Facts and Myths about Insomnia

Insomnia is commonly used to describe the inability to fall asleep. If you stay up late at night, and can’t go to sleep, you typically say you have insomnia.

The most common misunderstanding is that insomnia is the inability to go to sleep at night, however, insomnia embraces a much wider sleep territory than simply being unable to fall asleep.

Insomnia Facts

  • Insomnia is a symptom closely connected with dozens of sleep disorders and is most generally regarded as the inability to fall asleep.
  • Insomnia is not a sleep disorder itself, but a related symptom of other problems, including a range of common physical and psychological disruptions in the sleep cycle. Such symptoms of insomnia can be brought on by physical situations, such as medical conditions, hormonal changes, changes in diet, and changes in the work schedule. It can also include exercise or lack of it, environmental situations including changes in time zone, changes in season, travel and cultural changes, and psychological problems like stress, depression, and anxiety.
  • Insomnia symptoms include the helplessness to fall asleep, the inability to stay asleep, and the inability to concentrate and function in your everyday activities. 
  • Common patterns of insomnia include onset, middle, and late insomnia.
  • Long-term, insomniacs (people with an extended time of insomnia) often exhibit signs of sleep deprivation.
  • Types of insomnia include temporary, acute and chronic, with symptoms being able to last for one night or may last months and even years. 
  • Insomnia has 4 distinct patterns: onset, middle-of-the-night, middle, and terminal.
  • Many prescription drugs may contribute to insomnia since most over the counter and prescription drugs often have additives intended to combat drowsiness and others simply have side effects that instigate symptoms of insomnia.
  • Caffeine is a natural property of many coffees, teas, and chocolates, and also a common food and drink additive, but is one of the most common sleep inhibitors.
  • Contrary to the widespread belief that alcohol encourages sleep, it can suppress your body’s natural sleep cycle and actually interfere with natural sleep patterns, leading to symptoms linked with insomnia.
  • Statistics have shown that insomnia is a major problem among American adults, as approximately 60 million American adults have reported of insomnia ranging from long-term or chronic, to brief and temporary.
  • Symptoms linked to insomnia are shared among individuals that work night shifts or rotating shifts. Night shift work is an unnatural human cycle, and over the long-term or in cycles, it can significantly disrupt your natural Circadian cycle, affecting the physiological balance of your body and can vastly shift sleep patterns and inspire symptoms of insomnia.

Insomnia Myth

  • Only Depressed or Anxious People have insomnia. This is a lie, and anyone can have insomnia, not just individuals who deal with nervousness or depression. Short sessions or attacks of insomnia can be brought on due to changes in life, such as an illness or injury, death or major change in the family, and other life issues. But the fact is that individuals who have long term insomnia may eventually end up dealing with depression, since going without the sleep you need for protracted periods of time affects everything, including emotional and mental health.
  • Everyone Needs Eight Hours of Sleep is a myth and it is not true that everyone needs eight hours of sleep. Some people may need more, while others may need less. Different age groups need different amounts of sleep, and infants, children, and teens generally need between nine and eleven hours per day. Adults on the other hand generally need between seven and eight hours of sleep. However, these numbers are dependent upon each individual, because it follows that some adults feel better on six hours of sleep, while others may need nine, but the hours of sleep you need will depend on how you feel during the day.
  • Watching TV Helps with Insomnia. On the contrary, watching television can interfere with your ability to fall asleep, since Television can be energizing to most individuals and should be avoided if you are having problems falling asleep or staying asleep. Read a book instead since movies and other television programs can stimulate the brain and make sleep unreachable.
  • Napping Does Not Interfere with Nighttime Sleep is simply not true. Napping can interfere with nighttime sleep if it is not done acceptably. If you take siestas, do so at the same time each day, usually, between the hours of 1 pm and 3 pm as these times are generally the best times to nap without it affecting nighttime sleeping. Avoid late afternoon napping and keep your naps short. About an hour or less.
  • Alcohol Helps You Sleep Better is simply a myth. Alcohol does help one to fall asleep quicker, but it does not help you stay asleep or sleep better overall, as the second half of sleep is generally disrupted once alcohol levels in the blood begin to fall. This usually results in waking up and being unable to fall back to sleep. 
  • Insomnia is Difficult to Treat is untrue: Insomnia is not difficult to treat, and the key is finding out the cause of insomnia, and tackling it. You can also get help. If it is caused by medication, a change of medication can get your normal sleep back, and if it is caused by a physical or mental issue, your doctor can help you with that. If you have a sleeping environment or sleeping habits that are not conducive to sleep, changes can be made that will make sleeping easier.

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Facts and Myths about Insomnia

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