There are Olympians, titans of industry, philanthropists, scholars...individuals who push boundaries and themselves to accomplish exceptional things. Yet, the most impressive individuals, those who leave me in awe, are those who don't require all of the sleep just to function. They are the narwhals among us who can genuinely claim they are "full of energy" or "not tired". I can't remember the last time I didn't feel as though I could sleep for approximately 2 weeks.
I have never pulled an all nighter. Caffeine is powerless. I don't just get sleepy, I'm borderline narcoleptic. I require naps and am prone to tantrums and bouts of elevated anxiety when overtired. I, basically, never outgrew my infant bedtime of 7 PM. If it's a special occasion, I can stay up to 8 PM and eat ice cream after dinner. In other words, I am this dog:
Hypochondriacs beware: if you attempt to Google fatigue as a symptom you will find yourself in a black hole of diagnoses from thyroid disease, to anemia, to chronic fatigue syndrome, and then the more obvious depression. You could also simply be getting a cold or are not enough quality sleep. Doctors have tested me for mono repeatedly or blamed the Lyme Disease I had earlier in my life as the culprit. After multiple negative test results, the conclusion is simply that I must live my life as a sleepy bear. However, I don't get to hibernate because I have to pay bills, which is bullshit.
I used to get mad at myself for being tired all the time. I used to get upset when I was compared to Prince Valium in Mel Brooks's Spaceballs movie, because who the hell wants to marry somebody who is yawning all the time? Gonna die alone. At least I'm comforted knowing I would end up a crazy dog lady with a baller personal library. I have since accepted my need for more sleep than others as just another part of myself that I have to accept, love, and laugh at. Lone Starr was a much better choice anyway, Princess Vespa.
To add another layer of frustration, considering that half of those with depression also have anxiety, they are familiar with the vicious cycle of being too tired to do things, and then feeling anxious because you should be doing more things, and then getting more depressed because your anxiety kept you up so now you're even more tired and feel less capable of doing anything at all.
My advice: let yourself be tired. Give yourself permission to spend a full day or weekend sleeping or resting. Rock your messy bun, yoga pants, and no bra with abandon. I'm not sure what the male equivalent is, but I imagine you're on day 2 of the same boxers and sporting a mean cowlick. The less you stress and pressure yourself to not be tired, the more you are able to embrace your destined identity as an old, young person. I'm still waiting for my Benjamin Button moment where, as I age, my behaviors revert and I become a downright night owl, or at least able to stay up past 10 PM.
Some other self-care tips that I've picked up, but have yet to implement in my life even though I know they would help because I'm apparently a self-sabotaging ass, include:
1. Remain hydrated! Apparently drinking water is a big deal. I dunno.
2. Exercise and don't eat like garbage. Allegedly, you'll feel better if you take care of your body. Also avoid extreme diets, don't skip meals, and look for iron rich foods.
3. Limit caffeine. Oops.
4. Look into vitamins. You might not be getting all the vitamins and nutrients you need.
Wishing all you fellow sleepy bears some self-compassion and a good nights sleep. zzzZZZzzz