I struggled with chronic anxiety for nearly two decades, and during that time, I experienced all the common symptoms, including
- Excessive worrying
- Nervousness and
- Poor concentration
But as my anxiety snowballed, I also started suffering from fatigue, low energy levels, and excessive sleepiness, in addition to chronic stress, depression, and many other health issues.
I was sleepy at work, while out with friends and when seeing family.
Of course, being sleepy at work was the biggest problem.
At the time, I was working in a busy management role in Investment Banking in London, and I didn’t have time for ’sleepiness!’ I’d often close my eyes in meetings with clients and colleagues, which was embarrassing!
Sometimes I’d fall asleep in nightclubs and at friends’ houses when everyone else was having fun!
Eventually, my anxiety symptoms, sleepiness, and the rest of my problems reached their worst and unbearable levels, and I had to take some time off work.
I was anxious, tired, and sleepy all the time, and I no longer had the energy or strength to go to work.
From this point, I was on a mission to find ways to feel better.
I visited alternative health specialists, read a lot about nutrition and alternative healing, and attended seminars and workshops on ways to improve my health.
This led me to changes in lifestyle and mindset, and over time I managed to overcome my chronic anxiety, as well as get rid of most of my other symptoms, including being tired and sleepy all the time!
This incredible healing and transformation inspired me to start Super Sensitive Sandi, a website designed to help others struggling with anxiety by adopting healthy habits.
I realized why I was tired and sleepy on this healing journey and what could be done about it.
1. Nutrient Deficiencies
One of the primary reasons I was sleepy was because of my poor eating habits.
I consumed a lot of refined foods and readymade meals, which are poor in nutrients while high in sugar, salt, or fat!
For example, I indulged daily in
- Refined grains (white pasta and bread, pizza)
- Salty snacks and
- Sugary foods (pastries, cakes, desserts, chocolate, puddings, candy, milkshakes)
Eating these foods daily or in high quantities can, over time, lead to nutrient deficiencies, a major cause of disease.
When I started seeing alternative specialists, I had to have blood tests to check my vitamin and mineral levels, and this is when I first learned that I was deficient in many essential nutrients.
Once I adopted a healthy and balanced diet rich in vegetables and whole grains, as well as fruit, nuts, seeds, and herbs, I noticed I was less sleepy and had more energy. Naturally, this also reflected positively on my blood test results.
2. Lack of Exercise
Another major cause of my excessive sleepiness was my sedentary lifestyle.
I was working long hours in the office, and because I also struggled with fatigue and low energy levels, when at home, I slept most of the time. It didn’t even occur to me to try to exercise!
But I’ve learned that being physically active is something that we have to do.
It’s not really an option.
I became physically active by taking up walking. It was only short walks in the beginning, but later these turned into long walks. With time I started visiting parks and hiking in the woods.
The more I walked, the stronger I felt, and the more confident I became.
Later, I was also inspired to adopt other exercise forms, including aerobics, cross-training, and running.
After each walk or workout, I felt less sleepy and also slept better.
So, start slowly, work your way up, and watch your energy levels rise!
3. Not Relaxing Effectively
When we are sleepy, it is hard to find time for anything. Doing basic life tasks can be challenging enough.
That’s why it is important to use our spare time to relax effectively.
Unfortunately, I used to believe that watching the television was my relaxation time, when, in fact, this only drained my energy further, and I’d often fall asleep on the couch.
When I started to introduce 15-20 minutes of daily meditation, I was surprised at the positive changes in my energy levels.
The more I meditated and the fewer gaps I had in my meditation practice, the better I felt. I was less tired, less sleepy, but also calmer and more positive.
Meditation has a long list of mental, physical, and emotional benefits.
If you’ve never meditated before, don’t worry, anyone can meditate.
Put on your headphones and listen to 5-10 minutes of one of the thousands of free guided meditations on YouTube.
Practice daily and make sure you are consistent. If you develop a practice, you will become far less sleepy!
4. Negative Mindset
As an anxiety sufferer, I was thinking all the time negatively! I had constant fears and worries running around in my mind.
But negative thoughts drain our energy levels, and this was yet another cause of my sleepiness.
Think about how you feel after you’ve been with a fun and happy friend, versus when you’ve met with someone who is constantly negative. When we think negative thoughts, it is like we are carrying that negative friend around with us.
Positively changing your thoughts can boost your energy levels and reduce sleepiness.
I used journaling to identify my negative thought patterns and repeated positive affirmations in front of the mirror to attempt to change these thought patterns.
Today I am very aware of my thinking, and when a negative thought arises, I replace it with something positive.
Changing your thoughts is going to be more challenging than adopting healthy eating, exercise, and meditation, but it is possible with practice.
Make sure you take things one step at a time.
If you try to do too much at once, you’ll get sleepy!
Now that you know about poor diet, lack of exercise, not prioritizing effective relaxation, and negative thoughts can be causing your excessive sleepiness, you are in a position to start making positive changes in your life!