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SquirrellyMama

Stressing in the middle of the night

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Anyone else wake up in the middle of the night, and stress so much you can't sleep? Ha! I'm sure many of you do this too. I'm tired, but I cannot get back to sleep. I almost always stress about my oldest at night. She isn't a bad kid or anything, just the oldest 🙂 I imagine next year after she's at college my stress will move to the next child. 

Oh well, I did get a couple of things done that I keep forgetting about during the day.

Kelly

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Last night I kept getting woken up by surges of adrenaline. That was inconvenient.

We are parents. I suppose we will worry about them forever.

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Kelly, I feel your pain.  My DH was mergered out of his job and as his joblessness reached month 8, 9, 10 and beyond I found myself waking up every single night at 1:30 or 2 am and not able to go back to sleep until about 5 am.  Add in these newly acquired hot flashes (sigh, I'm only 48) and a good night sleep was virtually unheard of for the overwhelming majority of nights.  There were times I took Benadryl just to be able to get a better night's sleep.

Hope things get easier for you soon.

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One of the dogs woke me up at 12:30 to go outside which is what started my sleepless night. Often I can go back to sleep, but the 2nd dog also woke up to go outside. It is so freaking cold that it really woke me up 🙂 The dogs have slept very well the rest of the night. 

I did get a few things figured out while not sleeping anymore overnight. So, I do feel less stressed about what the issues were. And, I don't work today so I can take a nap.

Kelly

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I slept very little last night, even with 3 Benadryl.  A close friend told me something disturbing about a family member and I couldn't stop thinking about it!  ARGH!  

And I have to work all day today.

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I do this. Our family is currently in the middle of  very rough patch. And the things that I can cope with in the day seem 10 times as huge in the middle of the night. Magnesium helps me somewhat. 

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This has been my life for the last 10  years at least.  I wake up all stressed - we won't have money for kids' college;  kids will get to college but something bad will happen to one of them; my husband will never get a job again (he was laid off in June); some bad mistake I made at work will be discovered and I will get fired (I went back to work in July)... the list goes on and on. 

BTW I will often wake up sweating like mad. If I'm wearing warm pajamas I fling them off. Then later I'll wake up freezing.  I am 18 years post menopause (it was early for me, around age 44).

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I dealt with that for about a year while we were taking care of MIL as she was dying. I ended up using Bluetooth headphones and listening to podcasts in bed. At first I thought it wouldn’t work because I love listening to podcasts, but I found that those familiar, soothing voices calmed me and helped drown our my internal voice of worry. 

I was so afraid I wouldn’t be able to drop the habit when it was no longer needed but I had no problem.  Now when I wake up I’m able to soothe myself back to sleep in just a few minutes. 

Sorry you’re stressed- and I’ll say that I thought parental worry would end when the kids grew up and  moved out. Boy, was I wrong. 

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Right there with you! ☹️ If my mind wakes up, I am awake for hours. 

I almost got up and started an insomnia thread at about 3, but my house was cold and I didn't want to get out of my warm bed.

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Sometimes I do it out of anxiety.  More often, recently, hot and cold flashes.  Really annoying as I love my sleep (and need it).

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Sorry you’re stressed- and I’ll say that I thought parental worry would end when the kids grew up and  moved out. Boy, was I wrong. 

I think my parental stress levels increased exponentially as they began driving. My ds26 just went to Germany for work and I was nervous about him having to drive while there...And my dd22 moved 11 hours away from home...My prayer life has been good : ). In fact, I found that praying for my dc and for others who I knew were going through rough times helped calm me down and let me get back to sleep.

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Maybe try taking some calcium with magnesium? You could also look into mindfulness or other stress management strategies. No, your stress won't go down when your dc is in college, lol. You're actually going to be worried MORE because you'll have big money on the line, sickness, safety, traveling, all sorts of stuff. 

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Here 🖐️  Wake and worry is almost a nightly thing.  Some nights I am lucky and wake, sorry a minute and go back to sleep.  Other nights not so lucky.  I lay there for hours worrying. Or worry, doze, worry, doze.

 

Edited by Baseball mom

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I don't think my worry will go down necessarily when they leave, but right now my stress is about them getting in, picking, paying, etc... That's why it will probably transfer to the next child 🙂

Kelly

 

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This is me pretty much every night about 2:00 am. No matter what I do, I can't shut it off. With 6 kids, I think this is going to be going on for awhile. I'm getting used to always feeling tired. Big kids, big problems. 

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I think it's normal to stress at night and have the worry grow out of proportion. There are fewer distractions at this time, the body and mind are fatigued, and there is time to dwell on all the negative possibilities. The mind is a very powerful tool to build up anxiety, but also control anxiety. 

Here are some things that have been helpful for me:

- relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or timed breathing (counting up to 4 while breathing in, holding breath, breathing out, holding breath); positive self-talk (tell yourself the positive things that you do to enhance optimal results); notice your heart beat and relax so that it gradually becomes slower

- imagery techniques: imagine you are hanging up your worries on a "worry tree" and redirect your thought to positive things; imagine you are in a quiet and relaxing space where every breath you take draws in positive energy

- distract the mind with a book (could be something uplifting or highly technical or just plain boring)

- if you are a religious person, prayer and reading passages from the bible are often very helpful in reducing anxiety.

- sometimes I just need to move to a different location than lying in bed. For me, taking a warm bath can relax both my body and my mind.

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Maybe create a calm atmosphere during the day so you can be more "zen" by bed time? I really love this app called Relax Melodies. You can mix different sounds or use them individually. You can save your mixes. It's the most awesome app. Using this app doesn't drain the phone battery like using something similar off YouTube will. It's nice to have birds and bubbling water while you are washing dishes or making supper. Maybe doing this consistently will help the brain learn to be more relaxed?

You could use the relax melodies at night, too, because there are many different relaxing sleep sounds on there. Personally, I use a white noise machine at night. I used to wake up during the night and my brain would just go into panic mode...but the white noise distracts me from that. If I focus on the sound (which sounds like a fan blowing to me), I can keep myself from feeling that panic. It has worked for me because on the nights when I don't use the white noise, I still do not "panic" if I wake up. I think it has helped my brain to break that faulty circuit or habit that was sending me into panic mode. The white noise apps or anything on YouTube aren't really good because you can always hear the recorded sound looping over and over. It's really distracting. I got an actual white noise machine off Amazon, which is much, much better. ( I have a vascular disorder and can hear a whooshing sound in my left ear...I didn't think about it when I bought the machine, but it does a great job of masking that sound at night! An added benefit!)

I second the magnesium, too. Get plenty.

I've never tried this, but weighted blankets are supposed to calm anxiety for people. They're even supposed to be good for people with sensory processing disorders. They are expensive, though. Just thought I'd mention this.

Chamomile tea works, too. Really. It does.

If all else fails, I resort to the once-in-awhile Benadryl at bedtime.

I could have written your post. We have a home business that pulled through the recession. Months after the recession started, I began to have the same problem as you. That's when it started and it never stopped even after things got better. The brain can just get "stuck" and you need to find a way to make it stop.

I know we'll never stop worrying about things...our children, jobs, etc. But some of these things have worked for me, so I thought I'd share them.

ETA: If you use the app, turn on "lapping water, "eternity", and "toskana" together. It's one of my favorites.

Edited by Indigo Blue
Adding another thought

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I know what you are talking about.  For me, it helps to get up and do something,  light housework etc. I often wake with a sense of dread in the early morning; the anxiety usually dissipates when I get up and make coffee. It is much worse shortly before my period; it helps me to remind myself that it's hormones talking.

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3 hours ago, SquirrellyMama said:

I don't think my worry will go down necessarily when they leave, but right now my stress is about them getting in, picking, paying, etc... That's why it will probably transfer to the next child 🙂

Kelly

 

You will be worried about the one away as well as the next one getting in, picking and paying! 

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3 hours ago, SquirrellyMama said:

I don't think my worry will go down necessarily when they leave, but right now my stress is about them getting in, picking, paying, etc... That's why it will probably transfer to the next child 🙂

Kelly

 

Right there with ya, sister. Especially the paying part. <sigh>

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10 hours ago, SquirrellyMama said:

Anyone else wake up in the middle of the night, and stress so much you can't sleep? Ha! I'm sure many of you do this too. I'm tired, but I cannot get back to sleep. I almost always stress about my oldest at night. She isn't a bad kid or anything, just the oldest 🙂 I imagine next year after she's at college my stress will move to the next child. 

Oh well, I did get a couple of things done that I keep forgetting about during the day.

Kelly

Yes, and I finally decided to run with it and lie there and pray.  Longest prayer sessions ever, sometimes, and after all, God does tell us to pray without ceasing, and often after a long time in prayer other things would come to mind that really needed prayer and attention that I had not thought of, which was good, and eventually I would be able to go back to sleep usually.

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Yes occasionally though I don’t have teens yet.  For me I do so much better if I read a book or play a mindless game than attempt to sleep.  

I also notice sometimes I suspect it’s food related which sounds nuts but certain foods seem to make it more likely to happen.

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