Thanks for all votes in our poll. Here’s the tally from everyone who participated:
Out of 16 respondents, 75% said they are night owls now. And out of 16 respondents, 88% said they sleep poorly and awaken often. I think the results, despite a fairly small sample size, show that falling asleep and staying asleep is a consistent challenge for most empaths.
I did some research on various empath websites to find further confirmation and explanation of this trend. And my findings reinforced the belief that sleep issues plague most empaths. I feel my findings are not necessarily earth shattering. But it does help connect the dots on this pretty common empath trait. And it also helps explain why so many empaths struggle with various health issues.
Here are some notes on what I found in my research:
The Empath-Night Owl Connection
*The theory that I found repeatedly is that empaths crave the solitude that exists late evening after the day is done and most of your family members are asleep. If you are like me, you probably have a pretty quiet home after 10PM. We all know that empaths need alone time to decompress and recharge the batteries. And empaths find that much needed quiet at late evening hours.
*There was also another theory that I found that noted that late afternoon to about 8PM is a stressful and trying time for an empath. That’s when everyone is rushing around taking kids to activities and rushing home from work. The roads and freeways are jammed up with traffic and tensions are high. It was also suggested that when people get home from work that there can often be a lot of conflict between family members (husband & wife battles, arguments between siblings and with their parents etc…). So there is a lot of intensity in the air that we all pick up even if we are not dealing with this stress directly in our own lives. I would say that I personally often feel anxiety as I drive home from work for no obvious reason. Then a couple hours later I feel really tired. And then when it gets close to 10PM all of a sudden I feel as if I just had two expresso shots and spring to life until I get tired around 1PM. This seems to closely follow the energy trends that occur in life where negative energy spikes late afternoon to early evening and then clears up when most of the world goes to sleep.
The Empath Poor Sleep Trends
*It’s pretty common knowledge that when someone has a lot on their mind that they are likely to toss & turn in their sleep or even have insomnia. But yet that can be a nightly occurrence for empaths. I think the explanation simply is that we take in so much during the day that our mind has a lot to untangle during sleep. Simply put, we have a lot on our minds mostly because we pick up so much from others.
*There is also a second explanation for the poor sleep that empaths get. And there is a medical reason for this that I found very interesting. We empaths deal with more stressors than a typical person on a daily basis. And that can lead to adrenal fatigue. When you have adrenal fatigue your body chemistry is all off and cortisol levels rise uncharacteristically. At first you will experience weight gain and a weakened immune system making you vulnerable to illness. And then when this continues you can get chronic inflammation, allergies, and auto immune diseases. I also wanted to point out that humans are supposed to have cortisol levels that start each day at a high level as part of the “wake up” process of the day. And then cortisol levels are supposed to drop to almost nothing by bed time (low cortisol levels help make you sleepy). The problem for empaths is that when you get adrenal fatigue, your cortisol levels don’t come down enough at night so you they are stimulating you to stay awake. And when you have a particularly stressful day or days, your high cortisol levels can wake you up in the middle of the night and leave you staring at the ceiling. And since cortisol is known as the stress hormone, it can be unpleasant to have higher levels of cortisol at any point (day or night).
*The last part that I wanted to touch on is the spiritual side of being an empath that is harder to measure. But we all have had weird dreams or visions while we sleep. And we also sometimes are visited by spirits as we sleep. This is another cause of sleep disturbance for some empaths.
I think the takeaway from what I researched was that we empaths are at risk of wearing ourselves out. It is both how we are wired and is also due to the fact that we take in so much each day. In the poll we had 25% of respondents vote that they had no problem falling asleep at a reasonably early evening hour. And we had 12% that said they slept well through the night. My guess is that these voters are pretty well adjusted as empaths and have done an excellent job of shielding and grounding. And I would also guess that as a result, they are probably a lot healthier than those of us empaths who live with poor sleep quality every day. I think this tells us that we can improve our sleep and health by doing a better job of grounding before bedtime. I realize that is easier said than done. But it would seem that it should at least be a goal to clear out the negative and get better sleep whenever possible.
The good news on adrenal fatigue is that it is very common in our society and can be medically treated. Here’s a pretty good article that I found explaining a lot of how adrenal fatigue impact us: