Whenever it's dark outside, my brain starts winding down for the day. This is fine in the summer, but right about this time of year it starts to suck a little. How can I get going in the evenings?
posted by Metroid Baby to health & fitness (24 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
For some reason, I don't like doing anything after dark. This includes errands, housework, creative projects, leaving the house in general. When the sun goes down, all I want to do is change into sweats, plop on the couch, and relax - even if I'm not actually tired. I enjoy relaxing, but I'd like to get a little more stuff done, and every evening I think "well, it's getting late/I'm a little tired/I need to take a break tonight, I'll do it tomorrow." As a result, I tend to only get things done during the day on weekends. I've even consciously thought, for example, "I want to clean this room, but it's night. I can't clean at night! I guess I'll have to do it on the weekend." Cleaning at night just feels wrong to me, somehow. I don't really know how I got that notion in my head, but there it is.
Weekend evenings are the same, so it's not really an after-work thing. Cloudy days have a similar effect on me; conversely, bright sunny days energize me. I also have more trouble waking up when it's dark outside, but once I'm out of bed and moving around I'm okay.
This is not exactly a question about seasonal affective disorder, though I think it's related. I am prone to depression, and it is seasonally triggered, but I've been successfully treating it. I take antidepressants, a multivitamin, and fish oil. I work out 5-6 days a week, usually in the evenings. I walk part of the way to work, which gets me outside for 20-30 minutes of daylight in the morning. I have a small full-spectrum lamp, which I've used during the day in past winters. All of this has worked well for me, and I'm not down or sluggish or sleeping excessively, but it hasn't stopped me from associating nighttime with sleepytime.
I have been getting about 6.5-7 hours of sleep a night, which seems to be the right amount for me, and I keep a consistent sleep schedule. I don't think the problem stems from a lack of sleep. And I don't want to sleep less, I just want to do more with the time between, say, 7 and 10 pm.
I suspect the solution might be some variation of "just start making yourself do stuff at night more often," which I keep planning to do (and inevitably adding "tomorrow, because it's already late and tonight I think I need to unwind a little," stupid brain). But if there are any specific tricks I haven't thought of, I want to hear them.