Sleep and Anxiety. They don’t seem to have the best relationship, especially for me. Anxiety makes my mind race, making everything feel tight, constricting, and uncomfortable. Sleeping is often impossible for me and even when I fall asleep, I wake up early with an overwhelming feeling of dread. Because I’m so bad at sleeping, I get lots of anxiety about not getting enough sleep. Then my anxiety and depression flares up when I’m overtired. It’s a vicious cycle.
Holding it together through the day to day, whilst experiencing nearly constant anxiety, can be extremely tiring. Sometimes just going through the motions is exhausting to the core. It is hard to explain this to someone who has never experienced this kind of anxiety. A few of my good friends and my parents have said that they do not fully understand how I feel, but they try their best to support me.
I’ve always needed more sleep than the average bear – literally! Most people my age, that I know, sleep an average of 6-7 hours of sleep a night. In order to give my body a fighting chance to feel its best, I need at least 8 hours of sleep. 9 hours is optimal. I am almost 35 years old and I’m still hoping to grow out of this need to get so much rest. It’s so difficult in our busy world.
Lack of sleep can cause irritability, irrational thoughts, and mild depression. I am also fuzzy and lightheaded when I have not had enough sleep. I used to drink a lot of coffee back in the day to combat my sleeplessness. However, now I understand that I was ultimately making it harder to sleep by pumping my body full of caffeine. It took awhile to break the caffeine dependency, but now that I have, just a little bit of coffee makes me jump out of my skin!
One of my friends asked me what I do to wake up in the morning without coffee or tea. I shrugged and told her I just woke up. To help my anxiety, I try my best to keep a calm baseline. I do miss the morning buzz, but not taking medication to assist my mental health is important to me, and this is one of the sacrifices I’ve had to make.