You May Have Conditioned Yourself To Sleep Poorly

You can experience many different kinds of sleep problems, including premature waking, problems falling asleep and restless sleep in general. It's tempting to look for causes to these problems, but it's possible that whatever triggered the issue no longer exists and now you're conditioned to poor-quality sleep.

The folks at Real Simple share expert advice on a number of sleep problems. What caught our eye was this response when talking about a night waker named Meredith:

"The good news is that Meredith's insomnia seems to have a clear precipitant―the breakup," says sleep-medicine specialist David Neubauer, M.D., a sleep-medicine specialist and an associate director of the Johns Hopkins Sleep Disorders Center, in Baltimore. Neubauer calls her situation "conditioned arousal," which, he says, is common. "Her sleep problems may have been initially caused by an external trigger, but over time the sleep problems become self-propagating. Eventually she became conditioned to become anxious about her sleep."

Neubauer goes on to recommend cognitive behavioural therapy, which can help discover and eliminate the behaviours that perpetuate the insomnia. But what we found most interesting is that when faced with a problem (and not just sleep), our response is often to look for whatever it was that started it all, even when that thing may no longer exist. It's kind of like looking for the match that started the fire instead of putting out the fire. Sure, that match may provide information in the future, but the fire is the immediate problem.

Hit up the post at Real Simple to learn more about the common types of sleep problems and what you can do.

How to Solve 9 Sleep Problems [Real Simple]


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