When Sleeping Is Your Worst Enemy
Insomnia is a sleep disorder that causes you to experience difficulty falling or staying asleep. It can happen for many different reasons and in almost all age groups. Considering how essential a good night’s sleep is for your work, educational and athletic performance, as well as your mood and mental health in general, this condition can be quite debilitating if not addressed and treated.
When sleeping is your worst enemy, the last thing that you want to do is actually go to sleep. Part of the disorder is that you already know ahead of time that “tonight will be no different than others.” What happens is that a person will attempt to go to sleep, usually at the same time, and just end up laying there, becoming frustrated and worsening the process.
Acute insomnia can last from 1 night to a few weeks, while chronic insomnia occurs at least 3 nights a week for 3 months or more. There are more than 3 million cases per year in the United States. It can’t be cured but it can be treated! These treatments include:
- Improving your sleep hygiene
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (a form of psychotherapy)
- Medication trials (i.e.: Zolpidem, Temazepam, Lorazepam, Trazodone, Eszopiclone, Diphenhydramine, Mirtazapine, etc.)
Medications should always be used as a last resort. You’d be surprised to find out that your insomnia is most likely due to poor sleeping habits or conflicts within your mind. We carry many poor habits in our lives and don’t even recognize them half the time. That’s why seeking therapy with a psychologist or psychiatrist is often beneficial.
Never jump straight to medications when it comes to insomnia. Even though you may be frustrated and experiencing daytime drowsiness, a decreased work performance, difficulty concentrating, slowness in activity, stress headaches or even depression, you want to first attempt to improve your sleeping habits or at least seek behavioral therapy.
Medications should be a last resort because they interfere with your natural sleep architecture, causing your brain to reprogram its sleeping pattern based on the medications that you feed it. In other words, there’s a chance that if you stop the medications, you’ll experience rebound insomnia because of the lack of medications.
In addition, the class of medications known as benzodiazepines are habit-forming and can make you dependent on them. “Benzos” are often abused as street drugs for their sedative and hypnotic effects; aka “xanax bars” or “zanies.” Even though they work well for inducing sleep, this is not the first option that you want to run to.
When sleeping is your worst enemy, try to analyze why. There’s no need to keep an enemy around, especially at nighttime.
Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)