Advocate debunks five of the most common myths about insomnia and its impact on health.
Myth #1: Insomnia Is All in Your Head
It’s true that psychological issues can cause insomnia. As a matter of fact, stress is the number one cause reported by people with insomnia. But it’s not the only insomnia trigger. Many things can cause insomnia, including unseen illness, medication side effects, alcohol or drug use, chronic pain, restless legs syndrome, sleep apnea, too much caffeine, migraines, and poor sleep hygiene. If you really can’t sleep chronically, see a doctor.
Myth #2: If You Can’t Sleep, You Should Get Up
You may feel like you should accomplish something rather than just lie there and stare at the ceiling, but often getting up and turning on lights, watching TV — and yes, flipping through your phone for the perfect pink furry dinosaur emoji — can reset your internal clock so you have to start the sleep process all over again. In fact, the lights actually train your brain to associate your bed with wakefulness, not rest. However, if you can’t help yourself, experts say it’s more effective to read or listen to relaxing music (but save that Orange Is the New Black marathon for another day).