What is insomnia?
Education is a vital step in your recovery. Learn more about why insomnia happens so you can start getting your life back.
What is insomnia?
Recovery starts with understanding why you are struggling to sleep.
What is Insomnia?
Insomnia is all about anxiety & fear
This must be a physical problem, right? It isn’t!
For most of us, chronic insomnia isn’t about blue light, lack of exercise, chemical imbalance, or a lack of sleep hygiene. It’s also not about your circadian rhythm or a lack of sleep drive – you have lots of sleep drive!
The underlying cause of your insomnia is anxiety and fear. If you’re like most people who suffer with insomnia, you may describe it as being stuck in a vicious cycle of poor sleep which triggers fear, which causes more poor sleep. It makes sense to feel anxious and scared from not sleeping, but this isn’t just a symptom of what’s happening. It’s the fuel that keeps insomnia alive.
Insomnia is all about anxiety. This anxiety typically sparks after not being able to sleep, which can happen for a variety of reasons. Anxiety generates hyper-arousal, which keeps us awake. The longer we’re awake, the more fearful we feel, and the cycle continues. Being awake at night often starts to shift from being inconvenient to feeling unsafe.
Over time, this anxiety contributes to a conditioned fear response in our brains. This means that your brain has learned fear around sleep, and this learned fear is being triggered night after night regardless of what you try to do to stop it. In fact, you’ve probably noticed that trying to stop it only makes it worse.
Conditioned fear responses are like alarms that go off to protect us from repeating dangerous behaviours. They’re meant to keep us safe. But in this case, your brain has learned some bad information about sleep and is sounding a false alarm night after night.
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Once this happens, we get stuck in the “fear-insomnia” cycle
1. Not sleeping triggers feelings of fear
2. Fear creates hyper-arousal so
we sleep less
3. Sleeping less leads to more fear
4. Which leads to more insomnia
If you’re someone who is struggling with your sleep and all of the unwanted thoughts, emotions, and physical symptoms associated with insomnia…
If you’ve found the harder you try to fix your insomnia the worse it gets – the good news is we can break this cycle.
Your mind and body are intimately linked. Neuroscience research shows that our brains actually create what we experience in our bodies.
Insomnia is like a conversation between the brain and body, except the conversation has gone astray. We have the ability to change this conversation. We can work together to ease the anxiety and fear at the root of your insomnia so you can start sleeping again. This is what a sleep coach can help you with.
Learn more: what is a sleep coach?
If you’d like to work with an experienced sleep coach to put an end to your insomnia