Propped Up By Stimulants

The other night I (Matt) was talking to my brother’s girlfriend about why she doesn’t get enough sleep. Apparently they go to bed after two and wake at seven. To me, it’s pretty obvious: she smokes a pack of cigarettes everyday and chases it with massive amounts of coffee, tea, and soda while on Adderall. With so much stimulant in your system how can you possibly expect to sleep?

And I don’t think she’s so unusual either. How much of our food and drink and recreation and medicine is a massive stimulant delivery system?  The sugar, the caffeine, the nicotine, and in the case of us ADD kids, the amphetamines (Adderall and Ritalin and many other drugs for ADD are amphetamines).

I know it’s affected me. I’ve been hopped up on stimulants on a pretty constant basis since I was 8 years-old. Ritalin at first, but I switched to soda when I went off meds and introduced nicotine shortly after that. I quit smoking five years ago and remember the sluggish irritability that came the next week. But I also remember feeling so clear-headed after it was out of my system.

And the sleep issues are certainly with me too. I stay up too late almost daily. I stay up even later considering that the baby doesn’t sleep through the night. I don’t feel rested and it definitely affects my mood and my abilty to focus.

So I’m quitting the stimulants that are ruining me. No more soda, no more energy drinks, no more caffeinated tea or coffee for the next month starting now. I hope to be free by May and sleeping better by then.


  1. No stimulants at all for the first month, only occasional coffee and tea there after.
  2. No staying up past midnight under any circumstance.
  3. If you are tired, sleep.
  4. If you can’t sleep, don’t stay in bed (because you’ll train yourself to not sleep in bed).
  5. Figure out how to fix that baby that isn’t helping you rest.

Hopefully the family will emerge unscathed by this project, but it’s something I need to do for myself and my health.

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