Summary of “Can’t sleep? Tell yourself it’s not a big deal”

Note to publishers: in my view, there’s an unfilled gap in the “Wellness” market for a book on how sleep isn’t really that important.
In contrast to the message relentlessly promoted by lifestyle gurus these days, this book would argue that four hours a night is probably fine, that caffeine before bed is no big deal, and that even severe sleep deprivation poses no real risk of poor performance, health troubles or early death.
Actually, the ironies of insomnia are even worse than that, because there’s growing evidence that thinking of yourself as an insomniac – having an “Insomnia identity”, in the coinage of the sleep researcher Kenneth Lichstein – is a major part of the problem.
It’s not just that such a self-image makes it harder to sleep, though doubtless that’s the case.
In a review of the research published last year, Lichstein concluded that “Non-complaining poor sleepers” – who sleep badly but don’t define themselves as insomniacs – don’t suffer the high blood pressure commonly associated with severe sleeplessness.
“Complaining good sleepers” – who get enough shut-eye, but are heavily invested in their alleged insomnia – were essentially as tired, anxious and depressed as those who genuinely didn’t sleep.
Drag your weary bones to the doctor and she may be willing to prescribe sleeping pills.
The root of the problem, as Sasha Stephens explains in her book The Effortless Sleep Method, is that any external crutch on which you lean – not just pills, but herbal remedies and elaborate bedtime rituals, too – risks further eroding your trust in your ability to fall asleep on your own, and it’s that lack of self-trust that is insomnia’s main cause.

The orginal article.