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Friday, May 6, 2011


Dear Nurse Dave,
You are killing me. Love the blog and the answers.
I just stayed up way past my promised bedtime to read your blog.. and now i will pay at work tomorrow. (and it's a very important day tomorrow) this leads me to my question....
Every night i plan to get to bed at a decent hour, but then I end up finding a distraction (usually a productive one) that keeps me up 1 to 2 hours past my self imposed bed time. I feel like i have to get something productive done before i can have a satisfying sleep and may get stressed as the night wains until i find fulfillment. I would rather get up early and exercise, but i can't shake the cycle. My mother let me stay up late as a kid to work on projects with her. We both have lots of anxiety about keeping busy as well. So, A. Is my problem genetic or habitual? and B. How can i break it?

Kris Sundberg, CA (Kris's photoblog and his prints)

Interesting thoughts Kris. First I want to speak to genetics by pointing you to this story. It's about girls that were switched at birth and always wondered why they didn't fit in with their families. One family was the shy awkward type and the other family the outgoing type. The switched girls still ended up with personalities the opposite of the family they were raised in. Obviously genetics plays some role in personality development.

But Kris we don't have to let genetics determine who we are and the choices we make. Pitching great Randy Johnson is 6'10 but didn't let genetics tell him to play basketball, instead he played and excelled at baseball. Genetics cursed Jeff Tweedy with his physical appearance but he became the lead singer of a successful rock band. Genetics of course plays part in the choices we make but we have free will. Just look at me, I'm a male nurse.

To overcome your limitations you've got to look inward. Really you're dealing with some of the same self control issues that Nicholas Cage dealt with in Con Air. He wasn't able to control his anger in a barroom fight and it led to incarceration. In a way he let his genetics make that choice. He learned to control himself through a three step process. First he grew his hair excessively long and started wearing tank tops. You don't have to make the same changes as him but you do need to change your look. Second he pondered about his mistakes for 8 years and did tons of pull-ups. You may not have this kind of time but you can buy a pull-up bar and do tons of pull-ups. Third, after pondering he decided what was right and stood up for his principles. The massive amounts of pull-ups he did made it possible for him to stand up for what was right. These steps allowed Nic to save a diabetic guy, write a note on a dead guy's body and drop it from a plane, survive a crash landing on the Vegas strip, kill some prison dudes, then finally defeat John Malkovich. So try the steps but don't feel bad if you can't accomplish as much as Nicholas Cage. He's had a lot longer time to work on this stuff.

some other suggestions
1) try dancing 30 minutes before bedtime (may I suggest this song)
2) Wake up with smooth jazz
3) try chewing more gum
4) write letters to yourself

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