I mean, it’s never been a secret that I’m a gal who loves her sleep. I’ve always been that way. I used to love post sunday dinner naps (probably because I was avoiding any homework I needed to do) and when Dave and I first moved in together, he often had to wake me up on a Sunday to go to his mum & dad’s for lunch. Which was always at 1pm.
And then of course there’s a favourite of mine; disco naps. You know, if you’re going out that night, probably going to be staying up a bit later than usual and want to feel refreshed? Love disco naps. As I get older though, there’s been way less discos but loads more napping, and it dawned on me recently that I’m very much an anxiety napper. That is, put in it’s simplest form, I try and sleep my worries away.
It’s a strange one because people with high functioning anxiety or even depression are usually poor sleepers; because they have some much on their mind, they’re unable to rest, which makes you more tired, which makes the anxiety worse, and the cycle continues like that until you break.
I had a medical procedure over the summer last year which, although not major, wasn’t particularly pleasant. When I got home, I took my pillow into the conservatory and slept for 4 hours solid that afternoon. I was literally trying to sleep off the memory of what happened. Because if you’re asleep, you can’t worry about something right?
I also find myself snoozing on the sofa a lot more at weekends when I’m worried or upset about something, in the vein hope that when I wake up it might have magically gone away, or at least, the nap has made me forget about it or make it seem less worrisome when I wake up.
Anxiety napping or ‘depression napping’ is a relatively new phrase, I mean, it’s probably always existed, there’s just now a name for it, in fact it’s made it into Urban Dictionary, who define it as Napping as an escape mechanism to avoid negative thoughts when depressed, so it must be a thing!
But, in the long run, is it a healthy way of coping with your problems? I’m firmly on the fence with this one. For me, I completely accept that problems should be tackled, addressed and ultimately solved, whether that’s talking to someone about it for reassurance or putting in positive steps to rectify the issue. However, not sure about you, but for me, the world is a dark horrible place when I’m tired. So if I’m able to get enough sleep in, even if it is somewhat of an avoidance technique, I feel more refreshed, and able to look at things with clearer eyes. I’m not saying my worries disappear after an anxiety nap, but I certainly feel a little better equipped to deal with them.
That said though, it’s probably not healthy to be needing a nap just to get through the day, long term. As Simon Rego, a clever cloggs psychologist at the Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City (snappy title!) says; ‘While napping itself is not necessarily a problematic behaviour, it’s important to be clear on why you’re napping’.
Perhaps I’m just lazy? I am a leo after all, and us leos do love our sleep!
Are you an anxiety napper? If so do you feel better or worse? Does it help or does it just delay the issue and make you feel worse? As always, if you’re feeling low and need someone to talk to, do reach out Don’t suffer alone.