Under normal conditions I can get a decent night’s sleep. But when I have to get up early the next morning I find it difficult if not impossible to sleep. I begin worrying that if I don’t sleep, I’ll have real trouble doing whatever important thing I need to do the next day. The worry then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy since an anxious person is kept awake by his anxiety. It happens a lot when I travel (I am in a hotel lobby, printing out a boarding pass, as I type this) but also when I’m at home, as long as I have to be up early.
In practice, I’ve simply gotten good at functioning without sleep. I gave the Rally for the Republic speech (1, 2) on about two hours’ sleep. I’ve done plenty of TV and public speaking on no sleep at all. But this isn’t healthy.
Now here’s the problem. It won’t help to say I should listen to music, or turn out all the lights, or have some herbal tea, etc. Because the very act of doing those things reminds me that I’m worried I may not get to sleep, and there goes the anxiety again. I have used Ambien but would prefer to find an alternative. (Non-prescription sleep aids don’t even make a tiny dent in my problem.) I intend to start a good exercise routine again, which should get me tired, but it’s the worry-about-not-sleeping self-fulfilling prophecy problem that I really need to cope with. I welcome any suggestions.