Here's Why You Stop Feeling Tired As Soon As You Get Into Bed

Illustration: Anna Sudit
Riddle me this – why, at the end of a long day, when you can't keep your eyes open on the sofa for a second longer, do you get into bed only to find that you're wide awake? It's one of the most irritating tricks our body plays on us. Why, when you need sleep, crave sleep, does it evade you?
Well, there might be an answer. According to sleep medicine specialist, Philip Gehrman, who spoke to Time magazine about this recently, it may be because you're associating negative feelings with your bed. "If someone is a good sleeper, then each night they probably get in bed and fall asleep," he says, adding that this probably triggers an auto-response of sleepiness.
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"But if you spend night after night tossing and turning not being able to fall asleep, then your body associates that with your bed instead."
In short, if you bring the worries of the day to your lovely comfy bed, it goes from being a place of relaxation to a place of anxiety and restlessness.
The condition has been called "psychophysiological insomnia" (try saying that after a few drinks) and has been defined by Gehrman as a form of insomnia that is "conceptualised as being perpetuated by both psychological and physiological factors".
The way to counteract this? Well, it's necessary, says Gerhman in his initial report, to "restrict the behaviours that occur in the bedroom to sleep and sex, limit the amount of time patients spend awake in bed or in the bedroom, and promote counterconditioning by ensuring that the bed and bedroom environment are tightly coupled with sleepiness and sleep."
In essence, it's about using common sense and retraining your brain. Make sure that the only things you do in your bed are sleep and sex, and make doubly sure that things like laptops, phones and conversations about stressful things like work, friends and relationships are confined to other rooms.
If this doesn't prove to be successful, Gehrman recommends Cognitive Behavioural Therapy especially for insomnia: CBT-I. Find out more about CBT and how to go about it here.
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