A recent study by BYU psychology professor Daniel Kay published in Sleep suggests a dysfunction in the inhibition process could be what causes those with insomnia to have a hard time fully falling asleep, reportsĀ MedicalXpress.

“Previous studies found that patients with insomnia appear to be asleep, their eyes are closed and their brain is in a characteristic sleep pattern, but you wake them up and guess what they are more likely to tell you? ‘I was awake,'” Kay said.

This problem has traditionally been characterized by sleep scientists as sleep misperception. Kay, however, argues that that term is based on the assumption that sleep is categorical, either being asleep or being awake, and that when you’re asleep you don’t have consciousness.