Insomniac Language Learner

Insomnia – 불면증

a persistent disorder that can make it hard to fall asleep, hard to stay asleep or both, despite the opportunity for adequate sleep.

I struggle to maintain a normal sleep pattern.  Without the structure of a 9 to 5 job, I tend to sleep when I am tired, and get up when I am not.  This is complicated by staying in contact with Koreans who are 13 hours time difference from me.

It is 3 AM as I write this blog post.

In this post, I will tell you my plan for studying as days get shorter.

I tell myself I won’t turn on the PC midnight to 6 AM as those are sleep hours.  I cheat.  I fail at my resolution to get a normal night’s sleep.

There is a lot I like about the middle of the night.  Lying in bed, when my brain is awake but my body is tired, I think.  I count in Korean.  I think about what I want to be studying in Korean.  I write blog posts in my head.  After an hour or two of this, my brain is bursting with ideas.

Night has few distractions.  I can often concentrate on language learning tasks in the quiet and dark of early morning.

With winter coming, the days growing shorter, wake and sleep cycles get even more skewed.  I joke that I am solar powered.  I have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is a kind of winter blues.  I need light therapy in the long, dark winter.  As soon as it gets dark, my body thinks it is time to go to bed.  Lately, that is around 7:30 PM.  Seven hours of sleep, and ta-da I am awake at 3 AM.

Daylight September

Click on the calendar to see what the daylight hours are in your area.Daylight December


I need to accept that this is how it is for me, and make my lemonade out of winter’s lemons.

My goal is to spend half an hour a day in concentrated language learning in two 15 minute sessions.  I will do this in the early morning, when there are no distractions.  Then I will spend half an hour in play time, those language activities I find fun and motivating.  I want to put more activity in my life which also helps the winter blues, so a walk in the sunlight listening to language audio could be a play time activity.

I will do language studying 6 days a week, and one day a week give myself a day off.  This will let me make progress, while not burning out.


I have a lot of ideas floating in my brain from listening to Anthony Lauder yesterday. When I was lying in bed with my brain spinning, I thought I would share them all in a blog post.  However, I have written enough for now.  Suffice it to say, I have discovered a man who seems like an average guy who diligently works at language learning over the long term, and that has yielded him results.  He is the one who gave me the idea for the 6 days a week, half an hour of concentrated study plan from his “Methods and Motivation” video.

I keep hearing from different language learners “Be patient, trust the process, it will work if you stick with it, it is a marathon not a sprint, you’ll wander around in a fog and then one day it will all start to make sense” and the like.  It is hard to trust.  I don’t have the proof yet that I can learn to speak a foreign language.  Yet,  someone like Anthony gives me hope when he says, “It isn’t what you learn in one hour, it is what you learn in 365 hours.”


I can be persistent.


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