30 Reasons People With Anxiety Can't Fall Asleep At Night

When you're anxious, even bed is a battlefield.

30 Reasons People With Anxiety Disorders Can't Sleep At Night Getty Images 

According to my mom, I've been cursed with anxiety since I was an infant. I cried and fussed and fretted in a way that surpassed colic.

"You were the only stressed out newborn I have ever seen," my mom pleasantly likes to add.



That didn't change as I grew up...

At least, not until I was somewhere around 12-years-old, discovered the self-soothing wonders of Chapstick, and turned the skin around my lips into an unusually bright red, raw, and terrifying version of real-life clown paint — only I wasn't smiling. I was panicking, and everyone could tell.

I wasn't diagnosed as, like, medically anxious AF until I was a teenager. And even then, having a diagnosis assigned to my racing thoughts and constant nerves didn't soothe me as much as make me feel like a certified, creepy weirdo.

RELATED: 4 Ways To Deal When Your Partner Has SERIOUS Social Anxiety


Thankfully, at that point, I no longer had clown lips, so at least it was easier for me to blend in with the "normals"... at least, to a certain extent. 

But it wasn't until I was a full-fledged adult and I started talking about my worries in earnest that I realized just how NOT weird a thing it is to have an anxiety disorder of any kind. In fact, the more I shared my experiences, the more I heard people say to me in response, "ME TOO, GIRL! ME TOO!" 

When you have anxiety, falling asleep is one of the toughest activities out there.

You know you need to sleep. You know it will do your body and the mind inside of that body a world of good. But you just can't shut it down.


Your mind is trapped in a spin cycle of hellish regrets, embarrassing memories, and existential dread.

It's like you showed up to a rave and had a really bad reaction to the drugs, so while everyone else is rocking out hardcore 1990s style, you remain stuck in one place, sitting like a statue and questioning every single life choice you've ever made. Like, ever.

There aren't enough days in a year to list all of the things that have ever kept my anxious mind awake at night, but I can absolutely share just a few. If you're at all like me (or if you're close to someone who is), I'm sure at least one or two of the items on these items will inspire you to give me a mental high-five from one anxious person to another.


Without further ado, please enjoy these 30 things that trigger my anxiety so hard that I cannot fall asleep at night: 

1. Remembering that time I said "Hell" when didn't realize my 6th-grade science teacher was standing right behind me. 

2. How I once said, "You, too!" to a movie theater employee after they ripped my ticket and told me to enjoy the show. 

3. That time I was alone in an elevator that smelled like farts and then someone else got on and I blushed because I knew they thought it was I who dealt it. 

4. When the dean of my grad school went in for a hug at graduation... just as I was putting out my hand. 

5. The inevitability of death. 


6. How my mom once found a vibrator in my dresser and called me to ask if I had "any questions."

7. When my roommate walked in on me masturbating to "adult cinema."

8. That time I was temping and I forgot what my boss looked like and I asked him if he'd seen himself when his car arrived to pick him up. (Oh, God.) 


9. I went to the doctor convinced I was having a heart attack and it turned out it was just a panic attack so she patted my arm in the MOST condescending way of all time.

10. When I gave my dad the finger behind his back... and my mom totally saw it. 

RELATED: What It Feels Like To Have Anxiety And Depression At The Same Time

11. When I got caught doing a thick Italian accent for my landlord — by an actual Italian. 

12. How I said "Hi" just a beat too late to my boss when we passed in the hallway this morning.

13. That time I used a public bathroom and issued a massive fart that surprised everyone, including myself, and how I waited in the stall for a full twenty minutes before emerging, so deep was my shame. 


14. Worrying about how I'm going to afford the bite guard that I'm supposed to buy to stop me from grinding my teeth.

15. The obvious fact that grinding your teeth will lead to premature death. 

16. My deep need to listen to my boyfriend's heart when he's sleep, just to make sure he isn't dead. 

17. That bad dream I keep having that I can't finish a project at work. 


18. Donald Trump. 

19. South Korea.

RELATED: 12 Life Skills Only People With Anxiety Can Teach You

20. The fact that my parents are one day going to die and OH MY GOD I CAN'T EVEN TYPE ANYTHING ELSE ABOUT THAT!

21. My plans for a rigorous new exercise regime that I will (never) begin the next day in order to control my anxiety.

22. Worrying that my last tweet was offensive. 


23. That time I was introduced to a colleague's group of friends and said, "What a great little group," before realizing one of those friends was an actual little person.

24. Trying to decide whether or not I should move. 

25. My need to probe my body for cancerous lumps on a regular basis. 


26. Writing my Oscar acceptance speech wherein I perfectly verbally eviscerate all of my enemies.

27. The lingering concern over whether or not I remembered to bolt the door. 

28. The near-constant fear that my cat is no longer in the house or is somehow in the midst of eating a hastily discarded packet of silica. 


29. My incessant attempts to interpreting what eight million different things my boss could have meant when she replied to my email with, "OK." 

30. The dreaded (and entirely realistic) possibility that I will never, ever actually fall asleep again. 

Rebecca Jane Stokes is a sex, humor and lifestyle writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cat, Batman. She hosts the sex, love, and dating advice show, Becca After Dark on YourTango's Facebook Page every Tuesday and Thursday at 10:20 pm Eastern. For more of her work, check out her Tumblr.