Sleep Obsession: Hey there, new here... - Anxiety and Depre...

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Sleep Obsession

madmallow profile image

Hey there, new here and excited to be talking to people with similar problems to me. For the past year I have been struggling with crippling insomnia as a result of my anxiety problems. I think about sleep all day, waiting for the inevitable sleepless night that my anxiety creates. I am wondering if anyone else has had this obsession with sleep. I have seen a therapist for the past 3 months, meditate daily and journal daily. I smoke weed and drink alcohol to help cope and to numb the anxiety enough to sleep. It has created a very trying time for me and I struggle every day to get through.

17 Replies

hi and welcome to you.the weed and alcohol is a time bomb waiting to go off in your head.alcohol is a depressant along with the weed will be adding to your mental health.ive had insomnia for years but managing a bit soon as I have a drink every few weeks then I cant sleep for days till its out my system even on medication.first thing first speak to a doctor/counsellor about the drink and drugs.they will help but you need to want the help as well.

Does the weed make it easier to sleep? Have you thought of doing a sleep study. My insomnia is due to past failures, worry about the future, inability to tune out thoughts.

madmallow profile image
madmallow in reply to

The weed does help. I’ve talked to my therapist about it and am trying to decrease my use. My insomnia is due to a fear of failure (to sleep), my need to control, and also the worry and inability to tune out thoughts. It seems similar to yours, what has helped you?

in reply to madmallow

Unfortunately I had to get on sleep pills to sleep. If not then I would not be able to function at work. Without pills I lie in bed for hours. Currently trying to ween off of them because of the addiction. Seems like it's mostly weeknights where I know I have to be somewhere next morning.

in reply to

HI Moodchange - I was diagnosed finally with a sleep disorder about nine years ago.

I have to take sleeping pills or I am up all night. I couldn't get on without them.

Despite publicity about natural sleep habits, with aids to raise melatonin created in the body to induce sleep, I know these have saved my sanity. Agree about the damage that alcohol can do to your body. It can slow you down, and cause breast cancer and damage your eyesight along with smoking cigarettes. Addiction must be hard to cope with, but luckily I get ill with alcohol and have never smoked.

ChicagoGirl1961 profile image
ChicagoGirl1961 in reply to

Nothing wrong with using sleep med if you need them even if they are habit forming. Natural sleep is more desireable, but for some not attainable without a sleep med. If I have to deal with crippling insomnia or take a sleep med and wake up well rested, I'll take the sleep med. Good luck to you.

in reply to ChicagoGirl1961

Thanks Chicagogirl - I found the insomnia started with a hyperactive thyroid

and anxiety, but later I found a stressful period, made sleeping so difficult that I had sleep deprivation and had taken a double dose of a diabetic pill which looked identical to an antihistamine pill. Now better after a confusional state and do not feel guilty taking sleeping pills - I'm getting on and want to enjoy what time I have left!

Alcohol will effect ur sleep pattern, I always found, I could always go to sleep, but wake in the night, I haven’t drank now for 3 yrs, I sleep a lot better now, even though I do wake a 5 every morning. I listen to meditation audio before I sleep. I found what I was doing was clenching my jaw, due too stress. So I make time to relax for a while before I sleep, try some camomile tea. I’d say the weed is ok as it can help to relax. It’s a better option than the alcohol. Take care Ab

Thank you for your help everyone, it’s much appreciated!!!

You might find this silly, but I have a very busy mind and have had sleep issues since I was a child. The only thing I ever found helpful was some advice from a thread on another forum; close your eyes and focus on what you see... usually starts out as an abstract color and turns into geometrical shapes, etc. I thought it sounded silly too, but it worked for me! Doesn't help with the constant waking, but it helps me get back to sleep faster.

I’ve had to take Ambien to sleep. Lexparo also helps lower my anxiety and make me sleepy.

Hi Madmallow,

You've seen a doc to rule out underlying causes for the anxiety? I'd do that first- on occasion there is something like a thyroid problem (correctable:))

30 years ago, I was you, minus the weed. I tried everything at the time- I was on flurazepam (similar to a benzo) for a while, Valium for a while, I took Tryptophan, and I practiced precise, obsessive sleep hygiene (link at bottom). I jogged miles and miles to try to tire myself out. I had 2-3 glasses of wine most nights, telling myself I was drinking socially. That was BS. I was self-medicating of course. Prozac (the first SSRI) was in its infancy and no one was prescribing it for anxiety yet. 30 years ago there were fewer sleep aids. For example, Remeron and Ambien have come out since. I don't think melatonin existed yet as a supplement. But my recommendation is for none of these things. I'm going to describe to you the true cure for insomnia (copied, edited and pasted from one of my replies to someone else):

First, cast away any notions you have about sleeplessness. They are all false. Seriously, anything you've read or heard from people about how "not getting enough sleep is harmful", and "lack of sleep can lead to worsening mental health issues", "It raises cortisol levels which can lead to problems" etc etc... it's all complete bunk. I went through 5 years of the most intense insomnia you've ever seen. I never went crazy, It didn't make me sick, and I'm very much alive and well.

Start looking at it this way:

- Sleeplessness is common, harmless, nothing whatsoever to be concerned about.

- In times of great stress, people go for days without sleeping (ie wartime, catastrophes) and the body is meant to handle that as part of life

- I works in health care and we often go for days without sleeping- on call, back to back shifts, no one shows up so you do a double, etc...

-New moms (and dads!) hardly sleep at all. They are up all night with crying babies, feeding every 2-3 hours, etc

-The human body is AMAZING and when we miss sleep, the body knows how to make up for lost time when we finally do sleep. Just ask any Dr. you know- when they catch those few hours of sleep between being on call for days on end, they sleep HARD.

Yes, anxiety induced insomnia responds beautifully to turning it into a big nothing in your mind. Then you WILL start sleeping better. Lose your fear of sleeplessness, and sleep will come. I remember one night, sitting in the dark, staring out the window at the rain, at the end of my rope, totally despondent, wondering if I should go to the ER (again)- literally rocking back and forth saying, "why can't I sleep, why can't I sleep..." and something started to click in my mind. I decided I didn't care. I decided I would be a raging insomniac my entire life. I decided to go sleepless and totally crazy, which I was convinced would be the outcome. I decided to stop fighting and to start embracing my new sleepless, nocturnal lifestyle. I imagined I was some genius creative type (ha ha- NOT), up all night, frantically working on my literary masterpiece (I started to write back then- fictional things). I utterly gave up the fight. Now this wasn't an overnight thing, but I miraculously started to sleep. I was highly sensitized from so much anxiety at the time (I didn't know that word back then) so it took time. I also needed practice not caring, so it took time. But it was such a relief to stop the fighting. This is how to recover from anxiety itself and so many manifestations of anxiety, not just insomnia. I knew none of this back then- I just knew that all the frantic searching for the magic pill wasn't working at ALL. So I gave up. And started sleeping. And slowly started feeling better in so many other ways.

I did not know all about anxiety that I know now. I was not recovered completely. There were elements of intense, uncomfortable and unnecessary anxiety throughout the years. I didn't understand my mind yet. But I now know the key to anxiety recovery, all of it, is ACCEPTANCE. Anxiety is such a paradox.

I rarely have insomnia these days. When I have something bothering me I might have a bout of insomnia, but it's mild and it's a big whatever. I get up and do things. I catch up on stuff. When my daughter has occasional insomnia, we get up together and use that time to do fun things- cook, paint, plan a trip, write cards, etc. I downplay it. I make sure she knows it's a huge "whatever".

Definitely practice sleep hygiene (see link below) but don't expect it to work miracles. It all helps, but "NOTHING" works. That's a GOOD thing. Turning it into a great big nothing actually WORKS. Here's a sleep hygiene link:

wishing you all the best :)

madmallow profile image
madmallow in reply to Calm_mama

I just saw this response! Thank you so much for your words, you have no idea how hard I relate to your struggles. I think the idea of acceptance is the most difficult part for me, but the only way to truly get over my fear of sleeplessness.

You should find out the cause that leads to your anxiety and try to overcome this. This really helps to reduce your stress level and hence reduces anxiety. Smoking and alcohol can also increase anxiety and inhibit sleep, so try to limit these. If this wouldn't help then go to your doctor ask for sleeping pills.

YES agree! sometimes there is an issue eating away at a person, underlying it all. What I've found is that for many people, the issue that started it is actually resolved and they've simply developed a pure fear of the anxiety manifestation (in this case, sleeplessness) which is now the sole problem. But it is definitely worth getting to the underlying source of anxiety if in fact there is one. Totally agree.

I have the same problem. It’s been going on since June. It affects my anxiety and I can’t function. I always hope the next night I will sleep. The last 2 nights I woke at 2:30 and listened to a meditation tape and did finally drift back to sleep for a short time. I feel sick and draggy during the day. I know how hard this is. I don’t know if my friends understand because when they want to make plans, I have to tell them that it all depends if I sleep. My whole life has been turned upside down and it makes me depressed.

mad mallow, I am so sorry that yo are facing this. I am so thankful that you have reached out here to people that care. I enjoy essential oils and although they do not make you go to sleep, they help calm my nerves and mind. I am praying for a healthy sleep schedule and peace of mind for you.

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