I constantly complained about not being able to fall asleep...but I never stopped to ask myself why I was struggling with this in the first place. I had insomnia for over a decade and this was one question I simply never paused to ponder until I'd already been dealing with it for 10 years.
Kudos to you for asking this question, because getting to the root cause of why you have insomnia is going to help you overcome it. Once I finally stopped to think about from where my insomnia could have originated, my sleep struggles made a lot more sense. I was then able to look at insomnia from a different perspective which absolutely played a huge role in helping me get rid of insomnia for the long-term.
There are a few ways we can go about figuring out what’s keeping you up night after night, and the best way for me to explain this is to start at the beginning: when insomnia first developed.
Before you can get to the bottom of why you have insomnia, you need to have a basic understanding of a few concepts regarding how the brain works -- Stick with me, I’ll explain this as concisely as I can!
You used to be able to fall asleep, right? At some point in your life, sleep was no big deal. It was just something that happened naturally when you were tired. At the very least, it’s safe to assume that when you were a baby you slept all the time without even thinking about it.
If this is true for you, then it’s also evidence that your brain knows how to fall asleep. Your brain knows what’s it’s supposed to do to allow you to fall asleep at night.
So what changed that? Because right now, sleep isn’t the automatic response your brain is going into every night: insomnia is!
Something caused insomnia to be your new evening ritual. This is the reason why most insomniacs have insomnia: You either stayed awake or were alert enough times at night, to the point that your brain developed insomnia as a new habit.
Once a behavior is performed enough times, your brain forms the neural pathway for that behavior and begins to fire off that neural pathway on autopilot, like clockwork.
Your brain has now identified insomnia as an automatic response it’s supposed to go into every night, and that’s because insomnia has become a habit for you.
The good news is, insomnia is a habit that you do have the power to break! With the right tools and strategy, insomnia can be reversed and falling asleep easily can become your new nightly habit.
So why do you have insomnia? It might take some self-reflection and looking back on certain times in your life to be able to pinpoint the likely culprit. Taking the time to reflect upon how insomnia emerged should provide you with much more clarity than before.
Step #1: Reflect back as far as you can in your life. Do you remember when your insomnia first began? Write down the timeframe for when you remember you first had trouble falling asleep.
I’d love to know your thoughts once completing this exercise! Leave me a comment if you had any “ah-ha!” moments. When I did this for myself, the reason I had trouble sleeping suddenly seemed so obvious!
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So now...go through these 3 steps for yourself and let me know what discoveries you had.
It always amazes me hearing what was the genesis of insomnia for so many. I hope that getting to the bottom of the root cause will help you move forward to focus on getting rid of insomnia once and for all. I know you can do it!