The things we think about when we lay down to sleep

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by strantor, Feb 12, 2015.

  1. strantor

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    Oct 3, 2010
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    It sometimes takes me a couple of hours to fall asleep. I lay there awake in the dark until after midnight, when I have to wake up at 5am, thinking about random crap. It takes that long for the flywheel of my mind to wind down, if I've had the speed turned up to 11 all day.

    I've been struggling with an issue at work for a couple of days. One issue with my project that has been holding me back. I couldn't find or realize the cause of the issue. Two straight days banging my head against a wall, no progress. Then last night, laying in bed, I had an epiphany. I realized what was causing the problem and immediately knew what the solution was.

    Fast forward to today, I can't remember what the hell I was thinking last night. So this morning instead of wasting time banging my head against the wall, I'm wasting time trying to retrace the steps in my mind and re-realize what I realized last night. I should have written it down, and the thought did occur to me to write it down, but (ironically) I remember thinking "no, this is too obvious and too important and too simple to forget."

    I'm hoping that this little time-wasting exercise of online confessionals about my time-wasting and my faulty memory, will jog my faulty memory. It isn't working yet.
     
  2. Alec_t

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    My mother used to keep a pencil and paper beside her bed for that very reason, to jot down such useful thoughts; but was often surprised, come the cold light of day, to read the rubbish she'd written in the night;).
     
  3. GopherT

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    Nov 23, 2012
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    I used to do the notepad thing. 90% of the time I discovered that my fatigue made me forget some simple laws of chemistry or physics because the ideas were usually really bad by the morning when I was back to my full, alert self.
     
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  4. Brownout

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    Jan 10, 2012
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    I typically work on an issue all day and make no progress, only to think of the resolution on my drive home. Sometimes, I think I should just go drive around the block a few time.
     
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  5. joeyd999

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    I can play perfect music in my head for a short period when I begin to wake up. I mean, an entire orchestra. I can visualize and auditorialize every note from every instrument, and "zoom" into one instrument, hearing the individual sounds and "understanding" how it relates to the rest of the music. And I can do this consciously, sort of like a lucid dream, allowing myself to improvise during the production.

    Then, I wake up fully, not being able to imagine a decent rendition of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star".
     
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  6. cmartinez

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    Listening to you guys... I'm soooo glad I never write my thoughts down when I've had a few beers... It would be embarrassing to myself to even remember what I was thinking...
     
  7. Kermit2

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    Jennifer Lawrence... :)
     
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  8. cmartinez

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    Jan 17, 2007
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    And while you're at it... Taylor Swift !
     
  9. wayneh

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    Sep 9, 2010
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    I've had that happen many times, where a brilliant idea that you think you could not possibly forget just...disappears.

    Your solution is exercise - at least 30 minutes of uninterrupted, solitary, aerobic activity like running, walking, biking or swimming, every day. This will eliminate stress (helping you fall asleep much better) and allow your mind to wander much as it does after a couple hours in the bed. The difference is that an idea will hit you while you're wide awake and likely to remember it.

    There's actually a whole consultant business based off the idea that a mental excursion can help you reach those "aha" moments like Archimedes in his bathtub. Those consultants don't recommend laying in bed to get there, but some other activity.

    And yeah, JL and TS.
     
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  10. cmartinez

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    Excellent advice... but one last thing... let's finally add Kathy Perry to the mix... and call it a trifecta... ;)
     
  11. joeyd999

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    Seriously?
     
  12. cmartinez

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    I dunno... she's the first one that came to mind... got a better suggestion? (hope she doesn't look like your avatar :p)
     
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  13. atferrari

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    More than in the pre-sleep wander, in my periods of insomnia, not frequent but occurring from time to time and which I learnt to handle with good results, I have been able to remember things deeply buried in my memory or solve problems.

    When doing my first job as a Supercargo in Santos, Brazil, where a vessel had to be fully loaded with all cargo under deck, something that was seeming impossible, in one moment of insomnia I could see what I should do to distribute things and gain the space needed. Just in case, I got up and changed the stowplan on the spot.

    Few weeks ago, I was trying to recall where I had seen a particular topology to produce triangular waves many years ago. In that case, found the way by trying to remember the circuit's drawing style in the datasheet what led me to Intersil and from there to the chip (ICL8038).

    Whatever I do, forcing the process seems to give no results. Best is making clear to myself all what I seem to remember even in association to something else. Even if I recall that a certain letter was twice in the name or at the end.

    Solutions or good ideas I get while sleeping (dreaming?) they only leave me with the feeling that there is one but no more than that.
     
  14. #12

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    Nov 30, 2010
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    I have 2 things in common with this thread. Falling asleep is not coming easily lately, and 10 minutes of brisk walking will keep me wide awake and safe for another hour when I really, really, have to drive for another hour.

    Other than that, the thoughts that whirl around in my mind at night are usually about emotional moments. I was irritated in this moment, I was amused at this other moment... If I do have a valid idea, I can remember it! I can wake up with a list of 5 or 6 things I need to do before leaving for a job...and forget where I left my glasses.o_O It depends on what is important to me today.
     
  15. djsfantasi

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    I used to take notes, verbally record the thoughts on my cell phone, or even get up and work on the issue. Now, I find that when this situation occurs to me, that if I let it go, it will come back to me later - on the drive in, at a coffee break, taking a walk outside, driving home... It's like the solution bugs me to pay attention to it, when I ignore it in the first place.

    If it doesn't, I chalk it off to never being the correct solution in the first place.
     
  16. GopherT

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    ON the flip side, Salvador Dali wanted to remember the weird dreams. There is a story where he would fall asleep in a chair while holding a teaspoon above a tin pan. When he fell asleep, he would naturally drop the spoon and wake himself up. Then he would quickly make notes of his dreams - weird dreams - have you seen his paintings?
     
  17. cmartinez

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    I love Dali's work... I wonder if the spoon he used looked anything like his clocks and watches...
     
  18. Reloadron

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    Jan 15, 2015
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    Fatigue will get you, been there and done that. Not so much while sleeping but during some long work days after maybe 10 hours I was useless. As to work related issues and my sleep habits? There were times solutions came to me in my sleep to work related issues. Some were good and some were useless. The useless ones were about the same as those that came to me after a 10 hour stressful day. My last year on the job I was just juggling too many projects and it was beginning to show, not just with bad decision making but with Insomnia. Went through my entire adult life thinking Insomnia was BS right till I had it. Laying awake in that bed knowing I was dead tired and nothing happening. Look at clock, an hour later look at clock again. That sucked! The company was laying more and more demands on us and I was getting burned out as projects just seemed to run together. When fatigue sets in the whole thought process goes to heck in a hand basket.

    Strantor, you need to get a grip. Seriously I suggest seeing a doctor. I was fortunate in that when things were going south I was at a retirement age so I simply pulled the plug at 63 while originally I planned on 66 or 67. This forum affords some great engineering type help but I think you should see a doctor and see where it goes from there.

    Ron
     
  19. #12

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    I found that laying on the cardboard boxes in the warehouse and pretending I was asleep for 10 minutes was a great refresher.
     
  20. Glenn Holland

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    Dec 26, 2014
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    This subject is right along what I was thinking.

    I am a night person and I do my best thinking from 9 PM to 3 AM. Quite frequently, I go to bed and lay there thinking about something I've studied and I can easily come up with solutions to problems that would be perplexing during the daytime hours. Then I get tired around 4 to 5 AM and go to sleep until 12 noon. However, this circadian rhythm is absolutely not compatible with employment or going to school in the daytime hours and I'm living like a night owl.
     
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