Not sleeping? Feeling like you are slowly losing your mind? Tired of being so tired? Insomnia can sadly happen to just about anyone and there is no general cure that works for everyone and a new bed simply doesn’t help. Doctors are often left scratching their heads in wonder when the prescribed medication ends up falling flat in the treatment. Some patients give up treatment when it does work, while others never seek help either because previous treatment hasn’t helped or because they don’t believe the treatment will work at all. And then there is another reason why people might willingly stop treatment.
The “benefits” of not sleeping
There are some benefits to not sleeping, and these benefits could be so tempting that giving up treatment and accepting this tired state of mind might actually be something that you willingly do. It is called secondary gain and it has to do with the benefits of not looking for treatment for a health concern.
Secondary gain is not something that you will intentionally seek but it could be something that you find yourself doing anyway. Unaware that there can be damaging consequences to sleeping deprivation, those who have fallen into the trap of secondary gain have found themselves addicted to this lack of rest. Often creating the same strange satisfaction gained from being part of a dysfunctional relationship or working at a job you hate but need, a recent article in the Huffington Post highlighted the 7 reasons why a person might allow themselves to continue suffering from sleep deprivation.
- Spending more time awake means that you have more time on your hands. We live fast lives and most of our time is spent at work. Having more time at home to do those things that you never have time for is one of the biggest gains when suffering from insomnia. For this reason, people are sometimes happy to give up the hours that they should be spending asleep. More time awake can lead you to believe that you are being more productive. One of the worst things about modern living has to do with people thinking that not sleeping is some type of badge of honour. The downside is of course that there is plenty of damage that you can cause from deliberately not sleeping.
- Being permanently tired can eventually have an effect on your emotions. Lack of sleep can blunt your emotions and for some people, it will eventually become a way for them to take the edge of off modern living and all of its troubles. Being permanently sleeping can have the same effect as being inebriated.
- Sleeplessness can become the way that a person avoids responsibility. By always being tired they have an excuse for performing poorly at work or at school and they will also have an excuse for not going out and interacting with the world. It can also become the crutch that they use to explain away their failures in life or to explain away why they are not taking care of themselves.
- For those who are looking for excuses to not be intimate with family and partners, this lack of sleep gives them an excuse. They can say that they are always too tired to do anything with their loved ones or they could say that they need to catch up on sleep. Should you leave your insomnia untreated it can cause plenty of damage to your relationships. The opposite side of this is that a person might get plenty of sympathy from their loved ones.
- A constant lack of sleep can create a dependency problem. Some might turn to drugs and alcohol as a way to help them relax and fall asleep. This dependency issue can lead to many other problems later on. Research has revealed that those who started suffering from insomnia early on in life have ended up turning to alcohol in their teens to manage their lack of sleep.
- While sleeping medication can help break the cycle of insomnia, there is an issue when the person becomes addicted to the medication and cannot sleep without it. This actually contributes to a person’s continued tiredness.
- Finally, the last, and probably most overlooked, part of willingly not sleeping is that dreams will be avoided. Dreams can stir up emotions and there are those who suffer from extreme night terrors. Insomnia usually disturbs REM sleep, waking a person before they begin dreaming.
It is best to confront secondary gain as it is often something that is done subconsciously. If you think that secondary gain is affecting you, it is time to confront your emotions and the symptoms head on. Try to identify why you are trying to not sleep and if need be, you should consult a medical professional.
You might find that the only way you can conquer the secondary gain will be to change aspects of your life. By living a waking life that is healthier and happier, you might just find your secondary gain disappearing.