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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How long does insomnia last?

    I have had insomnia after breaking up with my girlfriend 4 months ago - how long will it last?
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    Thanks

    Dr Moira Junge

    Health Psychologist, Psychologist

    A health psychologist, specialising in treating sleep disorders without medication, and is passionate about promoting sleep health through research, education and advocacy. Moira has a … View Profile

    Unfortunately, there is no definite answer to how long your insomnia may last.  It has seemingly been caused by an increase in your stress levels, in that your emotional and somatic tension may have increased with your grief and the loss of the relationship.  The sleep should improve once the stress has settled. You may feel that the stress/shock is settling but the insomnia remains, and we see that happening when people become worried about the possibility of not sleeping.  It's possible to become conditioned to not sleeping well, and this expectation or concern about not sleeping seems to now be the cause of being alert or ‘on guard’ at night rather than the original trigger.  To improve your sleep, try to only be in bed for sleeping.  This may mean staying up later and waiting until you're naturally sleepy.  It's very important to only be in bed for sleeping, not worrying or tossing and turning, or ‘trying’ to sleep. Please consult a sleep specialist if you have concerns as it's important to not let this issue continue for more months or years as it can do without expert advice.

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