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End the Insomnia Struggle
A Step-by-Step Guide to Help You Get to Sleep and Stay Asleep
- Read in 12 minutes
- Audio & text available
- Contains 7 key ideas
End the Insomnia Struggle (2016) is a guide to getting a good night’s sleep. These blinks are full of practical advice on how to handle sleeplessness. They explain, among other things, how to track your sleep problems, understand the science of insomnia and apply a variety of strategies that’ll help you get the rest you need.
Key idea 1 of 7
Maintaining healthy sleep patterns is a team effort between two distinct biological processes.
Insomnia is a complex topic, so before we set off on a journey to understand it, let’s take a closer look at the biological processes that regulate sleep. One of the key forces in this regard is known as the sleep drive, which regulates our sleeping and waking hours.
The sleep drive is essential in sending the body to sleep when necessary, making it crucial to our very survival. Simply put, it increases with every minute we spend awake, eventually becoming so strong that it tells us to get some shut-eye.
Another key sleep-regulating biological process is the internal body clock. This biological timer helps maintain a cyclical rhythm based on night and day, which regulates our sleep.
It accomplishes this incredible feat by adjusting the temperature of the body, impacting the nervous system and producing the sleep-related hormones cortisol and melatonin. In doing so, it’s supported by external forces like sunrise and sunset.
Back in the 1960s, German scientist Rütger Wever demonstrated how the internal body clock works by isolating study participants in a windowless basement. At a certain point, their internal body clocks fell out of sync, showing that humans rely on their environment to maintain their natural sleep rhythms.
So, the sleep drive and the internal body clock are both essential, but to function properly these two mechanisms need to work in close collaboration; if one falls out of sync, it’ll easily wreak havoc on the other.
If your internal body clock gets thrown off, maybe from working in a windowless office, it’s only a matter of time before your sleep drive starts to suffer as well. After all, it won’t receive the proper environmental cues it needs to produce a rhythmic craving for sleep.
It’s a lot to take in, but now that we’ve got those basic facts down, we’re all set to take a closer look at insomnia – and, more specifically, how to overcome it.