What Is Keeping Me Awake? Chocolate, Stress, or Creative Genius - Cube Dweller Fitness

What Is Keeping Me Awake? Chocolate, Stress, or Creative Genius

I’m up and out of bed, again. This time I made it into bed for a few hours, then bam I am wide awake. My tender sleep instantly becomes torture; torture plagued by incessant tinnitus, odd sounds around the house, and a barrage of ideas. Why ,oh why, am I awake?

I conclusion is to blame chocolate, stress, or creative genius. You decide.

Comfort to Turture

Is it just me or does life have a funny way of flipping comfort into torture?

Think about it. My bed, my den, my haven of recovery. There is the place of slumber, the place where my mind is supposed to be able to check-out, relax, and let my body, mind, and soul recover from the daily battle. My bed, my comfort zone, is supposed to be essential to my health both physically and mentally.

But it happens. Sometimes more often than I’d like to admit.

Something happens that flips comfort to torture. Instead of enjoying sleep; I come to dread it. Some nights I don’t even want to try. I’d rather avoid trying, avoid laying still staring at the twilight lit ceiling, hoping for REM sleep to magically appear. Other nights, like tonight, I wake up for unknown reasons and can’t get back to sleep.

What Causes Sleeplessness?

So I laid there for 30 minutes, an hour, okay so I wasn’t really watching the clock. I’ve actually started turning my clock away from the bed, so I can’t glance at it to count the minutes, and hours, idly wasted away seeking slumber.

Tonight I concluded that I can blame three things for keeping me awake. My triad of sleeplessness are chocolate, stress, or creative genius.

Oh sure, I could admit that I’m over forty. That I’m over-the-hill. Perhaps the years are catching up to me; but we’ll avoid that reasoning. Back to my list, back to my rant.

Chocolate Causes Insomnia

While you know I hate crap science, like the recent news bout claiming dark chocolate is better than exercise, it is 1am. I am not going to attempt to search and read pubmed abstracts linking chocolate to insomnia. Sorry – it’s my rant and my sleepless night.

I’ve heard many say that chocolate contains caffeine. I will make no claims; remember this is a rant. What I will say is that I’m good at pattern recognition – even when I don’t like the pattern I recognize. And … there’s a pattern.

When I eat chocolate in the late evening I have trouble sleeping.

Now some of you may be thinking, he’s just getting old. Away with you. Remember it is my rant and I am choosing to ignore that line of thinking.

We had our small group over at our house last night. It is a weekly meeting with a group of couples we’ve grown to enjoy and treat as if they are family. We bring food, eat, and share life together. Truly a great time, but … there’s often chocolate.

And chocolate is not something that I have learned to avoid, yet. (Ouch, that even hurt to type. Honestly, I winced when I typed it.) We celebrated a birthday last night and had one of my most incredible chocolate mousse cake’s I’ve had in a long time. It was delightful – and not at 1am I am unable to sleep.

Damn you chocolate. You delicious bane of my slumber.

Stress Is Freaking My Out of My Sleep

But maybe I’m jumping the gun, maybe I shouldn’t blame chocolate. Instead realize that life is filled with seasons, seasons of stress. Like most seasons there is an ebb and flow to them. At times the season is full-on, while others it is quiet — don’t you find the same is true for stress?

I do. Especially as a cube dweller stress is a part of life. But there are seasons where new opportunities arise, deadlines are looming, and stress grows into a beastly perfect storm that can shake you from deep sleep.

Stress could be my cause of insomnia.

At work our team has taken on a huge effort to implement new software from Service-Now. The short version of the story is that I’ve dug deep into my drawer full of geek-skills and am neck deep in opportunity.

Outside of work I’ve inflicted my own deadlines. This site, Cube.Dweller.Fitness, turned one year old yesterday! How fun is that. I guess we could have celebrated that birthday last night as well. Can I ask for a little cheer for this one year old? (Seriously, if you appreciate it give it a share, a like, a comment.)

What a year it has been. Exciting and fun. I’ve met some incredible people and enjoyed digging deeper into a life-long fascination with fitness. Along the way I’ve decided to pull together a fitness program of my own; one to help you get in shape so you can take on new challenges that life tosses your way. I am excited.

But I will also admit that I’m stressed. I want this to be perfect for you. I want the workouts to rock. I want the movements to be well taught, explained with enough detail to coach you through the text. I want it to be engaging, inspiring, and most importantly practical advice you can use to get in better shape. That’s a lot of self-imposed stress.

My insomnia could be caused by a full-on perfect storm of stress.

Creative Genius Knows No Time Limits

So in the middle of the night my mind is churning with ideas. My mind is often flooded with creative ideas to address the challenges I’m facing both at work and home. With my stress tsunami filling my brain with a diverse set of challenges it could be creative genius stirring me from sleep flooded with ideas of opportunity.

When faced with ample opportunity my mind has a way of solving the craziest riddles in the middle of the night. I can still recall times during Calculus where I awoke at 2am with a brilliant solution to a homework problem. Since then each season of opportunity has been the same, where my mind is churning fueled by stress to find solutions.

My mind is running rampant, so rampant I’m typing this now at 1:30am.

My mind is flooded with thoughts. Thoughts of graphic designs that can’t be rendered with my Gimp-skills. New explanations, and videos of details I hadn’t yet captured. Thoughts about how best to explain and inspire you that my fitness program is worth your hard-earned dollars. Thoughts about web design, about colors, and layout. Thoughts about just way too many things for midnight.

So perhaps it isn’t chocolate, nor stress. Perhaps my mind was lit by some odd catalyst when REM and opportunity combine producing creative genius. Yup, my deep slumber was disturbed by an interruption of creative genius.

What’s Keeping You Awake?

While I have identified and named my triad of tormentors. What’s on your list? Do you have seasons of sleeplessness? Do struggle with bouts of insomnia?

If so, let’s hear it. I’d love to know I’m not alone in my mid-night stirrings. Leave a comment. Join the rant. I know it feels good, in fact now that this post is nearly done and my glass of water nearly empty I believe I’m feeling sleepy again. Nice.

Leave a comment. Get it off your chest. Reveal to the interwebs what you have identified as your tormentor of sleep. What is keeping you awake at night? Is it chocolate, stress, or creative genius?


Troy is the founder of Cube.Dweller.Fitness. He's an innovation catalyst in several areas of life including business, marketing, and process improvement. Outside of work he's actively involved in fitness, health, and living vibrantly in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

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