söndag 16 september 2012

From insomniac to, well, to sleeping well

I made it. My whole life I had trouble falling asleep and the last 14 years I had insomnia. I used to lie sleepless for hours pretty much every night for 5-6 days, pass out day 7 - and then start over.

I didn't look for much help, a doctor wrote me prescriptions for Zolpidem drugs but they sometimes gave me hallucinations. It was actually not a bad trip most of the time but I wanted to sleep, not get high. At the age of 26, after 10 years of insomnia, I took an online CBT treatment which at least gave me some hope and a large piece of the puzzle.

Today I'm close to 33 and can fall asleep a minute after laying down in bed. I'm very proud and happy about this and would like to share the method.

At the center of the problems was a restlessness, which could turn ro near-mania at bad days. So, I had to learn to relax, which was much harder work than you'd think. I also had a total lack of focus, so staying on track was hard too. It sounds strange considering the troubles I had, some days I'd like to go back and slap myself in the back of my head.

CBT lead to the studies of meditation, which led to the study of Buddhist psychology. Buddhism itself didn't help my sleeping problems but it gave a bigger picture of the human mind - it's a different blog post, but I can say that it's surprisingly insightful.

And after experimenting with reduced tea and coffee intake, tv-watching, bed times, waking times, training, meditation and relaxation techniques, hypnosis, alcohol, Zolpidem pills, evening walks and what have you, I found my own personal recipie. In short:

  • Do "the breathing" a few times per day. Described below.
  • One cup of coffee per day, before 12 o'clock.
  • Get some exercise, a couple of walks per week is enough.
  • 2 hours before bedtime, avoid stimulance like tv and book reading. Sex is fine.
  • Don't go to bed until I've done "the breathing" enough to feel tired.
  • Once in bed, just focus on the breath. If thoughts start consuming me, get up and start over.
"The breathing" is a simple breathing exercise. For each breath, relax the whole body more and more. Every litte corner of the body should relax. But the focus should be on the breath. It can be shallow or deep, intentional or automatic, but keep away thoughts by focusing intensely on the breathing. Since I'm normally a pretty restless person, this exercise allows me to drop the energy and become tired. It took a lot of practice though, we're talking years.

torsdag 23 september 2010

Global leadership, a thought

I never knew if the older, bigger kids on the playground would follow the rules. In fact, I sort of thought they wrote the rules.

I'd like to reflect on Google. I kinda like them. But, as with the bigger kids, size frightens me, no matter how well-behaved they may be. I guess it's something with corporate play rules that denies me to accept Google as super duper friendly.

What really changed my perspective the other day was the realization that I have never, ever paid a cent to Google directly - and yet they make all their money from me and my consumer behavior. According to Wikipedia, 99% of their revenue comes from advertisement. So I guess their money comes from company ad spendings - and they obviously make their money on consumers in one way or another.

Certainly, many companies do not make a cent on end consumption. But this is different: anyone who consumes, funds advertisement. In short, everybody pays.

This is a bit comparable to taxes, isn't it? We all pay, and the community get something back.

( Does the community get anything back? Well, internet was given a brand new infrastructure when their search engine was released. And it may be table scraps, but they did raise our idea of free and functional to a new level. Hey, guess who provides me with this blog for free?)

So to build on this comparison, in my opinion Google resembles a government institution. They may not control roads or healthcare, but they certainly have an amazing degree of presence in and control over information infrastructure. Now they're investing in hardware too, and will have a good share of the future local base stations that provide broadband connections.

Sure, they aren't bound to national borders. Also, we don't elect them, they don't need to ratify UN decisions, we can't object when they set their own salaries or affect how the money is used -

- well, actually, that's the thing: in the end it's just another big old corporation, period, and they are very very present in our lives, just like twitter and facebook for that matter. And the neoliberals will say free markets ensured the people freedom of speech, while the socialists will curse the corporations for exploiting our need to be heard.

Me, I'm just going to enjoy reasonably benign leadership for now.