I immediately thought of my trip to Arizona last year, when I settled almost magically into going to bed at 1 and waking up at 9 every day, without effort. It felt so good. I went outdoors a lot and moved around a lot and socialized a lot every day, and then at night I just went to bed.
The last several weeks of working overtime have been great for my sleep schedule. I'm doing two extra hours of work a day, and I usually do those between 1 and 3... or later. By the time I'm done, I'm exhausted. And because I do the work late and it often technically keeps me up past my bedtime, when I finish it it's easy to say "Finally I can go to bed!". So I've been sleeping pretty steadily, though never going to bed quite as early or sleeping quite as long as I want to. Going to the gym three times a week (more or less) is probably helping too.
Today was all energy intake and no outgo. Intake: I slept in rather than setting an alarm; I lightboxed for half an hour; I ate a lot of protein and then a substantial portion of brownie à la mode; X and I watched an exciting movie for our date night. Outgo: I not only skipped the gym (mostly because my knees were aching--I really overdid it on Wednesday) but did not leave the house at all today; I barely got any work done because I was too distracted by every tiny thing; I ignored Wanikani. Now it's nearly 4 a.m. and I'm twitching like I'm going through detox. Sam got a case of the pixies and went tearing through the house, and all I could think was how much I wished I could run around the house a few times too.
Once the overtime is done--and next week should be the last of it--I'm going to need more mental stimulation, I think, especially at night after J and X go to bed. I look to social media for it, but I rarely get into real conversations online anymore. And it's not like #callahans or alt.poly was all deep discussion all the time, but I'm also not doing any online role-playing or pun-warring or chatting. It's all shallow stuff, an exchange or two and done. It doesn't use my brain the same way. I miss those conversations. :( And the games I play aren't intensely thinky games; they're about dexterity and speed, or long-term planning, or esthetics. And I don't read much (though I've read two books this week! But neither was particularly challenging). And it's been ages since I started a new knitting pattern and had to do all the associated math and such. Basically all my non-work brain workouts come from Wanikani. That cannot possibly be enough.
The snag is that I don't feel like I need more stimulation at night. By then I want to relax and do easy, uncomplicated things. But when my brain is underused, I feel twitchy and agitated. And I guess it's just not getting enough use during the day.
Feh. I can tell that this is like "I don't like eating but if I don't eat I get dizzy" or "I don't like sleeping but if I don't sleep I'm a wreck" or "I don't like exercising but if I don't exercise my knees hurt". And if the lesser evil is reading or playing challenging games or starting intricate crafting projects, that is really not so evil! It just sounds tiring at a time when I'm already tired. It sounds hard. It sounds like work.
...but the goal is to be able to sleep, so "that sounds tiring" is really not a reason to avoid doing a thing. Yes, tire me out, that is the whole point.
Not sure how to ramp up and gradually get my brain used to not being completely shut off in the evenings. Maybe I could start by reading shorter books that are uncomplicated or familiar. Or folding some origami--I haven't done it in a while, so that will be a nice way to clear off some overgrown mental pathways, and I can make a few complete pieces in an evening even if I start with mid-level stuff. (No Montroll, Brill, or Lang designs until I'm back in shape.)
For now, though, bed. It's getting on toward 5. I'm still not sleepy, but I'm exhausted.
Tomorrow I go to the gym, for very sure.