Thoughts that go bump in the night.

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. 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.

woman-clock-insomnia-150 As this picture from the above article depicts, it isn’t just worrying about worrying, it’s also worrying about getting back to sleep. Another thing to worry about.  That’s me 100%.

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.


About Barb Knowles

The things that are important to me are family, friends, teaching, writing, languages and using my sense of humor to navigate this crazy world. Please join me on this blogging adventure...
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34 Responses to Thoughts that go bump in the night.

  1. Carrie Rubin says:

    I can relate to this. I never struggle to fall asleep at night, but I often wake up after several hours, suddenly wide awake, with nothing to ponder but my worries. Which, of course, don’t seem like worries come morning. But middle-of-the-night hours have a way of making everything worse, I think.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Glazed says:

    I feel skeptical about it being a health issue. I’ve known very few people over the age of 20 who don’t complain about chronic insomnia. I suspect insomnia is usually just a sign that we don’t need as much sleep as we think we do.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Barb Knowles says:

      Well, I certainly don’t need the sleep I needed when I was a teenager or a new mom. But there is a big difference between 6 solid hours of good sleep and a night where you toss and turn in the middle of the night worrying about everything.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. babysteps22 says:

    Totally relatable! I often wake up in the middle of the night and start counting how many more hours of sleep I actually require. It often goes like this : “You can have 4 more hours of sleep, so sleep” “3 more, SLEEP” “HALF an hour, WHY DON’T YOU SLEEP WOMAN?” “5 more minutes, forget it, go wak-zzzzzzzzzzzz”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Barb Knowles says:

      That happened to me last night (hence the post), but then I fell into a deep sleep about 30 minutes before the alarm went off. I REALLY hate that.

      Liked by 2 people

      • babysteps22 says:

        And when my professors find me snoozing in class, they give very useful tips like ‘Go to bed early, child! Don’t stay online too long’ -___- I’m glad atleast someone understands the pain of having a brain that’s hyperactive in the night.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree with you and Carrie on this one. At 2am the problems always seem so much more significant and larger than they do come morning. I never really examined this before and I find it very interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. George says:

    It’s true that most things are better in the morning than at 2AM. After twenty minutes or so I do something that distracts me’…watch TV, go into another room and read or write, anything that takes me mind away from what’s bothering me and eventually gets me drowsy.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Barb…. I have this problem when I have sugar late at night.. hot chocolate and whisky have the same effect.. awake for two hours as you say without the means to do anything about it.. Anyway I have nominated you or for some flowers at the end of the post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Barb Knowles says:

      Thank you so much for thinking of me for this nomination! I have promised myself that I’m not going to accept or participate in awards because I’m not good at it lol. But I FULLY APPRECIATE the nomination and think that your blog is awesome. Thank you again.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Barb Knowles says:

      I don’t drink anymore, but I thought that whiskey would have the opposite effect. My best night’s sleep come from having a cup of tea before bed. I know there is caffeine, but it counts as a comfort food for me. I just don’t think about it as often as I should, or it’s 90 degrees here. And I’m not going to get up in the middle of the night to make a cup.


  7. any1mark66 says:

    Worrying is not a thing that lends itself to control. If you could control things during the day, what is left to worry about? Oh yeah the next day. I live with a person that worrys.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Joseph Nebus says:

    I’ve been amazed to learn how much of everything bad sleep makes worse. Sleep deprivation or other interruptions look like they might be even worse than the lead poisoning the world inflicted on itself the 20th century.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ellen Hawley says:

    If it’s any use to you, I’m convinced that we never worry about the right things anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

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