Or am I just an idiot?

I have a somewhat dubious relationship with my alarm clock. Sometimes I don’t even hear it, even though it’s plenty loud. But I still wake up for stuff—just not with as much time as I had wanted. And not as gently as I always hope.

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27 Answers

augustlan's avatar

I don’t know, but when you figure it out could you tell me? It’s 2:30AM here, and I’m hours from sleep!

asmonet's avatar

I just said Goodnight to Fluther on another thread. I’m still lurking. You’re just an idiot, like me.

<<lurk, lurk>>

TitsMcGhee's avatar

It’s all about your internal clock and sleeping patterns… I just don’t feel the need to sleep, so I don’t.

aidje's avatar

@auguslan
Well, hopefully someone will have some wisdom for us.

aidje's avatar

@asmonet
I did, too. I thought that saying it would help me actually do it. Wrong. Okay, for real now. Good night, guys. (side note: It’s not always Fluther. So that’s not the reason. Fluther is just one of my latest vices. But for real now. I’m leaving. Good night.)

martinf's avatar

Do you live with other people? Maybe you secretly don’t wanna miss out on anything…

loser's avatar

You’re naturally rebellious?

aidje's avatar

@martinf
Well, I have a roommate. But he goes to bed pretty early. The others in the house whom I know go to bed at reasonable times. The only people who stay up late are the ones that I don’t really hang out with at all. And I’m just sitting in my room, anyway. Whether with my computer or with a book.

@loser
In a way yes, but in a way no.

Okay, for real now. ::shuts computer::

shadling21's avatar

I do the same thing! And it’s about time I leave.
Goodnight!

PS: Love your response to loser’s question. Can you be more vague?

chicadelplaya's avatar

You’re not an idiot. Perhaps you’re just a night owl by nature, for now. I think sometimes it takes some real effort to follow the “ideal” early bird patterns, at least for me it does. I’m a night owl trying to convert too.

susanc's avatar

I just figure there are things, like being alone and at peace, not being interrupted,
musing, letting my mind wander, that I MUST have time for every day. Nighttime is
the right time for a lot of that kind of stuff. Can you schedule some dreamtime (otherwise known as “idiot time”) into your daylight hours? No? Me neither.

augustlan's avatar

Goodnight Fluther : )

Trustinglife's avatar

I’m with y’all. The best I can figure out, there are parts of me that need “down-time.” Other parts of me (like my inner critic) is absolutely furious with this obvious waste of time. But in my more wise moments, I recognize that there is something going on during these late hours. Somebody inside needs something.

dynamicduo's avatar

You’re not an idiot, you just need more willpower. You know that it’ll be easier to wake up when you have enough sleep, so tackle that problem first. Set a bedtime and get in bed at that time. No excuses, no delays, turn off the computer 10 minutes before. You could even unplug your keyboard and put it another place to make it harder to get back on if your keyboard is not a USB one, it needs to be plugged in to the computer before you boot up, they’re not plug and play, so this is just one MORE deterrent you can put in your way. You can do it, you are the master of yourself!

Regarding waking up, alarm clocks, etc: maybe you could look into a Clocky style alarm clock. Listen to the noise it makes, do you think that is louder than your current alarm clock? The best thing about Clocky is you need to get up and find it, and physically getting out of bed is a great start to waking up.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

I walk out the door at 8 am, and walk back in after 9:30 pm. After I eat, and do a few chores…you do the math.

EmpressPixie's avatar

If I set a time for something (I’m going to get off this website in 15 minutes), I almost never do it. Be it at “at 8 am” style time or an “in 15 minutes” style time. I just can’t do it. If I know I need to do something, if I really want to do it, I know I have to just DO it. I can’t set a time, because if I try that, it won’t happen.

Snoopy's avatar

I am the same way!

Luckily I know what part of my deal is….it is the only part of the day when I am completely, blissfully alone.

Don’t get me wrong. I adore my family. But. I love the peace and solitude of being by myself late at night. Unfortunately I frequently pay for it the next day…..

wundayatta's avatar

For me, staying up late was a symptom of bipolar disorder. Even after I was being treated, I still did it. I would do repetitive things that pulled my mind away from thinking about myself, because if I thought about myself, I got depressed.

But losing sleep makes me sicker. It causes depression, too. I’m fortunate to have a wife, who has taken to reminding me to go to sleep. It doesn’t always work, but it helps.

I don’t think it’s an issue of will. I think the staying up is a kind of compulsion. We are hiding from something, but I don’t know what. The staying up and the activities we do at that time make us feel, I believe, somehow more in control of our lives, which are otherwise not in our control. It’s the only time we have for ourselves.

If I’m right, then the solution requires creating more time for yourself during normal waking hours. This may require the cooperation of spouses (spice?), employers, friends, and who knows what else. It also may require disciplined planning on our own parts. Think it through, develop a plan, and that is easier to implement compared to just telling yourself to go to sleep. The latter doesn’t address the underlying problem, at all.

Finally, another thing. I think that what I miss, and perhaps what a lot of us miss, is love. We want to be close to people, and going online or reading gives us a virtual connection. I believe if we had people we were truly interested in, and we knew they would be there most of the time, we might feel safe enough and appreciated enough to go to sleep on time. Just a thought.

critter1982's avatar

For me it was willpower…...em…......still is willpower.

aidje's avatar

@daloon
I think you’re right about it being a compulsion.

mea05key's avatar

you are a noctoral and love the night same as me. One way to cope with this problem is to shut down your computer and do nothing an hour before you sleep. No heavy thinking is suppose to be done before sleeping. Close your eye. If anything that is in ur mind, let it flow through and don’t judge. Write it down if you want and review it in the morning.

Juliana1217's avatar

I’m one of them too, and it bugs me. That’s why I searched the internet to see if there was a site for people who can’t go to bed on time. They go to bed way too late.It’s kind of a compulsion , but I don’t know why I do it, adn wish I could break myself of it.
It’s not b/c of computers, b/c I was like this before computers. The only time I went to bed like a normal person at a normal time, was when my husb was still alive——b/c I wanted to be on the same shift as him, and on the same wavelength. I didn’t want him to think I was crazy. That was 9 years ago that he died. He never knew my secret.

Juliana1217's avatar

Other activities that keep me up too late are the TV, and reading. It it wasn’t for all of them, I“d find something else to keep my up way too late.
The prob. with this behavior is that we never get anything done b/c we get up at 12Noon, or 1 pm ,or 2pm .Then we eat a late lunch; then go out in late afternoon and do an errand maybe. And in the summer time, we have to go to the store in the evening. Then we eat a late dinner. Then watch TV :-(
I’m behine on bills, house cleaning, laundry, going to Sec. of State . Going to get a passport, doing yard work, cleaning out garage, getting rid of my parents’ things,b/c they both died . :-(
Someone give me some pos. feedback, b/c I’m always raggin’ on myself in my mind.

augustlan's avatar

@Juliana1217 Welcome to Fluther, otherwise known as insomnia central. :)

Trustinglife's avatar

It’s 2:40 am here, and I am happily getting stuff done over here. I was just thinking about this tonight. I don’t know about you, Juliana, but for me, I am at my most productive from about 10 pm to 2 am, every night. Maybe it is when I am the least defended and resistant, so I find it easy to do the things I have been avoiding all day. It actually kind of works, except for the things you mentioned, like errands.

My thought is: if you’re serious about changing that habit, get some support and do that. For example, you could ask a question here asking for support on that. I’m sure you’d get great responses. Otherwise, enjoy the ride, and find compassion and understanding for the part of you that likes to stay up late.

Haleth's avatar

Ugh! I am the same way. I think it helps to have someone else around who is on a normal sleeping schedule, whether it is friends, family or roommates. For some reason, living with someone who goes to bed early makes it easier for me to do the same.

Carbonproduct's avatar

The same reason why people show up to visit when you need a shower and you’ve got a green facial mask on, something to do with Murphy’s Law. ;)

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