Compulsively stay up late / procrastinate bed
I almost never post on this forum because I find that I forget to use it as much as I could, but there's a topic that's been bothering me so much and I don't know where else to find camaraderie around it.
I absolutely, severely compulsively stay up late at night regardless of how tired and sleep-deprived I am. This is NOT insomnia and it drives me crazy when well-meaning people in recovery (or not) try to suggest ideas for falling asleep - my problem is not falling asleep, not at all! My problem is getting myself to go to bed.
It's so frustrating. Sleep deprivation SEVERELY affects my mood and ability to be present for my life, use positive tools of recovery and thought patterns, abstain from negative thinking and practice the principles of the program and my spiritual path. I get angry at myself - my thoughts get extremely negative when I'm chronically tired; my self-hating mindset takes over, and I see the world through a cloud. I'm also much less able to connect with my intuition (my communion with a Higher Power) and subsequently have a more difficult time than usual (which is already challenging) making decisions - I question everything and feel like I can't trust my choices...
That's a winded way to say, it's very destructive. But I seem to be constiutionally incapable of putting myself to bed when I most need the sleep. I even find that, the more sleep-deprived I get, the harder it is for me to take care of myself by making a choice to go to bed at an hour that would allow me to get the rest I need.
This pattern is directly related with my eating disorder, which is frustrating, because multiple times I've relapsed due to the stress and anxiety of lack of sleep. Even when I'm not eating compulsively, I find ways to stay up late and deprive myself. Sometimes my staying up late is pushing to get too much done in one night; sometimes it's bullshit surfing on the internet, tweezing my leghairs (yep), reading cultural magazines and getting overwhelmed by the 18 things I want to do in the next week... it's completely unmanageable.
One thing that helps me is trusting that the remaining things will get done when they need to and that it's safe to let them go for the night. However, I also think I use staying up late at night (and eating) as a release - this is a time "for me" and it feels infinite when I'm in whatever I'm doing and that feels relieving and abundant to me, in some false way. I look up at the clock on my computer and think, "Oh, I've got an hour"; then two pass and I think, with a little bit of guilty, "Oh, I can still get 6 hours of sleep," until comes, "Oh shit, it's so late. Fuck, I HAVE to go to bed," to one more email, one more internet news story, one more fill-in-the-blank.
It's procrastination of going to bed and it feels so silly because I typically like going to bed when I allow myself to, but I think there's also something about going to bed exhausted that feels safe to me - there's no chance I'll struggle to fall asleep because my body is already at a breaking point - I crash immediately. When I do allow enough time to go to bed, sometimes I do struggle to stop thinking for a period of time before I finally fall asleep, but I don't consider myself an insomniac and very rarely wake up in the middle of the night.
It's just so frustrating to do this and gets in the way of my recovery in all areas. I'm much more likely to procrastinate during the day because my eyes are closing, and that becomes an excuse not to do the things I don't want to do - I'm literally physically incapable by then. And then I start the cycle over again that night, despite promising myself in the morning that I would go to bed by 10pm... Do you know how many times in the past 15 years I've gone to bed at 10pm? It's a MIRACLE when it happens!
So, anyway, there's a lot wrapped up in this and I want to talk to other people who struggle with this issue - please - NOT with insomnia. I know I can't be the only one, because what I've discovered in 12-Step programs is that I am NEVER the only one! Thank god!
Please respond if you have struggled with this issue and have any thoughts about what motivates your behavior.
The only thing that has ever helped me is "bookending" bed, but that takes willingness to plan in advance. When I've tried to set this up with a "bedtime buddy" who also struggles, I've seen that we have a tendency to not show up for each other. I find it's best to get help from someone who does not actively struggle with this issue because it's more motivating to me - I admire what they have!
Thanks for reading, love you all and am grateful you're here,