(From the Brown Eyed Baker)
I mentioned in my last entry that while I can be pretty good at coming up with big ideas, I really stink more often than not at keeping my feet on the ground. This carries through in other ways too – I spent a lot of time working on intellectual and now spiritual development, but a lot less so taking care of myself physically. Up through my late 20s I stayed active and was aided and abetted by a naturally high metabolism, and now in middle age I still haven’t quite gotten used to the idea of self-maintenance in that regard. So when something odd crops up that could have a metaphysical explanation, I often overlook a possible prosaic physical one.
For as long as I can remember I’ve had trouble with occasionally waking up in the middle of the night or early morning hours wrapped up in anxiety. This, I know, is normal; countless people have suffered from the same thing. But more recently, over the past year or so, it’s come with a new twist: a feeling of impending doom. Like everything is about to crash all around me, fall apart, and there’s nothing I can do to stop it.
Needless to say, this makes it hard to go back to sleep. Between that and just not liking the feeling at all, I spent a lot of time wondering what was causing this and what to do about it.
Did it have a metaphysical cause? Was some higher part of me trying to tell me something? If so, it was well hidden, since my dreams up to the point of waking up weren’t usually negative (some were downright happy), and meditation wasn’t forthcoming.
It took me this long to think to look for a physical cause.
Turns out, the feeling of impending doom is also pretty common – in fact a short Google search (which I could’ve done months ago if I’d just thought to do it) even turned up people using the specific phrase “feeling of impending doom”. And yep, there are possible physical causes for it. Two caught my eye:
-Magnesium deficiency. I actually take magnesium every night before going to bed anyway, thanks to suffering kidney stones a few years ago. A few days before I thought to do the search, though, I upped my dose due to also prevent nighttime muscle cramps.
-Low blood sugar. This caught my eye because I have a schedule out of whack with most o the rest of the world around me: I go into work in the afternoon, have dinner somewhere around 7 or 8 pm, am typically at work till 1 am, and then read till somewhere between 2:30 to 3:30 am (mostly the latter time lately). The long reach from dinner to actually going to bed, then the hours of sleep, usually without food, is plenty of time to throw my system for a loop on a nightly basis.
So now along with the extra magnesium I’m also have a little bit of something with sugar either before I leave work or before I go to sleep. Nothing massive – at most, a handful of small sandwich cookies.
And…so far so good. Maybe it’s worked, maybe it’s just a coincidence, but for the last few days since adding the nighttime sugar, not only have I not awakened with any feelings of impending doom, but I haven’t woken up with feelings of severe depression, and I’ve managed to have a good night’s sleep all around.
Thoughts in the sky but feet on the ground, son. Feet on the ground.