According to psychologists, lying in bed and trying to force oneself to fall asleep makes insomnia worse and perpetuates a cycle of sleeplessness.
Psychologists explain that when individuals with insomnia spend a significant amount of time awake in bed, their brain starts to associate the bed with wakefulness rather than sleep. Dr. Caitlin Lance, a sleep psychologist, highlights that this can lead to anxiety and frustration when bedtime approaches, further hindering the ability to fall asleep.
Dr. Lance suggests that individuals struggling with insomnia should avoid staying in bed for extended periods of time while awake. Instead, she recommends getting out of bed and engaging in a relaxing activity until feeling tired enough to sleep. This helps break the negative association with being in bed while awake and reduces anxiety surrounding sleep.
The article also quotes Dr. Guy Meadows, a sleep specialist, who explains that insomnia often stems from the mind being overly active and unable to switch off. He suggests using techniques like mindfulness or deep breathing to calm the mind before attempting to sleep. Dr. Meadows emphasizes the importance of addressing the root causes of insomnia, such as stress or worry, through techniques like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
Psychologists stress the need for a consistent sleep routine, as irregular sleep patterns can disrupt the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day helps regulate this internal clock and improves sleep quality. Avoiding stimulants like caffeine or electronic devices before bedtime is also recommended.
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