One of the early warning cues to future mental health problems is changes in sleep patterns. I’ve been sleeping only five to six hours a night for the last two weeks. I usually average eight hours a night. Usually when I sleep too little, eventually I’ll have problems with irritability and anxiety. When I sleep too much I’ll have problems with depression and lethargy.
While not needing much sleep usually allows me to be more productive, it comes at a price. In time I’ll become more anxious and easily angered. After dealing with mental illness problems for almost twenty years, I’ve come to recognize long term trends and problems before they arise. One way I’m trying to get back into a more even sleep pattern is reducing caffeine. This is a tough one for me as I love both coffee and black tea. I also won’t eat at least four hours before bed because, for me, eating anything gives me a boost and makes me stay awake later.
But this time it isn’t the late nights that are the issue. It’s the early starting mornings. I have literally been awake before sunrise probably all but two days in the last two weeks. Not sure what to make of this. I’m thinking it’s possible that all these years I was convinced I was a night owl was really my caffeine addiction talking. If I was smarter, I’d go a couple days without any caffeine and see if that resets my sleep patterns.
In short, my sleep patterns have been heavily slanted to not getting much sleep lately. I can tell it’s starting to take it’s toll. I’ve been slightly more irritable, anxious, and more short tempered than usual. It’s time to change this trend before it leads to more serious issues.