Sims is Good for the Brain

I know, weird title. But hey, it’s the truth! Let me explain. I’ve been playing a lot of RPG games lately. Mostly Stardew Valley and My Time at Portia. I’ve noticed something interesting. I sleep better when I’m mostly playing The Sims games. The other games I stay up late, can’t fall asleep, and wake up late. It’s a perpetual cycle. Why? Because they give me nothing to think about!

RPG games, especially My Time at Portia, are very story-driven. A story that the creators write for us and we just play through. Oh sure I’ve found ways to work around the story or stall elements but regardless it’s not mine and thus doesn’t give me much to think about.

Sims, on the other hand, does. I write the story. I can plot and plan. Think up baby names and wonder how many babies will be born. Try to find a way to fit something unexpected that happened into an existing story. Review house or community lot building ideas. Think up challenges or ways to revise existing challenges to fit my playstyle. And, on most days, all this thinking helps me fall asleep.

The only time it doesn’t is when I have a lot of ideas that won’t stop coming and I have to keep making note of them. This usually happens when I have some huge project that I’m working on like a neighborhood-wide story. And, in those cases, I have to admit I’m usually at least partially manic. Not much I can do for that but hope the sleeping pills work. But that’s an exception to the rule, on a normal day, I have other issues.

The other part of the bipolar cycle is, of course, depression. I lean more towards that end of things most of the time. And, even more fun, is the anxiety. Anybody who knows much about these struggles knows your brain is your worst enemy. Always thinking about upsetting things that drag you down more. Or worrying about this or that which usually results in the whole fight or flight things like a rapid heartbeat or a full-blown anxiety attack.

So, there you are trying to sleep or wash dishes or pretty much anything that doesn’t completely engage the brain and these horrible thoughts creep in. Thinking about games, Sims, in particular, seems to quiet down the internal chatter. The doctors and therapists always tell me that getting a good night’s sleep and sticking to a schedule is the most important thing. Well, other than meds I suppose.

For the last few months, since I took a break from Sims due to computer issues then started playing RPG games, my sleep has gotten worse and worse. It was to the point that I was sleeping until nearly noon. Waking up and eating breakfast at lunchtime, lunch when it’s nearly dinnertime, and not wanting to make dinner at all. And still feeling constantly tired yet not being able to sleep because of all of the thoughts that crowd in.

Nearly desperate, I decided to put this to a test. A friend and I were joking about something that could be done in Sims awhile ago and it really was just a joke. But when I was trying to find some way of testing my “Sims for sleep” idea I thought I wonder if it’s possible. I started doing some playtesting. Thinking about how I would build the house, what kind of restrictions there might be, how many sims… you get the point. And, it had an immediate effect. From that first day, I started sleeping and waking up at normal (for me) times.

This is such a relief to me. I’m not sure why I’m even writing this. Maybe to explain why I’m goofing around in Sims 2? Maybe in case this strategy might help someone else? No clue. I will say I’m having a hard time getting into writing the Portia story. As I mentioned, it’s so story-driven it’s frustrating even playing it let alone writing about it. Which, sadly, leaves me nothing to write. I’d like to start playing and writing my apocalypse story and really can’t figure out why I’m not. It’s not much of a concern I suppose. Time and time again I’ve shelved writing or playing something and then I suddenly want to start back up with it.

So, that’s what’s umm… going on. Why I haven’t written in a few days and why it might be a few days more before something’s published. Especially since I have no idea what that might be at this point. If you got this far in my blabbering thanks. And thanks for reading my crazy stories as well.

~Lacie aka Stormy

(Screenshots from testing added for entertainment purposes only.)

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