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The past 5 nights, I've had completely sleepless nights for 3 of them

TheWorrier

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First of all, I've been under a lot of stress recently with my dad dying a few weeks ago (who I had been living with) and my mother having to go into a care home due to her dementia. And am depressed a bit with it all.

Now I'm suffering from sleep problems, and specifically getting to sleep in the first place, which I have only very rarely suffered from in the past. Had the occasional problem getting to sleep in the past 2 months which I've very rarely experienced before.

But now it's got a whole lot worse. For the past 5 nights, I've had completely sleepless nights for 3 of them. I have a sleepless night, followed by a full night of sleep, then another sleepless night etc. However, before going to bed I can drop off to sleep usually when sitting at my computer or watching the TV, but then when I go to bed I might not sleep at all. So my insomnia is driven purely by anxiety with the source of my anxiety now being predominantly the fact I can't get to sleep. So a catch 22 situation. Has anyone else experienced something like this? Will this eventually end?
 

Jonathan123

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First of all, I've been under a lot of stress recently with my dad dying a few weeks ago (who I had been living with) and my mother having to go into a care home due to her dementia. And am depressed a bit with it all.

Now I'm suffering from sleep problems, and specifically getting to sleep in the first place, which I have only very rarely suffered from in the past. Had the occasional problem getting to sleep in the past 2 months which I've very rarely experienced before.

But now it's got a whole lot worse. For the past 5 nights, I've had completely sleepless nights for 3 of them. I have a sleepless night, followed by a full night of sleep, then another sleepless night etc. However, before going to bed I can drop off to sleep usually when sitting at my computer or watching the TV, but then when I go to bed I might not sleep at all. So my insomnia is driven purely by anxiety with the source of my anxiety now being predominantly the fact I can't get to sleep. So a catch 22 situation. Has anyone else experienced something like this? Will this eventually end?
'Will this eventually end'? Yes it will if you go about it in the right way. I am so sorry to hear about your parents,
but is it any wonder you feel as you do? Bereavement can be manifested in so many ways. Everyone will act differently. Grief is a process that takes time. You will never forget, of course not, but it does become bearable after time. Time is the key factor here. Sleep is usually one of the main problems in anxiety. Have you seen your GP? It's a good idea to do so as they can help with the sleep problem. Your sleep rhythm is upset by events and needs to be brought back to normal. You are so right about the 'catch 22' situation. It really does sum up anxiety.
In anxiety we add fear to fear. You are fearful of not sleeping so you add fear to fear and make it even more difficult to sleep. When those with anxiety go to bed the mind can go into overdrive. Thoughts come like a herd of elephants, and make it even more difficult to sleep. Calming the mind is not easy, but can you accept that given your circumstances all this is bound to occur? 'Has anyone experienced this'? Have we just!! I would suggest that almost everyone with an anxiety problem has suffered from some form of sleep deprivation. Give it time. But try and accept it all as normal in the circumstances. True acceptance can give you time to think about your condition.
The thing is not to add fear to fear. Difficult yes, but it can be done.
 

TheWorrier

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I wonder if it might be helpful to go to bed really late, like 2am so that I'm more tired? Fortunately, I don't need to get up at a particular time, as I don't currently work (I was a carer for my father until he passed away).

I haven't seen my GP yet, although if this continues, I might book an appointment.

I'm a bit worried about the harm the lack of sleep might be doing to me. I think the only thing preventing me from sleeping is thinking that I really need to sleep! Once I can manage to get to sleep 3 or 4 days in a row, I'll probably be OK as my anxiety will diminish, so I'll be able to sleep again.
 

Jonathan123

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Yes, of course you will. The passing of time does tend to ease the pain, if only a little at first. I doubt going to bed late would make a lot of difference, after all it's still you! Thoughts will still come, and let them. Thoughts are simply memories of past events recurring in a tired mind, and although sometimes frightening, they can do no harm. Trying to supress thoughts, not think them is not possible. So accept it's how you are at the moment but will not always be so.
 

TheWorrier

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Hi, yes the anxiety and thoughts will probably remain the same whether I go to bed at midnight or 2am. But, if I'm more tired by 2am then I'm much more likely to get some sleep.

Indeed, I think this is the mistake I made. I normally go to bed around midnight, but for some reason 5 days ago I wasn't feeling particularly tired at that time (although usually I am by midnight). And this resulted in a sleepless night. This hugely elevated my anxiety and will likely be responsible for the 2 subsequent sleepless nights.
 

cathylynn

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I have had alot of insomnia in my life and usually for me if I have a bad night it seems to start a cycle of not sleeping well. It takes a while for me to get back into a rhythm. Mine stated this week from a mole biopsy I was waiting for, could not quiet my mind. I bought some melatonin and will see if that helps. If it gets to be a problem i'm sure a Dr. could help with some medications especially with everything you are going through.
 

TheWorrier

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Just got up and I slept great last night. I spoke to a woman for an hour from the sleep charity last night, which helped. Although maybe I slept fine as I never slept at all the previous night and my body's catching up! But normally, I sleep for about 1-3 hours before briefly waking up, and this happens all night (at least for the past 2 years or so). But last night I slept for about 5.5 hours solid before waking up about 5.30am, then going back to sleep again.
 

Jonathan123

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Just got up and I slept great last night. I spoke to a woman for an hour from the sleep charity last night, which helped. Although maybe I slept fine as I never slept at all the previous night and my body's catching up! But normally, I sleep for about 1-3 hours before briefly waking up, and this happens all night (at least for the past 2 years or so). But last night I slept for about 5.5 hours solid before waking up about 5.30am, then going back to sleep again.
That's good. It means your sleep rhythm is being restored. But don't make the mistake of taking it for granted, because another sleepless night could set you back again. Just take it a day at a time to establish that sleep habit.
It will all come right if you accept it all for what it is. Anxiety!
 

Pandanae

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First of all, I've been under a lot of stress recently with my dad dying a few weeks ago (who I had been living with) and my mother having to go into a care home due to her dementia. And am depressed a bit with it all.

Now I'm suffering from sleep problems, and specifically getting to sleep in the first place, which I have only very rarely suffered from in the past. Had the occasional problem getting to sleep in the past 2 months which I've very rarely experienced before.

But now it's got a whole lot worse. For the past 5 nights, I've had completely sleepless nights for 3 of them. I have a sleepless night, followed by a full night of sleep, then another sleepless night etc. However, before going to bed I can drop off to sleep usually when sitting at my computer or watching the TV, but then when I go to bed I might not sleep at all. So my insomnia is driven purely by anxiety with the source of my anxiety now being predominantly the fact I can't get to sleep. So a catch 22 situation. Has anyone else experienced something like this? Will this eventually end?
Oh my goodness yes. I experience this. It's horrible, and I haven't totally found a solution. I can tell you it does get better? I deal with sleepless nights occasionally. It can feel like complete hell, so i totally know where you are coming from. Melatonin can really help. Sometimes just trying to get your thoughts in a better place can help too. I've been dealing with sleep anxiety for a few years now. I'm actually on this forum because of ut. Some months are worse than others (This colder months have been worse for me). Other times you won't be bothered at all. You'll eventually find ways of coping and even getting past it, even if you might have to deal with it occasionally.
 

tony_ynot

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Hi all, I am in the same space. I get anxious about going to sleep so on my poor nights I can either go to sleep but then wake up after an hour or 2 and then I just a struggle with an hour then wake and the same until it’s time to get up. Worst case is I cannot get to sleep and then struggle for most of the night until I am exhausted and may squeeze a couple of hours.

I tried melatonin but I struggle with meds (it’s a med in the UK) and I was anxious to take it (side effects and potential impacts) and even more fearful of sleeping meds due to addiction and harder sided effects. I really struggle to calm the mind and the more I think about it – the more it goes from mind to body and I am agitated. I tried sleep podcasts on guided meditations and calming music – sometimes they work – could just be the distraction to my mind.

One positive I have taken is how to deal with a bad night’s sleep – by getting on with it and not catastrophizing. Hope it sorts itself out soon.
 

cathylynn

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I know one sleepless night will put me into an insomnia cycle, it does something to the brain. But lately I have been waking up at 4 in the morning and start worrying. So am only getting a few hours of sleep a night. I'm so jealous of my husband, he sleeps as soon as his head hits the pillow, its so amazing to me.
 

MATD

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Stop looking at the clock if you wake up in the middle of the night. This is creating a reaction that can start the OMG’s and other negative thoughts about your inability to sleep, cause and effect.
 
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