NOTE: Secondary insomnia means your sleepless nights are a result of some other health condition.
So you’re staying awake most of the night, and you know it’s insomnia… add to the mix the fact that you are suffering from a physical problem, such as pain, allergies, or heartburn. You know that your health issues are causing discomfort that prevents peaceful sleep.
Yet, in the past you have been able to sleep OK despite some of these problems occurring in the past. So they are not completely to blame. Perhaps they are worse now, though, and you’re wondering what’s causing what… is your insomnia making your health problems worse or is it the reverse–your body discomforts are causing you sleepless nights?
In other words, do you have primary or secondary insomnia? Where does the real problem lie?
The answer could be… yes. Meaning, you have both.
It could be…
Primary insomnia is making you stay awake.
Physical discomfort is making it worse.
And then the vicious cycle takes off and leaves you in misery.
Or it could be…
Secondary insomnia is preventing you from falling asleep.
Then you stress out over how little sleep you’re getting, which is a classic symptom of primary insomnia.
And again, the vicious cycle piles on the frustration.
Since this site is mainly about sleep, your goal here is to find out how to get yourself some rest rather than cure all your physical and health problems. Whether you have primary or secondary insomnia, you need sleep, and my goal is to help you get there.
But here is the interesting part of getting over your insomnia.
The same techniques used to cure insomnia can also help you feel better in general. That’s because many of the techniques I recommend are based on stress-relief techniques. These include relaxation techniques, deep breathing exercises, and most of all, cognitive-behavioral self-therapy and what I call “letting-go” techniques. All of these are helpful for physical as well as mental symptoms of stress.
If your health problems are seriously interfering with getting proper rest, and you feel that if only you did not this headache or backache or sinus congestion or heartburn, everything would be fine, then it would certainly be wise to seek out remedies and treatments for those problems.
You may find that you have a classic example of secondary insomnia and everything is resolved once you resolve the physical symptoms.
But the fact that you are reading this makes me assume that you have your doubts. And whatever you believe, you are probably right. If you think a combination of primary and secondary insomnia are causing your wakefulness, then it’s time to get proactive and work on your treatment program.
If you have physical symptoms keeping you up at night, plus insomnia – then you might want to pay special attention to physical relaxation techniques and natural treatments for both your insomnia and your overall health.
It is especially important to understand that what role stress is playing in your health problems as well as your sleepless nights.
The Mind-Body Perspective
There is a lot of evidence to support the idea of a mind-body perspective. Our mind has great influence over our physical state of being. I personally have discovered that my mind can make a multitude of physical symptoms get better or even vanish altogether. I have learned how to make headaches go away. I have stopped acute stomach cramps and pain in less than an hour. I have been able to lesson the painful symptoms of a cold and also, I believe, shorten its duration.
Of course it’s not magic. I have not yet been able to stop my allergy symptoms, but I’m working on it right now using a combination of mental techniques and dietary changes… and I have a few other mild health issues that stubbornly persist. However, when I make a real effort to apply mind-body techniques, they do seem to get better.
This is why I believe primary and secondary insomnia are often mixed together, but both can be healed through the right treatment. Not knowing your personal and unique situation, I can’t tell you what the right treatment is, but you can certainly start with all the suggestions on this site.
Your best treatment for secondary insomnia is most likely is a combination of techniques applied with diligent effort and patience. And it may also mean visiting a good health practitioner, whether medical or alternative, who can offer support and guidance.
And remember, sleep and stress relief are very good friends!