Insomnia is a serious and frustrating health condition that affects around 15% of the general population. Most people experience a night or two of difficulty sleeping every month. However, when insomnia moves from the occasional night to a chronic condition where you find yourself struggling three to four nights per week or more, over time it can lead to significant problems with daytime sleepiness including ability to function, and can put some people at higher risk for depression, anxiety, suicidal thinking and substance abuse if left untreated.
Symptoms of insomnia are experienced differently for different people. Some people have trouble falling asleep, some have trouble staying asleep, some wake far too early, and some find their sleep unrefreshing. Often, there is a mix of these experiences. Common daytime results include fatigue, difficulties with attention and concentration, difficulty with work or school performance, irritability, decreased motivation, and worry about the inability to sleep and its consequences that intensifies the closer to bedtime one gets.
You may have also had the experience of your insomnia worsening long after the reason it started is behind you. This kind of experience often happens if you spend a lot of time in bed stressed out and "trying" to sleep as a way to combat the problem. Unfortunately, the more you "try" to sleep, the less likely you will become sleepy, and spending a lot of time in bed while stressed out can teach your body that your bed and bedroom are a good place to be stressed out.
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Website content adapted with permission from Virginia Runko, PhD, CBSM, DBSM - dcpsychandsleep.com
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