I just heard on a podcast someone say “insomnia is a curse of the intelligent” as part of a discussion about IQ, intelligence, and life success. The speaker thought he was quite intelligent, and said that insomnia was reported by a lot of very intelligent people.
As someone who has been through more than one round of drug addiction, both before AND after dealing with sleeplessness and insomnia, I can report that is not a very helpful comment.
Sleeplessness effects many of us, for many different reasons. I doubt very much the incidence of insomnia is correlated with intelligence, although it may be true that people who report insomnia and seek treatment for it, have a higher than average intelligence.
That is what they call “bias” in scientific work – the skew of a sample population (people seeking treatment are of higher intelligence, on average, than people suffering without seeking help). That fact leads to a bias in the analysis… it may look like insomnia (or sleeplessness) is correlated with intelligence simply because the data are biased due to that “sampling error”.
Anyway… as some 2 years into recovery from addiction disorder that included a drug addiction involving prescription drugs I used to help me sleep, I can report that some insomnia can be cured.
Here I offer a shout out to the great counselors at The Counseling Center where I was re-trained after I got help with my drug addiction. Of the many types of therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy was the most helpful (there are several kinds of CBT btw – ask your therapist).
In the detox center I was taken off of several drugs (like Xanax) that had helped me sleep. My addiction (to opiates) helped me cope with my days, but wrecked my sleep. The addiction lifestyle is enough to keep you awake 24×7, let alone the drugs and alcohol and lack of nutrition and no exercise ever.
I learned seeral techniques to overcome my anxieties, in addition to ongoing medical help. Insomnia may be a difficult condition, and very hard to treat in some cases, but it is also a consequence of other actions and activities (in some cases) which may be addressed with therapy, as mine has been.
I still love my lavender sleep drops! But I don’t need them to sleep. I believe I sleep better with them as part of my sleep ritual, and I do enjoy them. I don’t believe insomnia is an affliction of the “intelligent”, though. In fact, while in the intensive outpatient program at The Counseling Center in Clark, NJ I learned that it may be true that, on average, highly intelligent people AVOID accepting help from therapists and therapy programs! That right there is another bias that skews the data!