Sleep eludes plenty of people around the world, which in and of itself, is already a telling sign that a lot of us aren’t aware of the true nature of insomnia. For one, many people who toss and turn at night have a tendency to force themselves to sleep. They apply numerous ways to get their mind to finally shut down, from counting sheep to adding and multiplying, hoping that it would somehow tire their mind out In the end, they only build up their sleep anxiety. It’s in these scenarios that the truly paradoxical nature of insomnia becomes crystal-clear, and this is what a lot of sufferers of the condition should realize.
The Trap of Sleep Anxiety
Many of the common cases of insomnia is rooted on sleep anxiety. People who fall for it are usually those who have no idea that they already trapped by it This underscores the necessity to understand why they fall for the trap and how they would be able to get out of it What makes things difficult for other people to overcome this is the fact that our susceptibility to anxiety varies from person to person.
Some people just tend to worry too much about every kind of thing or concept that they perceive as a threat or worth worrying about. In the case of insomniacs, it’s sleep. To them, there is always that gnawing dread of not being able to sleep come night time The effect of the fear doesn’t stop there, though, for it actually evolves into more potent forms that would make the chances of sleep pretty much nil and would highlight the paradox of insomnia.
One good scenario that illustrates this is the snowball effect. First, there is the original fear of not being able to sleep for the night. Once that vexing thought has wedged and secured itself in your mind as you lie tossing and turning in bed, it’s inevitable for you to start forcing your mind to stop worrying. In the end this only sends your mind into overdrive, as you add more layers of fear into the original anxiety, and sleep becomes impossible.
Changing Your View of Sleep
Another reason why a lot of people who have persistent insomnia tend to not get the quality sleep that they want is that, ironically, they hold it in such high regard that it becomes nothing short of necessary to get it every time one goes to bed. This is why one bad night of poor sleep can start a domino effect that would result in weeks’ worth of sleepless nights. You tell and pressure yourself that you have to get quality sleep the next night or else.
In short, the more you think and worry about getting great sleep, the more it would inevitably elude you As long as you remain anxious come bed time, you will never be able to get your mind to shut down, no matter how mentally and physically fatigued you are The key then is to learn to let go of your worries and to view sleep as an activity that comes naturally. The less you think about it, the better it would be for you.
After all, how many of us have experienced that excruciating feeling of seemingly about to fall asleep but, because of our overactive minds trying desperately to do just that, end up jerking awake instead? Such is the torment that the paradox of insomnia brings, and why it is such a terrible burden to bear.
Proven Effective Methods that Help Combat Insomnia
- Steer clear of negative thoughts before going to bed: It would be even better if you’d take the time to develop and follow a good pre-sleep relaxing routine. Reading a book, avoiding gadgets, and meditating are but some activities you can include 30 minutes or an hour before sleeping. These activities would surely condition and relax you enough to shield you from anxious thoughts that could enter your mind once you lie down.
- Practice progressive muscle relaxation: A lot of people can attest to the efficacy of this technique as it really has a way of setting your body up for sleep while relaxing all its parts. This also exercises mindfulness, which is a key concept that helps tackle anxiety of any forms. PMR also incorporates breathing, making it a truly relaxing activity. The technique mainly involves tensing and relaxing all your major muscle groups for specific durations.
- Try keeping yourself awake as long as you can: One good way of blocking sleep anxiety from your mind is, quite ironically, to try to stay awake as long as possible. However, you have to be sure that you won’t use gadgets or any other external stimuli when doing this method. Instead, focus on using only your mind. As is evident from this technique, one good way of fighting the paradox of insomnia is to rely on equally paradoxical practices.
- Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness is being fully-aware of the present. It is an essential part of meditation as it really gives you a vivid insight of what’s truly going on in your mind and immediate surroundings. With this level of awareness, you’d be able to pinpoint the exact reasons why you can’t sleep. It is one sure way of knowing what insomniacs’ triggers and issues are and, with objective observation, learn that they are really not that threatening or that there really is not a problem after all It should prove to be equally efficient in helping you avoid the vicious cycle of sleep anxiety.
Learn to Trust Your Body
As a closing note, what a lot of insomniacs certainly have to keep in mind is that their body knows what is good for them. The same goes for sleep. Once you start having doubts about your body’s ability to help itself go to sleep, you’re only setting yourself up for further sleepless nights. Instead, just place your complete trust in your body and learn to stop worrying about the time it would take for you to doze off.
Sathya Kumar is the Founder & CEO at Techindia Infoway Pvt Ltd., Chennai. Techindia is Asia’s largest provider of healthcare management solutions for sleep scoring services, exceptional remote healthcare diagnostics and patient monitoring, with a proven track of high performance for highly regulated healthcare industries and for the patients globally.