Trouble sleeping? You’re not alone. The best science on how to beat insomnia

Insomnia can also occur with depression, anxiety, chronic pain, congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, an over-active thyroid or other medical problems.  Photo: Pexels

(Sharon Kirkey/ National Post) — It’s hard for the human central nervous system to settle down for a decent night’s sleep.

Humans have been hardwired through evolution to “easily override” sleep, says Queen’s University clinical psychologist and sleep researcher Judith Davidson. The threat of nocturnal predators, of having to escape at night and take our families with us, meant sleeping with one eye open.

For modern humans, it doesn’t take the threat of physical danger to interfere with sleep. Any emotional arousal will do it, Davidson said. Worries over work, school, money, children. Worrying about not sleeping. “All of us have sleepless nights under those conditions.”

But, with chronic insomnia, the most prevalent of all sleep disorders, that poor sleep goes on and on, night after night, for months, years, sometimes decades. (…)