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When Pre-sleep Extraversion Makes Sleep Nearly Impossible

Tuesday June 2, 2020

In order to get really good sleep, I have learned that I need to to intentionally ramp down my extraversion before bed.

This means:

First, no posting blogs, comments, etc. in the couple of hours before bed. This causes an exposure effect and opens up performance-related stressors. If I do this before bed I may to go to sleep happy about publishing or making contact with the world, but also absolutely high on adrenaline, or dopamine, or whatever.

Depending on circumstances, that kind of activity can make falling sleep super hard. I have taken both melatonin and doxylamine beforehand, and still experienced insomnia due to this effect. (Maybe I should find a way to post to my blog at the end of a long stretch on a road trip, just to ward off the tiredness…)

Second, I stay away from new stuff and research of new stuff. That is, stuff that’s new to me. Even if—or maybe especially if—it’s exciting. Instead, if I want to learn or research, I turn to history! History and introversion are bros. So I’ll read about WWII or the Cold War or read my favorite Pencil Rocket story again. Post-war Japan is a huge favorite. And there’s the bonus effect—it’s not just history; it’s my history with history. Double-subjective, double-easy.

Third, if I really want to cap off a hard day, I try to blow off steam in the direction of sensory extroversion, rather than e.g. intuitive or informational extroversion. So maybe I’ll listen to a favorite song in which an ISFP-like guy with an amazing voice really belts it out while accompanied by this ESFP-like synth legend guy who reminds me of another ESFP-like guy I follow and it’s kind of a sensory sound/texture feast on top of this “I just like it” layer. This is absolutely mental medicine. Very good for me before sleep.

In the advanced stages of that one, maybe I’ll get up and do some martial arts kata. They’ve all merged into a sort of dance over the years, way more improvisatory and fun. I also like to watch Lia Kim videos and maybe I’ll try to follow along like a dope, but it’s just for fun. Goofing around, relaxed.

Fourth, there’s a bit of an informational extraversion trick—I need to extravert toward introverted stuff. That is, I need to list and reconcile my stuff for the next day, or write or talk out whatever’s on my mind. This is still extraversion since it’s about these objects, but they’re also my objects which is a bit of a funny one but it tends to help sleep.

When I do that I notice my dream messages get kind of desperate sometimes. As in, scraping the bottom of the barrel. I don’t wake up in a cold sweat, because I already reconciled the really scary stuff before bed. I may have even said out loud, “I think I dealt with all the troubling stuff, brain, but you go ahead and flip out anyway if you really need to.” And I’ll have these ridiculous dreams about really petty stuff, and wake up laughing. IDK. Maybe there’s some remote chance that the dreams are still super deep and symbolic, but there’s only so far a dream system can push a guy before he pushes back.

If you make me roll my eyes while I’m dreaming, dream system thing, then yeah, I am probably not going to spend much time analyzing that dream. Geez.

Finally, talking with people before bed—I have learned that I need to sign off early. Whether it’s my wife, my friends, or some relatives we’re visiting, I’m probably going to head to bed before I get myself into trouble just because I’m tired and also talking at the same time. These two are not a good pair. There’s this loop that happens where I feel lethargic, so I don’t communicate well, then I get frustrated that I’m not communicating well, and THEN I can come off even worse. Or I’m just in my own little world of feels, over there watching synthwave and otherwise inaccessible.

And if the other party’s also tired, flirting with their own worn-out-self patterns…yeah let’s just not. There’s a good chance we’ll both feel like total idiots come the a.m.

I still use sleepyti.me like a boss before I head to bed. This is a really useful tool to me. The most frustrating thing is when I want to get up at a certain time, and then accidentally “miss the bus” and I’m right in the middle of what should be a sleep cycle, and I’m still sitting on the couch. For example, I know I should have fallen asleep by 10:30, but now I might as well wait until 12 a.m. to fall asleep OR flirt with a really bad waking experience when I eventually need to get out of bed in the middle of a sleep cycle. That totally sucks.

Yeah, and also it’s what happened to me last night.

Now, if you reverse all of this, and do it during the day…

…a lot of this is exactly the stuff I also do to recover after I’ve had a bad night’s sleep. It really makes waking & being wiped out so much more tolerable.

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