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- June 11, 2019 at 11:43 am #30058
I’m one of those people who has always thought that my insomnia was so random (no stress triggers), that there must be other factor(s) at work.
Naturally, as I have battled my insomnia (which for me can mean up to 8 or 9 “nil sleep nights” in a month at its worst), I have developed lots of coping behaviours – I do all the right Stimulus Control, Sleep Restriction and a lot of mindfulness.
Sometimes the insomnia episodes go away for a period of a few months. Then, they may come back again – and I may get a series of nil sleep nights, causing frustration for me and feelings of anxiety the next day.
There seems to be no pattern at all.
So, one day when doing some google searching, I came across some reliable medial research which suggests that for people with the sort of hard to treat insomnia I have, that a shortage of a neurotransmitters called GABA may be responsible.
I have posted below two links to the research, which was widely reported a few years ago.
In some ways, the existence of this possibility makes me feel a bit better – suggesting the fault is inside me – and there is probably a limited amount I can do on my own. Please do have a read.June 11, 2019 at 9:04 pm #30059
Sorry, here are the links…Lots more on line tooJune 14, 2019 at 5:56 pm #30121
Martin Reed★ Admin
You mention that you don’t think stress is an issue for you — would you say the same for a racing mind? As pointed out in the articles you mentioned (which, it should be highlighted, are more than ten years old), low levels of GABA were associated with sleep disruption due to a racing mind or hyperarousal.
Although this is an interesting area of research, there is far more evidence to support the use of CBT as a way of tackling hyperarousal associated with insomnia.June 14, 2019 at 7:52 pm #30135
Hi Martin – and thanks for the comments
I don’t really think stress is an issue for me, very much. Nor an overactive / racing mind.June 14, 2019 at 10:36 pm #30136
Martin Reed★ Admin
In that case, I think you can dismiss the idea that GABA levels are to blame for your insomnia.
There are only three drivers of chronic insomnia:
1. Sleep drive disruption (for example, going to bed before sufficiently sleepy)
2. Body clock disruption (for example, getting out of bed at a different time every day)
3. Anxiety or arousal
Are you able to identify with any of the above three drivers?June 15, 2019 at 8:20 am #30141
Thanks Martin, but I cannot identify with those.
I only go to bed when sleepy enough.
I limit my sleep to no more than 6 hours and always get up at about the same time.
I’m not especially anxious, have no real worries. I’m often surprised that my insomnia is worse when I have absolutely no worries at all.
Great site this, by the way. But I’m always amazed by people who “only” get 5 hours a night on a regular basis, but are convinced they have a problem, (I guess if they think they have, then they have and one cannot dismiss their experience)…whereas there is another poster who cannot sleep for days on end….Such different experiences, it is fascinating!