Six Common Insomnia Myths

by Martin Reed Patient Advocate

Sleeping is a part of everyone’s life. As such, most people assume they know a lot about the topic. If you are dealing with insomnia, you may have heard many myths about it. Here are some common myths about the condition along with the facts that dispel them.

Insomnia Myth #1: Only Depressed or Nervous People Have Insomnia

Anyone can have insomnia, not just individuals who deal with nervousness or depression. Short bouts of insomnia can be brought on due to changes in life, such as an illness or injury, a death or major change in the family, job changes, medication changes, and other life issues. What is true is that individuals who have long term insomnia may eventually end up dealing with depression. Going without the sleep you need for prolonged periods of time affects everything – including emotional and mental health.

Insomnia Myth #2: Everyone Needs Eight Hours of Sleep

It is not true that everyone needs eight hours of sleep. Some people need more, others need less. It is true that different age groups need different amounts of sleep. Infants, children and teens generally need between nine and eleven hours per day. Adults generally need between seven and eight hours of sleep. Yet, even with those guidelines in place, these numbers are dependent upon each individual. Some adults feel better on six hours of sleep, while others may need nine. How many hours of sleep you need will depend on how you feel during the day.

Insomnia Myth #3: Watching TV Helps with Insomnia

Watching television can interfere with your ability to fall asleep. Television is energizing to most individuals and it should be avoided if you are having problems falling asleep or staying asleep. Read a book instead. Action movies, the news, and other television programs can stimulate the brain and make sleep elusive.

Insomnia Myth #4: Napping Does Not Interfere with Nighttime Sleep

Napping can interfere with nighttime sleep if it is not done correctly. If you take naps, do so at the same time each day. Between the hours of 1pm and 3pm are generally the best times to nap without it affecting nighttime sleeping. Avoid late afternoon napping and keep your naps to less than one hour.

Insomnia Myth #5: Alcohol Helps You Sleep Better

Alcohol does help you fall asleep faster, but it does not help you sleep better overall. The second half of sleep is generally disrupted once alcohol levels in the blood begin to fall. This generally results in waking up and being unable to fall back to sleep. In addition, individuals who use alcohol to help them sleep often feel less rested and more groggy the following day.

Insomnia Myth #6: Insomnia is Difficult to Treat

Insomnia is not difficult to treat. The key is finding out the cause of the insomnia. If it is caused by medication, a change of medication can get you sleeping normally again. If it is caused by a physical or mental issue, your doctor can help you treat it. If your sleeping environment or sleeping habits are not conducive to sleep, changes can be made that will make sleeping easier.

These are just a few of the myths about insomnia. Many individuals are unaware that the things they assume about sleep and insomnia are untrue. Acting on these beliefs can actually make insomnia worse. Educating yourself about insomnia can make all the difference between aggravating it and making it go away.

If you want to learn more about healthy sleep, feel free to enroll in my free online sleep training course.

Martin Reed
Meet Our Writer
Martin Reed

Martin is the creator of Insomnia Coach, an eight-week course that combines online sleep education with individual sleep coaching. His course helps clients improve their sleep so they can enjoy a better life with more energy and start each day feeling happy, healthy, rested, and refreshed. Martin also runs a free sleep training course that has helped over 5,000 insomniacs. He holds a master’s degree in health and wellness education and studied clinical sleep health at the University of Delaware.