Insomnia comes in two “flavors”: acute and chronic. Acute insomnia is insomnia that suddenly appears, seemingly out of the blue. Typically, this insomnia is often triggered by a crisis of some kind, such as a divorce, a death, the loss of a job and so forth. Acute insomnia doesn’t hang around long because if it does, it becomes chronic insomnia by definition. Acute insomnia may resolve on its own or it may morph into chronic insomnia.
Although a traumatic crisis and acute insomnia often precede chronic insomnia, they aren’t necessary for its development. Some of you reading right now have chronic insomnia and it didn’t start with a crisis. In fact, I bet you don’t even know how it started. It probably came on gradually and worsened over time. No one sets out to give themselves insomnia, but chronic insomnia is often the end result of the very actions we take to try to address our insomnia. That just doesn’t seem fair, does it!
Think about what you are likely to do if you have a bad night of sleep. You may:
- take a nap the next day
- sleep in to make up lost sleep
- go to bed early the next night to give yourself a chance to get extra sleep
These are some of the very actions that lead to chronic insomnia, believe it or not. If you don’t have chronic insomnia and want to avoid it, then the best thing you can do is, in a word, nothing. That is, when you have a bad night of sleep, don’t try to make up for it by sleeping late, taking naps, or going to bed early. Struggle through your day and keep to your usual schedule, even if it’s hard to stay up until your normal bedtime. If you happen to have a second bad night of sleep in a row, keep it up. Yes, it will be even harder after two nights of poor sleep, but trust me on this: this ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. By the time bedtime finally arrives on the second night, you are likely to crash into sleep just fine. Insomnia avoided!
All of us have that random night here and there where we just don’t sleep well. Sometimes it’s a run of several nights in a week. You can prevent these nights from becoming more frequent and eventually becoming chronic insomnia if you will just carry on like normal despite being tired following the bad nights of sleep. And, for extra insomnia prevention, don’t stay in bed if you can tell you won’t be falling asleep quite soon. Staying in bed when you can’t sleep sets the stage for chronic insomnia to develop.
It might be hard, but try not to let anxiety ramp up if you have a bad night of sleep. One night of bad sleep is just that: one night of bad sleep. Trust that a good night of sleep is coming– after all, you can’t stay awake forever. Trust that these actions you can take to prevent the onset of chronic insomnia will work. Yeah, it really sucks to be awake when everyone else is happily sleeping but if you follow my advice here, you’ll be sleeping one night soon and you will have avoided creating the perfect conditions for chronic insomnia to develop.
If you already have chronic insomnia, I invite you to give me a call. The drug-free treatment I offer is very effective—even if you’ve had insomnia for 25 years. You deserve to sleep well. Call me and let’s get started with fixing your insomnia! 816-226-4678