Do you avoid sleep? Why? - Social Anxiety Forum
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post #1 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-17-2009, 02:40 AM Thread Starter
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post #2 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-17-2009, 03:10 AM
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Yeah. I'm tired right now and I should be going to sleep, it's already 5 AM but I just keep sitting here at the computer doing whatever. Sometimes I end up sleeping all day and I'm up all night for a while. I can't ever fix this habit of staying awake late either. I've been doing it for 6 years already.
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post #3 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-17-2009, 03:14 AM
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Oh god, I'm like this. Even if I'm not even dreading anything the following day, I'll still put off sleep. And like you I can be really, really tired but I'll still put it off. I find it hard to go to bed before 12. 12 would be early for me.
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post #4 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-17-2009, 03:21 AM
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I have the exact same problem! Your description describes me perfectly as well.

I resist going to bed even when I'm exhausted, always putting it off as long as possible (usually until around 3am), and then sleeping in until 11am every day (fortunately, I work from home and have a flexible schedule). It's like I have an emotional resistance to getting in bed even when my brain and my body is telling me to, and it's been like this my whole life (I'm in my mid-30s).

I've chalked it up to the fact that until last year, when I started taking Clonazapen at night, I have always woken up between 10 and 20 times a night, leaving me exhausted the morning. Every single day since I was a kid. Consequently, I developed such a negative association with sleeping that even though I now sleep through the night thanks to the sleeping medication, I can't seem to unlearn this Pavlovian response to avoiding sleep.

It's frustrating. Even now, I'm typing this at 3am when I should be in bed.

As for your question about what has helped: the Clonazapen, obviously, but also getting into bed to read a good book or watch TV (because once I'm in bed, I'm halfway there, and more likely to actually go to sleep once the sleeping pills kick in). In that way I can sort of trick myself into going to sleep, since I can tell myself I'm not getting into bed to sleep, just to read or watch TV.

I've found it also helps if I go to bed when my partner does - it's another way to trick my brain into getting into bed, because then we have a few minutes to talk before she falls asleep. But this won't help those who don't live with someone.

Forcing myself to get up early in the morning works for a few days, but I inevitably lapse back into old habits, no matter how exhausted I am.

Sorry that I don't have many solutions to offer, but thanks for starting this thread! It's nice to know there are other people out there with this problem.
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post #5 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-17-2009, 04:20 AM
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I put it off because I struggle to get to sleep even when tired. I end up lying there for hours thinking about things, like embarrassing moments that happened years ago. I really am depressing.
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post #6 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-17-2009, 06:51 AM
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I stay up late a lot, definately. But I also sleep a lot. Sleep is kind of my "safe haven", I'm not really bothered by nightmares and stuff like that. So when I'm feeling worse I tend to sleep very much, at any chance I get.

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post #7 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-17-2009, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by polythene View Post
Not related strictly to SA, but I was curious if anyone else did something similar - I'm sure some of you do.

I have the tendency to sleep very, very late, regardless of what I have planned the next day (usually classes) and how tired I am. I 'force' myself to stay up until near-dawn a lot of the time, even when I'm positively exhausted, and feel I've gone to bed early when I turn in before 3 AM.

I'll bet the lack of proper, restful sleep contributes significantly to my depression and anxiety, but I just can't seem to drag myself to bed. Once I settle myself it's fine, but that process usually takes up to five hours.

Who else does this? How does it affect you? Have you been able to alter your behaviors? I have tried, but it never lasts more than a couple weeks.
I have this exact same problem. I get very tired in the evenings but something stops me from actually going to bed. It's like a self destructive thing. I stay up reading or watching TV or films or browsing the web or doing whatever, and I keep putting off sleep until I'm so tired I can barely keep my eyes open.

I always assumed it was either because it's my way of avoiding lying in bed for ages trying to get to sleep and being bored and over thinking things, and/or because deep down I am not satisfied, I know I haven't had a good productive day, so going to bed is bringing that day to an end and I dislike the thought of ending the day without really doing anything or achieving anything... So instead I keep myself awake until I can barely sit up straight and then I just flop in to bed and sleep.

It's really bad because the next day I am always so tired unless I have been able to sleep most of the day. But I also find that being tired makes my SA far worse. So none of these things go together well.

Currently taking 20mg of Paroxetine (Seroxat). It's not very useful. Better than nothing.. but only just.
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post #8 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-17-2009, 12:46 PM
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I've always had a mild fear of going to bed--fear of insomnia, I guess--so I tend to put it off later than I should. Even when I'm actually tired, I avoid going to bed.
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post #9 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-17-2009, 01:11 PM
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A lot of times I just know I wouldn't be able to fall asleep if I tried, even when I haven't slept in days, and lying in bed waiting for the chance of sleep is incredibly boring, so I don't want to bother with it.
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post #10 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-18-2009, 03:27 AM
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Originally Posted by polythene View Post
cornwell - are you functional at work? Or does sleeping badly affect your performance/attendance? A lot of the time, going to bed so late results in plenty of missed classes for me. It sucks and it's really dumb of me, but it's an incredibly tough habit to break.
I'm very functional at work, but only because I have a lot of flexibility in my work hours: I work for a website that allows me to work whatever hours I want, as long as I get the job done (which usually means I start at noon and work until 9pm). I know I'm lucky to have such an accommodating schedule, now - when I was younger I had more of a typical 9-to-5 office situation, and that was harder.

College and grad school was tough. I made those situations work only by not signing up for any classes that started before noon. Not exactly the best way to choose classes.

I've had a hard time falling asleep for years for the same reason as many of you: when I'm trying to fall asleep, all I think about all the mistakes I made that day, what things I said wrong, etc. It's been an exhausting 30+ years.
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post #11 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-18-2009, 03:37 AM
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Most people average 6.5 - 8.5 hrs of sleep a day. That's what is the requirement

Why is that I am averaging 12+ per day? I thought it was due to the meds but I have finished my recent packet and haven't taken any for 3 days and I'm still sleeping heaps...
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post #12 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-18-2009, 03:38 AM
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I think it has to do with the computer. I really should keep off it.
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post #13 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-18-2009, 04:20 AM
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Originally Posted by polythene View Post
How late do you guys usually stay up? At my worst, I'm awake up past noon, though I tend to head to bed around 5 or 6 AM. We should have an insomniac olympics - we'd all be hysterical and insane by the end of it, but we'd also have learned the true nature of our limits.
I always have trouble getting to sleep so I tend to stay up very late just so I'll feel more tired when I eventually go to bed. Quite often (3 times in the last week for example) I end up staying up all night without sleeping, and eventually get to sleep early in the morning of the day after that. It actually works quite well for me because after being awake for 40+ hours it's much easier to get to sleep quickly, usually it takes me over an hour.
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post #14 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-18-2009, 05:35 AM
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Quite often even if I'm tired enough to sleep I'll decide to listen to some music or watch an episode of something, even if I don't particularly feel like doing it :/
And by the time I've listened to a few albums and watched a few shows I'm not sleepy anymore.
I don't know why I do it.

I am going to completely work on making myself happy.

“Fear can make you do more wrong than hate or jealousy. If you're afraid you don’t commit yourself to life completely; fear makes you always, always hold something back.”
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post #15 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-18-2009, 05:52 AM
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-Feeling like there's nothing good to look forward to the next day
-Feeling like I will not have this chance to be left alone again for a long time (night time is usually the only time people stay the **** off and let me do whatever I want)
-Looking for answers on the net (visiting forums, etc.)
-Wanting to make connections with people online
-Attention deficit (lose track of time because I keep getting tempted with late-night activities)
-Waiting for something to happen that never happens
-Sometimes my anxiety DOES reduce (if I deprive myself only sporadically and not to a significant extent) because my brain doesn't work as well so I'm less inhibited and care less about other people...however, long-term it has the opposite effect

life is one big social game
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post #16 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-18-2009, 05:55 AM
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I'm the exact same way.
I think I avoid sleep as long as possible because when I do try to sleep, I want it to be instant. If not, I'll lay there for an hour or two, think about my life, how sad it is, and then I end up fantasizing about ending it.
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post #17 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-18-2009, 06:39 AM
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I have nothing to do and there's no doubt that's why. I'm so used to just sleeping until I literally can not fall back asleep anymore after waking up, cause I try to everytime. I try to remember what I was dreaming about, and then I try to get back there. If I can't, I wake up.
And don't worry, I've been watching the same SportsCentre over and over for the last 3 hours.
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post #18 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-18-2009, 09:52 AM
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I do this as well. I avoid sleep sometimes like the plague. It's almost impossible for me to fall asleep before midnight, regardless of what is planned the next day. Even if I have class at 830 in the morning I still do it.

I think I avoid it because im terrified of not being able to fall asleep quickly. I hate hate hate just lying there trying to fall asleep but not succeeding. Thats the time when I start thinking about everything (life, myself etc) and it really makes me anxious/depressed. So I stay up until Im absolutely sure im tired enough to fall asleep quickly. Also I almost always dont want tomorrow to come, so I postpone it.
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post #19 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-18-2009, 11:29 AM
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Yeah, I avoid bed all the time. I always hate myself for doing that, but I guess my computer is just so darn addictive I have no choice
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post #20 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-18-2009, 02:37 PM
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I avoid sleep, but that is because if there is something interesting on tv, I end up watching it instead of just going to bed.
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