When I first arrived in Chiang Mai, I had a bit of a dilemma: I couldn’t sleep.
One of the nights in my first week was spent pulling an all-nighter for reasons that I couldn’t fathom. I was just filled with all kinds of thoughts and emotions.
Realizing I wouldn’t sleep, I left at about 4 AM to jog around the barren streets of Chiang Mai (and walk around) and try release some emotions for almost 2 hours!
On several other nights I faced this issue: I couldn’t sleep, I was too excited, I was thinking about this or that. I felt genuinely grateful and excited to be in Chiang Mai. But why was I so hyped that I couldn’t even get some rest?
On nights that I could kind of sleep, I had another problem: I’d often wake up at multiple times in the night.
Despite feeling tired, it just seemed that sleep was impossible for me. Why?
Maybe it was that I was too stressed, traveling and having all kinds of issues. Maybe it’s that I missed Bulgaria. Maybe I was still so upset about my ex, and had some deep emotions that needed to be released.
Perhaps there was a big thing in my life that was missing, something that was attempting to call out to me each night but didn’t shout out.
Perhaps I needed to relax more, and should get massages before bed. Perhaps I should self-pleasure until I forced myself into a post-orgasm slumber.
Nothing. Fucking. Worked.
The deep-seated emotional issues that were keeping me up at night surely must be big, or perhaps I really must learn to calm down from the excitement of Thailand!
Or maybe was it that I was just so inspired working on my new business project that I couldn’t sleep? I often spent these restless nights thinking of how excited I was for my business.
On one sleepless night I had just gotten a client a never-before-heard-of result which meant I was providing massive value to the client. It was only natural to wish to carry on!
Nope, nope, nope, and nope. I was drugging myself- on accident.
Last Monday, I began to have another restless night. I was too excited about meeting girls, doing business, living in Chiang Mai, and maybe a bit upset still of my ex.
Then it hit me. I immediately went to Google.
“How much caffeine is in Thai Tea?”
Oh shit. It turns out there’s a ton of caffeine in Thai Tea which I was all too often drinking too late in the day. On Monday night I probably had 150mg-200mg of caffeine in my system, all ingested past about 9PM.
I love cafes, and I love Thai tea, but as silly as it sounds I was not aware of just how caffeine-packed it was.
And so often I would work later in the day, fueled by passion for my business, sipping on a Thai tea getting even more hyped without even realizing it.
In Chiang Mai I had also suffered from another problem: a persistent, negative thought saying something like “you’re stupid” and other insults. I couldn’t figure out why this was randomly coming out now of all times.
This thought no doubt has to do with some inner insecurity of being “dumb” or “stupid” or “not good enough,” but triggering thoughts typically also only come out when you are massively sleep deprived.
When it all clicked Tuesday too early in the morning, I realized that I was accidentally drugging myself with caffeine causing what I thought to be some deep emotional problems… when really I was just filling myself with caffeine too late in the day to sleep well!
I also was not drinking any coffee, so I didn’t think that I was having any caffeine at all. In your typical shot of espresso you have 200mg of coffee, whereas a Thai Tea could have 25-90mg of caffeine.
So when I drink coffee, I feel the caffeine because more is ingested at a single point of time. The problem with the Thai Tea I was drinking is that I would have one here or there, and the caffeine was little enough to assume that my slight increase in excitement (if any at all) was natural.
Another example of this would be micro-dosing LSD for example. This isn’t something I’ve experimented with, but users report this: basically you take so little LSD that you don’t even notice anything in the moment, but there are still extremely subtle effects which make you slightly more alert, energized, creative, and happy throughout the day.
I was effectively drugging myself just a bit but not enough to be consciously noticeable over a period of time such so that I could not sleep. The sleep deprivation was also causing inner insecurities and negative thoughts to come out, such as the fear of being stupid (and the egoic self-attack of calling me stupid).
Perhaps in a way my actions weren’t so wise- a part of me deep down knew that the tea was drugging me, but I just wasn’t seeming to figure it out. So the thoughts, while definitely part of a deeper insecurity that I am consciously releasing whenever I have a negative thought, were also triggered by me quite literally lacking the awareness to take care of myself!
On Tuesday I proceeded to drink a delicious cafe latte (with no sugar!) and met an amazing girl that I spent the whole day with. When I got home, I passed out, naturally.
Since then I’ve been avoiding any caffeine-related drink past about 2PM and it’s been working wonders for me!
I’ve slept less long, slept the whole night, fallen asleep faster, oh it’s just so amazing to be sleeping normally again.
This got me thinking: in which other areas of my life am I, or you, fucking up in without even having the awareness to realize it?
The thing is, so many people across the world suffer from problems that are so easily preventable but we lack the awareness to fix it.
For example, sugar has been proven to reduce focus, reduce energy, increase depression, increase anxiety, and lower sexual libido. Why don’t we tell the depressed to go on a super healthy diet instead of popping them with pills that fuck ’em up even more?
I did some self-studies while I lived in Bulgaria, and you can request the data if you’d like. I proved scientifically for myself that sugar was making my life measurably worse.
Since then I’ve cut it out, and almost lived a whole year free of sugar. Now my mood is stable, I have so much more energy, more confidence, etc.
Sugar is measurably a drug, and causing so many problems but people lack the awareness to even realize that is what is causing their problem because eating sugary food is so common!
Sugar is by all definitions a drug, and also the cause of obesity. You can just type in “sugar vs. obesity state comparison,” and you’ll get all kinds of crazy cor-relational studies proving that sugar consumption increases mental illness and weight.
Rant on sugar aside, I was accidentally drugging myself. It seems so fucking silly to say this, and probably some of you are rolling your eyes because you knew that tea was packed with caffeine.
The thing was, I didn’t. We all lack awareness in some things, and it’s affecting us in ways we could never imagine.
Could you imagine if I went to the doctor for insomnia? He’d probably ask if I consume any caffeine. I’d say, “no sir, I don’t drink any coffee,” thinking that no caffeine was in Thai Tea.
He would then say, “okay you are biologically fucked up, take these pills and sleep!” But that’s not the case! I was cluelessly consuming absurd amounts of caffeine late in the evening! No shit I couldn’t sleep!
So this is a bit of a story to laugh at. There I was many nights pondering some deep emotional shit when the answer was rather simple. Turns out that my deep emotional problems are at the very least not causing any insomnia- it was just the caffeine.
Another plus to this is that I can now allow myself to consume coffee, which I think is delicious.
Typically I only consume decaf, however that doesn’t exist in Thailand. Now I can allow myself a morning coffee, 200mg of caffeine, knowing that I’m avoiding it in the afternoon/evening/night and that I am not over-exceeding 400mg of caffeine per day.
Think of some problems you have, and I shall do the same. Perhaps the answers are so bloody simple and right in front of our face that we fail to see them.
I was contemplating deep emotional stuff… But really, the answer was simple.
What problems are you complicating that actually have simple answers? Be creative and open-minded, and talk to others. The answers might just be right there in front of you.