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Warning: Anxiety Can Cause Insomnia

Posted Oct 02 2008 6:17pm

Lately at my house we have been going to bed earlier because getting up earlier in the cold, dark mornings of fall seems so impossible. Tonight we turned the lights off at 10:00 which is pretty early, especially for a Friday night! However my mind was tired and I LOVE sleeping so I don't mind.

The last little while I have been having problems falling asleep. This has never been the case before. I used to be able to fall asleep anywhere at any time of day. Lately, when I lay down to fall asleep, I feel like I have restless leg syndrome, only its in my legs and my neck and my arms, etc. I can't get comfortable and after 30 seconds in one position I desperately have to rotate because my body is just itching to move. Previously this behavior would continue for a couple hours until sleep finally came over me, but its a horrible battle. Tonight, I got so tired of it I just got out of bed and decided to do something more productive until I got really tired.

I was doing research on insomnia and found this on eMedicinehealth.com,
"Insomnia may result from either psychological or physical causes. The most common psychological problems include anxiety, stress, and depression. In fact, insomnia may be an indicator of depression. Many people will have insomnia during the acute phases of a mental illness."
I also came across this at sleepdisordersguide.com:

"The undisputed number one cause of insomnia is excessive stress, anxiety, and depression. Almost everyone has experienced transient insomnia the night before a job interview, big presentation, wedding, or other significant personal event.

Transient insomnia usually passes after the stress-inducing event has been overcome. Chronic insomnia is more serious because it can affect an individual for an extended period of time.

Persistent stress at work or home can lead to chronic insomnia. Anxiety and depressive disorders are another major source for chronic insomnia."

Its so ironic that I love sleeping so much, but I have so much difficulty with it. I struggle to fall asleep and have awful nightmares all night long and wake up feeling like I didn't sleep a wink. Maybe thats why I think I love to sleep, cause when I truly get a good night's sleep, its so rare and wonderful that I want to have more.

Here is another interesting piece of information I found at healthscout.com,
"Insomnia is the perception or complaint of inadequate or poor-quality sleep because of difficulty falling asleep, difficulty maintaining sleep, or waking too early in the morning. These result in the feeling that sleep is not restorative and often are associated with impaired function during the day."
I always thought insomnia was just people that stayed up all night long and never slept. I didn't realize that I suffer so much from it. So right now I am frustrated. Since I am all about self diagnosing myself on the internet (which I don't recommend doing if you suffer from Hypochondria) I wonder if maybe I do have RLS. Here is what I found on the same site mentioned above,
"Restless leg syndrome (RLS) – RLS is an unpleasant tickling, burning, pricking or aching sensations in the legs that are generally only relieved with movement and tend to occur while relaxing in the evening hours. A similar and often overlapping disorder is periodic limb movement of sleep, which are the recurrent movements of the legs during sleep that may cause arousals from sleep."
Is it possible to have those same sensations in areas in addition to your legs? Anyone else have RLS?

Now I don't like labeling myself with these "conditions" for a few reasons. It makes me feel like there is something wrong with me if I have chronic anxiety, chronic insomnia, and what the heck lets throw in RLS while we're at it. Its like I am ordering off of a menu. I also don't like listing everything that I think I may have because it feels like it comes across as a cry for attention when its not. I just like sharing what I am going through in case it can help someone else.

So its now after midnight (I know thats still early for lots of people but its late for me) and I don't know if I should try to go back to bed, if I should just try to fall asleep on the couch, maybe get something to drink I dunno. I don't think anything I do is really going to be a great solution at this point.

But please don't worry about me, its nothing to lose sleep over...

Has anyone else had this or a similar problem? If so any tips? Maybe I can try using them next time.

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