When Sleep Hurts


For some time now, I’ve been having a problem, and it’s one that’s completely new. I’m not even sure what’s causing it. I’m curious if anyone else has experienced this, so I have decided to post about it.

I’ve never been one to get good sleep. It goes back to being a toddler and having an immense amount of energy. I would be unable to sleep and would stay up the entire night. I would finally sleep a few hours in the morning, but then I was awake once again full of the same amount of energy. This was a repetitive situation for many nights of my toddler years, and it never went away.

Sleeping for me is difficult to this day. I must have the television on all night long. I need the noise. If all I have is silence, then my OCD takes over and I cannot sleep. The TV helps to keep those thoughts somewhat at bay. I only have comedies on in the background as to not give myself nightmares from sounds of a scary film or such. But, I must have that noise, or I will not be able to sleep. If the television gets turned off in the middle of the night, then I will wake up almost instantly. Strangely, the silence becomes too loud and wakes me up. Even with the noise, my thoughts still drive me nuts at times, but the TV – when turned down to a low volume – helps.

Here’s the problem, though. Lately, for the last several months, I’ve had a strange issue. I’m not really sure what to call it, but it’s like a pain that goes through my body while I’m trying to go to sleep. It’s not completely a physical feeling, though. It’s more like a mixture of both physical pain and emotional distress. I cry myself to sleep many nights as I feel this. Sometimes it only lasts for a short time when I first lie down, while other times it lasts until I fall asleep. When this happened during a recent depression, I never questioned it because I was hurting so much inside already that I figured it was just another source of pain. But, right now I’m not depressed. I was for a two-month period around the holidays, until February when I had a meds adjustment. It was actually more of a mixed state, but it leaned more heavily on the depression end of the spectrum.

However, since then, my meds worked. Yet, this feeling continues. Although I usually feel fine before I lie down, I wind up crying with this ache inside my mind and my body. It shoots through me from my head to my feet and I just keep rubbing my arms and legs, while tossing and turning to make it stop. I begin to feel scared, lonely, and empty inside, and it physically hurts. And, as I lie there, my mind starts putting awful thoughts into my head that make me cry even more. But, as I’ve said, it doesn’t last all night long. It only lasts for about a half-hour to an hour, or until I fall asleep from exhaustion due to how draining it is. It makes going to sleep very difficult, as I can’t relax enough to slip into that state of calmness. As I write this, I realize just how little sense this probably makes, but that’s the best way that I can describe it.

I’m not sure if this is related to the bipolar, anxiety, OCD, or if it’s the result of something completely unrelated to any of that. To me, I think it’s a combination of both the anxiety and OCD, but not positive. I don’t like to always attribute everything that I feel to these issues, ‘cause I realize that I’m a human being and there are other reasons things happen to me. I still can’t help but wonder if my anxiety and OCD are at the root of it, though. It’s something that I know that I need to discuss with my doctors, but I just never remember when I see them, due to the fact that it doesn’t happen during the day. I tend to forget about it until the next time when it happens again. It happened again last night, and as it gets closer to bedtime once again, it’s now popped into my head.

Has anyone else ever experienced this? If so, have you found out its cause and how to fix it? Or, do you think this is just a new symptom manifesting itself and something that I’m going to just have to learn to deal with? I’m going to make a note to remind myself to discuss this with my therapist next week, but if you have any opinions, advice, or personal experiences to share, it would be greatly appreciated.


12 thoughts on “When Sleep Hurts

  1. I can’t say I’ve ever experienced this. I have often gone to my doctor & forgot some things I wanted to ask or say. As you’re planning with your therapist make a list of anything you want to speak to your doc about & take it with you.

    I’m guessing you’ll have tried a lot of this, but this is a link to a post that helps me sleep.


    I know it can seem like a hassle doing this & having a routine before beddy bose can seem dull, but hey if it helps who cares.

    One thing that helps me big time, is my cat Saffie. She is a floppy kind of cat at night, so If I get the book I’m reading, go into the front room & plop her on lap she’ll settle & we’ll drift off together after half an hour or so.

    Try different things that calm & relax you, as there is no fixed rule to this, just do what works for you

    • Thank you! 🙂 I appreciate this info a lot and the link to your post, ’cause those are some good suggestions. It has me thinking about how I don’t wind down sometimes prior to sleep. I often just jump off the computer and right into bedtime. That seems to be my nightly routine. I think it could be that I’m not relaxing myself enough prior to that and it’s maybe kicking in my OCD and anxiety. Since, when I’m on the computer my mind is going and going, and then I just suddenly stop the computer and head into going-to-sleep mode. I’m going to try to calm myself more prior to sleep, maybe even take that warm shower you suggest in your post.

      Thanks so much again! 🙂

      • Yes I definitely find if I try to sleep straight from blogging, it’s takes me a while for my brain to switch off. Wouldn’t that be nice ‘a switch to flick’ to sleep mode!

  2. PS, I’m a shameless blog whore, hence the link to my blog 🙂 What can I say, I like likes, comments & viewage!

  3. This is just my guess, but it sounds a bit like restless leg syndrome to me. Restless leg, of course, isn’t isolated to just the legs but can radiate through your entire body. I sometimes experience it when I try new meds or increase dosages of certain meds and it’s often quite excruciating. My entire being my be heavy with sleep, but it won’t come until the musculature screaming subsides

  4. Sorry – typing on my phone and hit something wrong. Anyway, you might do some research into restless leg and see if it doesn’t match your symptoms. If it does, I’d talk to your doctor. He or she might be able to prescribe you something to ward it off.

    • That’s really interesting, I’m definitely going to read up on that. What you’re describing about what you feel during those times sounds so similar. I did have a medication increase a couple months ago and a new med added into the mix back in October. I wonder if it’s a side effect of one of them or both. Thank you so much for this information. Looks like something else to add to my note when I talk to my therapist next week. Not sure if she’ll know much about it, but it’s worth talking with her anyway to see.

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