In this article we will take a look at some of the reasons why you might be crying yourself to sleep every night and whether that indicates depression.
We will also take a look at some things you can try to cope with the distress you are feeling.
Are you depressed if you cry yourself to sleep every night?
If you cry yourself to sleep every night, it could be because of the stress in your life which is causing you emotional distress.
It could also be possible that you might have depression or anxiety or other psychological issues, which can be diagnosed by visiting your doctor.
Here are a few things you can do to cope if you are crying yourself to sleep every night:
- Acknowledge the way you feel
- Get some help
- Creative positive thoughts
- Problem solve
- Build self-esteem
- Practice good sleep hygiene
To understand why you cry yourself to sleep at night and whether it is depression, let us take a moment to understand what depression is.
Let us take a look at depression and what it is and how you can identify depression in yourself.
Depression or Major depressive disorder is a mental illness that causes severe symptoms that interfere with your daily living. WHO estimates that close to 300 million people are affected by it and it causes immense disability in one’s life.
Here are some symptoms that could indicate that you are depressed:
- Sleep issues, such as sleeping more than normal or difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep
- Eating more or less than you normally do
- Losing interest and/or pleasure in activities you once enjoyed
- Lack of energy
- Difficulty engaging in normal tasks of daily living including hygiene.
- Feeling sad and/or anxious
- Feeling hopeless
- Feeling isolated or lonely
- Feeling worthless, guilty, or helpless
- Difficulty concentrating
- Suicidal thoughts or attempts, or thinking about death
If you have noticed that these are some symptoms that you have noticed in yourself on most days than not for more than two weeks and it is causing severe disability in your life- meaning that you cannot work, maintain relationships, and meet the demands of your life- it could be possible that you are struggling with depression.
This could indicate that you are experiencing a depressive episode and the crying is a symptom of depression. Let us take a look at why you become more distressed at night.
Reasons why you cry at night
Here are some reasons why you might be more prone to crying at night in spite of whether you do or do not have depression.
People with emotional distress often mull over past events and issues that concern them, trying to make sense of them at night because they have time to think without the distractions of daily life.
Since negative thinking, often seen in people who are affected by depression, causes the tendency to focus on negative events which can fuel feelings of depression and anxiety causing lower moods, more distress, and hence, the crying.
Poor sleep patterns
Multiple studies have shown that when your circadian rhythm, or internal sleep clock, is disrupted there is a risk of developing depression and distress.
If you are depressed or emotionally distressed you might be extremely tired during the day which causes you to sleep too much or you might even struggle with insomnia. Poor sleep habits can make you feel irritable throughout the day and more distress and fatigue at night.
This distress can make it difficult for you to cope with stressors since you are already overwhelmed with the fatigue which can make you feel more vulnerable and distressed at night when you are trying to sleep in the privacy of your own room.
If you are struggling with anxious thoughts, which are mostly based on irrational beliefs, you might be feeling extremely distressed and emotionally vulnerable. You might also be dealing with a lot of anxiety related to your own stress- anxiety about your anxiety.
Oftentimes people find it extremely hard to cope with their emotions honestly, and this is usually because they are afraid of being vulnerable or view it as a weakness. It could be possible that bottling everything up can lead you to crash at night where there is no one around.
How to cope?
Here are some things you can do to cope:
If you are uncontrollably crying every night, consider soothing yourself like you would a child who is distressed. When a child cries we do not beat them up or berate them for expressing themselves.
Crying could be your way of expressing something you think is unmentionable so take the time to sooth your crying self with the love and compassion one gives a baby.
Some ways you can do that is by meditating, you can consider yoga or running. You can also consider deep breathing exercises. Another thing you can do is engage in things that soothed you when you were younger.
Watching cartoon shows that you loved or reading your favorite book could be one way to help yourself calm down
Acknowledge the way you feel
Crying is your body’s way of expressing emotions that you might not have noticed nor have had the words to express. It is a way for your body to tell you that you need to pay attention to what you are feeling.
When a person is crying it signifies distress of being overwhelmed with something; it could be work, academics, social situations, and even their own sense of self.
Take a moment to acknowledge that you’re distressed and you might not know why. When you acknowledge your state of being, you do it without judgment- it is okay to cry, it is okay to feel stressed, afraid, and it is okay to feel like you are “losing it”.
When you acknowledge it, it becomes manageable. When you acknowledge it it also becomes identifiable. Identifying your emotions can also help you understand where it is coming from and hence make the necessary changes that can help cope.
Get some help
Tell someone how you feel. Maybe a friend or family. Maybe look for support groups. A problem shared is a problem halved.
Counselling or therapy helps some people to explore their emotions, particularly if there are some big things causing the tears.
If one therapist does not work for you, consider seeing someone else or other forms of therapy. There are also creative forms of therapy such as dramatherapy, art therapy and music therapy.
Group therapy is also an effective strategy as it allows people to understand that they are not alone and also allows others to gain new perspectives of their problems and various possible solutions.
Create Positive Thoughts
Participating in an activity that you enjoy, such as writing, playing an instrument, drawing, or painting, and meditation or prayer, can help create positive thoughts.
Try to fill your mind with positive things so that there’s no room for the negative thoughts to creep in and occupy space- this could include doing things that give you a sense of purpose or meaning, or simplifying spending time with people that love you unconditionally.
Problem-Solve Negative Events
Take a moment when you’re thinking clearly and identify at least one step you can take to overcome your problems.
It can even be something as simple as calling a friend to try and brainstorm a solution. Focus on the choices you have and the pros in your life as opposed to the cons. This kind of optimistic mindset can help you come up with solutions to things that you are struggling with.
If you are struggling with depression or anxiety it is possible that you are dealing with low self-esteem.
Thoughts about your incapabilities are thoughts that are often irrational and stem from the belief that you are not good enough. It is best that you challenge these thoughts by putting these thoughts against evidence of victories that you have gained throughout your life.
If you think you do not have any notable victories, think of ways you can start now. It is never too late to start a new hobby, picking up that musical instrument you used to play, or taking a night or online class in a subject that fascinates you. Feeling good about yourself and what you’re accomplishing helps keep rumination at bay.
Practice Good Sleep Hygiene
Rest is very important if you are experiencing mental and emotional distress. Set yourself up for sleep success as much as you can. Set a schedule and a limit to your on-screen activities and keep your room dark.
Turn off screens at least two hours before bed to help maximize your sleep time. Make it a point to do things that relax you and soothe you an hour before sleeping, this could be taking a relaxing bath or listening to soothing songs.
In this article, we have discussed some reasons why you might be crying yourself to sleep and what you can do to cope. We have also discussed the symptoms of depression and what you can do if you are experiencing them.
Frequently asked questions related to “i cry myself to sleep every night am i depressed”
Is it normal to cry every night?
Crying is a normal emotional response to many different issues. However, frequent, uncontrollable, or unexplained crying can greatly affect daily life and can make you feel like you are losing control over yourself and your situation.
If you cry every night, it is advisable that you take to a mental health service provider as this type of crying may result from a mental health condition, such as burnout, anxiety, or depression.
Is crying yourself to sleep unhealthy?
There is a gap in research that explores the benefits of crying; however, psychologists will agree that crying is a normal way of expressing emotions that cannot be expressed with words.
If you are crying over various things in your life it can be considered normal and healthy even, compared to keeping everything bottled up. However, if you find that you are crying yourself to sleep every night, it could indicate that there is an underlying issue that is making you emotionally overwhelmed which could potentially become unhealthy.
Should I be worried if I cry every night?
Crying more than is normal for you without reason may be a symptom of depression or a neurological disorder. If you’re concerned about the amount you’re crying, talk to your doctor.
Can anxiety cause crying?
If you have anxiety, you might cry often or uncontrollably as you become overwhelmed by the thoughts in your head, the world outside, and also because you might feel like you are losing control of your life and yourself. This can be an especially scary feeling which might be causing you immense distress leading you to cry.
Is it OK to cry everyday?
There are people who cry everyday for no particular reason, and it is nor really healthy thing to do. If you find that you are tearful everyday over activities that are normal in your life, you might be emotionally distressed, struggling with anxiety or depression.