We’ve all been there… Lying awake at a stupid time in the night. Thinking about things, about life, about family, about our dreams, about what we want to achieve, what we did in the past. One thought leading on to another, staring with a list of things to do in the morning.
I used to do it all the time, I still do occasionally, but the worst I had it was after coming back from America in 2008, my sleep cycle was all over the place because of the jet lag. I’d travelled from Gaborone in Botswana to Johannesburg, to London to Canada and then to Texas and then back to London within a week. It may sound like I was a jet setting entrepreneur but I was simply going back to get some things after my first year golf at University didn’t pan out.
A little sidebar - I remember getting a Black Cab from the Airport in London all the way to the new flat where my sister and I would be staying. It was about an hour and a half in a black cab. I had so much stuff with me and the last thing my sister had said to me on the phone, ‘don’t get a black cab, look for another kind of taxi.’
The cab ride came to nearly £100 as I rocked up in South East London from Heathrow Airport, completely oblivious that the cab driver had actually done about 4 laps of the neighbourhood before actually driving down the right road. I only discovered this later in the week when I went exploring and realised that I’d been ripped off.
Once semi - established in the UK again I found work in a pub and did some moonlighting for a catering agency. The hours were long and I spent most of my days using tip money to buy cigarettes. Once I got offered a day’s work in Windsor Castle - 12 hour shift, paid at the end of the week - boom! I was in the money, the only problem was I got back to London so late that public transport was few and far between. I ended up spending £40 on another taxi home from West London. Calculating the wage at the end of the week I realised that I had literally wiped out the 12 hour shift for one taxi ride…
It was situations like that that would circle in my head at 2am after a long day of work. The realisation that, A: My dream of golf in America had ceased to be and, B: I was flat broke and couldn’t see a way forward.
I tried various means of sleep accelerants from legal herbal sleeping pills to illegal drugs to counting sheep. Nothing helped and it is amazing the number of sheep that you can count up to…
From 2008 to 2013 I spent a lot of time trying to sleep better, in the end I settled for a simple remedy. I would keep a can of fresh Coca-Cola next to the bed, along with; an ashtray, lighter and box of cigarettes. I’d try and have a gap between my second last and my last smoke of the day. Lighting one up before going to sleep would give me an awesome head rush and before it was gone I’d switch off the light and, boom! I was asleep… Only for a few hours, then I would cough myself awake, have a swig of Coca-Cola and a cheeky 4am smoke, let the head rush hit and... Boom! Off to sleep again. The good news was that I'd gotten rid of sleepless nights. The bad news was that I’d successfully replaced overthinking with a slightly more deathly habit.
I only really cured this behaviour after committing to changing my lifestyle drastically in 2013. Despite the first 2 weeks of change being the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, I can safely say it taught me a great deal of things, I’ll highlight a few for you now.
Now, I’m not saying that you need to commit to everything that I did to change my situation. What I can say is that taking charge of your health with good movement, and applying the right nutritional approach to your life can open up a world to you that you never knew existed. Ultimately it is about commitment to the cause, if you are committed to being better and are open to learning along your path then you’ll get there!
Never fear becoming the person you are capable of being, never fear having the life, the body the mindset that you are capable of having. Turn fear into an acronym and the word changes. Face Everything And Rise!
I’ll be sharing some more of my sleep and overthinking story in the Member Zone this week where I'm on video covering 4 aspects of our lives that we can truly focus on for holistic health, if you are not a member of the site then follow the link here: - Together We Move - and get involved today.
Thank you for your support in reading this blog, and please share with those who you feel could benefit from my story...
Have a great week, Stay Strong and Keep Moving!
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Brendan is the owner and head trainer at Raw Motion Fitness.