Sleep experts state that we could be treating insomnia the wrong way. See how you can stop sabotaging your shut-eye time.
Experts say that the issue with insomnia is that we are looking for a trigger –from a chemical imbalance to hormones, some major life event, etc.–while these be valid for some nights, this could not be affecting every night.
Around 30% of adults suffer from some kind of insomnia, and 79% of them have reported having had it for 2 years. Lack of sleep can cause poor concentration, lack of motivation and energy, and prolonged lack of sleep can disrupt the immune system, cause weight gain, lower libido, decrease fertility, increase your chances of diabetes and heart disease and lead to depression and anxiety.
Insomnia vs sleep deprivation
It is better to start making a difference between insomnia and sleep deprivation. When you are sleep deprived, it means that you are actively restricting yourself from sleeping –think of when you are binge-watching your favorite series instead of sleeping, even if you are sleepy. If you suffer from insomnia, on the other hand, you might be doing everything at hand to get sleep, and still, you can’t.
If chronic sleep deprivation allows you to sleep at any given minute because you’d be that tired and it could actually make you very sick very quickly –and no one could suffer from chronic sleep deprivation for more than two weeks or they would be dead.
If you are not sleeping during the night, and you are taking naps that might teach your brain that sleep is not restricted to a certain time in your day, and it might be confused due to your behavior.
If you let insomnia dictate your life, you will feel too tired to exercise or going out with friends and you won’t get much work done. Then you adapt your life to insomnia and your brain will think you are fine because you’ve adapted your life to cope with being sleep deprived.
People tend to think that being relaxed is paramount to sleep, but it actually comes down to the trigger. Most develop insomnia because they are overworked or overstressed, then they think they have to relax to actually cure it and they fail to work on their sleep. Fixing sleeping problems requires being consistent and hard work before you can actually see some results.
How to cure insomnia
This is a treatment called cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia and it has been developed based on evidence.
Try staying awake for longer and get up at the same time every day, don’t nap and don’t go to bed until you are sleepy. If you wake up or can’t sleep, do something different instead.
2. Change their beliefs
It is difficult not to worry, but if you believe that if you don’t get enough sleep terrible things will happen to you, it won’t help.
3. Stick to your routine
You’ll feel terrible, to begin with, but if with some support from professionals, you will be able to understand and fix your problems.
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