Anxiety-induced late nights

Cat sleeping on a bed.

My anxiety is not letting me sleep.

I am quite vocal about the fact that I absolutely love sleep. The prospect of getting to go to bed each night, snuggled in my quilt, will never not be exciting. But no! Even the prospect of sleeping anywhere is exciting for me; I have known to be able to fall asleep whenever and wherever. So how come I have not been able to fall asleep lately?

For the last few weeks, I have struggled to fall asleep any earlier than 1am. Perhaps for some, this is quite a normal lifestyle. But since most mornings I will have to wake up 5 or 6 hours later, it is a challenge to get out of bed and rush for the bus. The struggle does not stop when I am ready for my day. I find that I will crash in the afternoon. I have turned to coffee recently, as a non-coffee drinker, just for something to keep me awake.

It is a vicious cycle though, because after a long day of work or study or rehearsing or socialising, you would think that I am so knocked out from the bad sleep that I would be ready to hit the hay. But alas! The pattern repeats itself, and I find myself trying to watch YouTube videos to fall asleep.

Anxiety is clearly the cause for me. Sleep and anxiety are very linked, as anxious thoughts can make it difficult to fall asleep. This has been the case for me: I lay awake, overthinking my day, my actions, my words. My head is filled with the intrusion of does anyone even like me? or what are the tasks that I have to get done tomorrow? I would assume that now my degrees are finished, there would be less stress in my head, but this has not been the case. I find that knowing that I am still awake and have to get up early makes my anxiety worse, instead of telling my brain that I need to fall asleep.

So how can I improve my sleep? I am still trying to work this out. Since I have started seeing a mental health professional, I know that this is something that I can talk about with them. One particularly bad night, I found messaging one of my night owl friends, and getting him to validate my thoughts (including lots of 'don't stress, these people like you!) was a big help. And of course, I know this can't last forever. I have had periods of bad sleep before in my life, and I always end up falling back into my sleep lover patterns. 

Tagged in What messes with your head, sleep, anxiety