Last night I woke up with a start, worrying about my grandson. Worrying if my alarm would go off in time, if he would get to camp on time. Worrying about whether or not he would have a better day than yesterday. Worrying that my bills would all be paid. Gut-wrenching worry that a possible confrontation at work might possibly happen and what the ramifications would be if this were to happen.
Why do we worry so much in the middle of the night about things over which we have absolutely no control at 2am? It isn’t that this is a huge problem for me. It’s only happened every few nights for a million years. Well, maybe not quite that long. So I did a little research. It is a type of insomnia. Health.com calls it Middle-of-the-Night Anxiety. It’s an actual health problem. Who knew? But I know that others experience it too.
Me: I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep because I worry so much. Then in the morning it doesn’t seem bad at all.
Friend: That happens to me, too! I hate that.
Not counting normal reasons to not sleep well like surgery and illness, this article quotes Dr. Ralph Downey III as saying “‘The biggest health risks for insomniacs, if they’re not treated within six months, are mental illness and alcohol abuse,’ says Ralph Downey III, PhD, director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Loma Linda University in California.” Yikes! Well, that sure tells me a lot! I’ll have to bring this up at my next AA meeting!
Okay, that article was semi-reassuring and semi-not reassuring. So then I checked out Men’s Health because they have a good reputation. I found an article giving advice to men waking up in the night worrying about work. I’m sure that men also worry about other things, but this addressed work.
One piece of advice was to think, during the day, about possible scenarios that would worry you in the night and write down, or ponder, how realistic it is to worry about whatever is bothering you. You have to read the whole article, because I glommed onto this one point. Whaaaaaaa? Now I’m going to worry during the day about what I’m going to worry about during the night?
Thoughts that go bump in the night.