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Overrated 'Advice' I've Heard About My Insomnia

I’m pretty sure I’ve heard it all when it comes to living with insomnia. It seems that genuinely, people who are choosing to weigh into the conversation have good intentions and hope that they can provide some helpful suggestions.

Unfortunately, the truth is that managing insomnia is like going out to eat at a buffet – certain things may appeal to (or help) one individual but may render completely worthless for another.

Below I’ve compiled some of the more overrated “advice” I’ve received with regards to my sleep disorder. I’m hopeful that some of this will make you laugh and that it might even give you an idea of how to respond to those “interested” parties in your own life.

Try not to worry about it!

Cool. Thanks! I’d love to not worry about how gosh darn exhausted I am. Yes, I am super aware that insomnia is impacted by several things, including external factors like caffeine intake, sleep environment, and hygiene, and internal things – like stress, anxiety, and depression.

Here’s the thing – did my insomnia cause my stress, or did my stress cause my insomnia? We’ll never know. So, for now, rest assured I’m in therapy, I have anxiety medication and a whole toolbox of other options as well. Unfortunately, none of those things have solved my challenges with insomnia.

Can’t you just take a nap?

Well, friend, in a perfect world, that would be an awesome suggestion. Here are the problems:

  • Many people, including myself, have a regular workday that prevents such a thing.
  • Even when I’m beyond exhausted, I’m not always able to fall asleep during the day.
  • If I have the ability to nap, and I fall asleep, it’s about a 50/50 chance of waking up feeling more or less rested than when I laid down.

In other words, this is an unlikely gamble and definitely not a solution to my sleep disorder.

I bet you are sleeping more than you think you are.

Really? You’re a sleep expert now? Do you sneak in my house at night and watch me? When I am unconscious, can you tell if I’m actually in REM sleep or if I’m just in a light doze? What about the way I wake up feeling in the morning? Doesn’t that usually provide a pretty good indication for what type of rest I got during the night?

Why don't you use sleeping pills?

I have tried. And tried. And tried again. There are several different medication options for those of us who live with insomnia, but even if medication does work, often the side effects are too hard to manage. Or the challenge of dependency is too great.

Sometimes, I am able to use sleeping pills for a reset – I can take them for a week or two to get my sleep back on track or in a better place, but then weaning off of them proves difficult and sometimes creates new problems. Trust me, if sleeping pills were a stellar answer, this whole community would be celebrating!

What's the most overrated piece of advice you've received about living with insomnia, and how did you respond?

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