Is anyone else struggling after Daylight Savings Time? We’re all a little sleepy over here. It’s amazing how much of a difference an hour makes. Because we lost an hour of sleep, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine took the opportunity to declare today Insomnia Awareness Day.
I’ve always had issues sleeping, but I never realized how big of a deal sleep was until I was out of college. I thought that sleeping in on the weekends was a good way to catch up on all the snoozing I wasn’t doing during the week. But now I have real things to do on the weekends and can’t just sleep on and off all day. I can’t play catch up, and binging on sleep is actually bad for you as well because it throws off your whole internal clock.
I’ve been working really hard to monitor my sleep patterns and pinpoint what’s going on. I’m even tracking my (severe) caffeine intake so hopefully I’ll be a better sleeper soon! Check out these 7 myths about insomnia that are just not true:
Myth: Insomnia Is Rare
Insomnia is actually a lot more common than you think. In fact, it's the most common sleep disorder in the United States and affects around 40 million people. That's a lot, which means you're not alone if you're having trouble sleeping.
Myth: Insomnia Means You Can't Fall Asleep
By definition, insomnia is "difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, even when a person has the chance to do so." You can fall asleep perfectly, but still have insomnia if you're constantly waking up in the middle of the night. I usually am able to fall asleep but wake up pretty much every hour or so.
Myth: Insomnia Is Temporary
Yes and no. There are different types of insomnia. Acute insomnia is what most people experience, usually because of stress or trauma. This type of insomnia typically doesn't last for more than a few weeks. Chronic insomnia is defined as having trouble sleeping at least three days a week for at least three months. This type of insomnia usually requires treatment.
Myth: Insomnia Is Caused By One Thing
Insomnia has a lot of causes. Some may be genetically predisposed to insomnia, but there are a ton of things that can cause it. If you suffer from mental illnesses like depression or anxiety, you may experience insomnia as a symptom. Your lifestyle can cause insomnia as well, which is why a lot of shift workers experience sleep troubles.
Myth: Napping Can Help Insomnia
Napping can actually make you sleep worse. It's definitely tempting to nap when you're sleepy during the day. However, a nap can throw your body off by considering it "fragmented sleep," which can make it more difficult to fall asleep at night.
Myth: Insomnia Isn't A Big Deal
We all know that when you don't get enough sleep, you can be grouchy and lethargic. For a day, it's probably not the end of the world. But if you're not getting enough sleep on the reg, you're putting yourself at risk for health issues from diabetes to anxiety.
Myth: Medication Is The Only Treatment
A common misconception about insomnia is that sleeping pills are the only treatment. There are several treatment options for insomnia from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to meditation to stimulus control. If you're experiencing insomnia and are wary about taking medication, speak to your doctor about other methods first. I'm currently doing CBT, and it's definitely helping me out!
Do you have insomnia? What are some other myths you know of? Tell us in the comments!