Myth: Insomnia causes depression and anxiety (or visa versa).
False: While it’s true that many depressed or anxious individuals also have trouble sleeping and develop insomnia, it does not mean one causes the other. Anxiety and depression can certainly be one of many contributing factors to poor sleep, but that’s not the same as causing it. In fact, many people with depression have hypersomnia (sleeping too much). And others with anxiety or depression sleep just fine.
However, insomnia can affect your mood and energy. It can make you feel irritable, frustrated, anxious, sad and less motivated. Physically, it leads to fatigue, stress and muscle tension. While you can still function, these feelings decrease your happiness and enjoyment of life. But this alone won’t cause clinical depression or anxiety.
Myth: If you feel tired in the morning it’s because you didn’t sleep enough.
This is not necessarily true. Outside of the number of hours you sleep, there are several factors that can contribute to feeling tired even after many hours of sleep. These include poor quality sleep, too much sleep, stress, diet and alcohol, and others.
Myth: Your daytime functioning is dependent solely on how you sleep.
False: In conjunction with myth #3, some people make the mistake of attributing how they feel during the day solely to insomnia. But factors such as general physical health, medical or psychological issues, alcohol, drugs, diet, medication, and how we think all affect daytime functioning and mood.
If you experience insomnia and feel tired, fatigued, depressed, anxious, or otherwise poor during the day, it’s important to look at other factors that may be causing these symptoms. This might require seeing your medical doctor or a mental health professional for an assessment to rule out any other problems affecting your sleep.
Myth: How you feel during the day is purely a physical issue.
False: Feeling tired, fatigued, sad or irritable after a poor night’s sleep is common. However, these feelings can be made worse or better by your expectation of how you will feel that day. Your thinking and imagination profoundly affect how you feel emotionally and physically, whether you had a poor or good night’s sleep. If you didn’t sleep well, and you expect to feel terrible as a result, there is a good chance of having that experience.
If, however, you learn to have a positive (and reasonable) expectation of how you will feel, even after a poor night’s sleep, you will likely feel much better that day.