8 Myths About Insomnia That’s Keeping Us Awake at Night

Insomnia is something that nearly everyone struggles with at one point in their lives. For some people, the battle with insomnia lasts days, weeks, months, years, or even a lifetime. For others, it is an unfortunate symptom triggered by stress, depression, or a poor diet. Regardless of the cause or duration of the struggle, people with insomnia often report feeling like they would do pretty much anything to fall asleep and stay asleep. There is a ton of misinformation out there about insomnia and what it actually means to have it or experience it. Luckily, this list can help you sort out the truth. Read on to find out about the top myths about insomnia that’s keeping us awake at night. 

8 Active Myths | Suggest a Myth
MYTH: Falling asleep at night takes time.

Many people believe that people who have trouble falling asleep are just impatient and that falling asleep can take anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours. Falling asleep is actually more like a light switch. You are awake one moment and asleep the next. The feeling you get when you think you are "almost asleep" and you are awoken is actually just you being in a state of relaxation.

MYTH: Insomnia is not linked to any other medical condition.

Actually, insomnia can be caused by many comorbid health conditions such as anxiety, depression, or obesity. On the flip side, it can also cause obesity. Insomnia can also cause hypertension and heart problems. Insomnia is also often caused by other sleep disorders such as sleep apnea.

MYTH: If you can't sleep, you just didn't try hard enough.

Many people think that all it takes to fight stubborn sleeplessness is to lie in bed in the dark for hours until your body naturally dozes off. For some people, this practice does indeed relax them and put them to sleep. For sufferers of insomnia, it is not enough. In fact, lying in bed in the perfect environment for sleep and still being unable to sleep can result in anxiety and frustration and is better avoided.

MYTH: Medication is the only treatment for insomnia.

This isn't true at all. While medications are a way to help people fix short-term sleep issues return to a healthy sleep routine and schedule, they are not designed to work long-term. For patients with chronic insomnia, treatment will involve not only medications, but sleep studies, special pillows, and treatment for other health problems that may be exacerbating the issue.

MYTH: Waking up should feel refreshing and easy.

Many, if not most, people experience drowsiness upon waking, regardless of how much sleep they get or the quality of their sleep. That is why most days you might feel tired when your alarm goes off. Sometimes, everything will align itself in the perfect way to result in you waking feeling refreshed, but this is not scientifically proven to be indicative of better or more restful sleep.

MYTH: You can catch up on sleep.

Sleep is not something that you can catch up on. In fact, after experiencing a bad night's rest or sleepless night, it is far better to merely go to sleep at your regular time, following your regular routine, than attempting to catch up. Going to sleep early or sleeping in too much can increase your restlessness even more, resulting in longer periods of time plagued by insomnia.

MYTH: Sleep was only restful if you're able to awaken naturally.

This one is untrue for several reasons. In addition to the "natural" frequent awakenings that are symptoms of insomnia itself, waking naturally does not mean sleep was restful. On the other hand, waking to an alarm clock doesn't mean you're sleeping too much or not enough. It just means that you have a busy day ahead of you and it's time to wake up.

MYTH: Insomnia means you just can't fall asleep.

Insomnia is a lot more than just having trouble falling asleep. Insomnia can also mean waking up too early after only a couple hours of sleep and being unable to fall back to sleep. It also can mean frequent sleep interruptions. Insomnia literally means "habitual sleeplessness."