Insomnia Myths That Could Keep You Up At Night
Insomnia is a condition in which you just can’t seem to fall asleep, and if you’ve ever had it, you know it isn’t fun. Waking up too early or several times throughout the night are also symptoms of insomnia, as is an inability to get back to sleep if woken in the middle of the night. For most, insomnia is a temporary condition, but it doesn’t take long for it to start interfering with your body’s ability to function properly. If you’re struggling with insomnia, it’s important that you don’t believe these common myths about the condition.
Have a Nightcap
Many people with insomnia are told by well-meaning friends and family that a little alcohol before bed is the ticket to a good night’s sleep. Unfortunately, this simply isn’t true. Alcohol may help you fall asleep faster, but your body will become restless as it processes the alcohol. A nightcap increases the odds of a restless night and may cause you to wake up too early.
Exercise Before Bed
Thinking they will sleep better if they tire themselves out, many insomniacs try exercising before bed to burn off any extra energy. The problem with this plan is that exercise releases endorphins and other hormones that pump you up and make you feel good. This natural high that exercise brings may make your insomnia worse. Regular exercise will help your body function and sleep better, but avoid doing it later than three hours before bedtime.
Just Watch a Little TV
Time in front of the television, computer or a book can all make it harder to fall asleep. Many believe that a little screen time or reading will help them relax and wind down before bed. These activities can actually be quite engaging, however, and often stimulate your brain rather than calm it. If you like the background noise of the television, try switching to relaxing music instead.
Naps are Fine
It is a pervasive myth that taking an afternoon nap won’t cause or aggravate insomnia, but that simply isn’t true. Insomniacs should try to avoid napping. If you must nap, do so between 1:00 and 3:00 in the afternoon and limit your napping time to an hour. If you’re an avid napper, try to take your afternoon snooze at the same time ever day.
It’s All in Your Head
Insomnia can be caused by stress and depression, but these aren’t the only potential causes. Insomnia is not all in your head. Illness, pain, apnea and medication can all cause insomnia, as can bad sleep habits and rituals. Don’t let others tell you that you’re creating your own problem if you have insomnia. There are many reasons you might be struggling to sleep and you are not to blame for your sleep issues.
You Just Have to Tough It Out
For most insomnia is temporary, but the condition can become chronic and may require treatment. Insomniacs often force themselves to stay in bed even when they are wide awake while hoping their insomnia will eventually work itself out. This isn’t always the case, however. If you’re tossing and turning with no end in sight, it’s okay to get out of bed and go do something. It’s also a good idea to see your doctor, who can help you find and fix the cause of your sleep issues.