The following assignment was an application paper that I wrote for my Psychology 101 class. The goal of this assignment was to pick a topic we had discussed in class and then discuss how that topic applied to our own life. My paper was entitled “The Psychological and Physical Effects of Insomnia” and discussed the issues I have faced in my life related to insomnia. This assignment met the goals of “Understand and adapt to rhetorical and contextual differences in tasks involving read, write, speak, listen” and the goal of “incorporating and documenting source material appropriately.”
The Psychological and Physical Effects of Insomnia
Sleep is an essential biological function for both survival and for the mental well being of humans. Sleep is “one of the human body’s biological rhythms, that is, natural cycles of activity the body must go through,” (Ciccarelli & White, 2010, 199). This is why when a person’s sleep cycle is disrupted it can have serious implication on their health and on their daily life. A serious issue that can occur regarding sleep is the development of insomnia. Insomnia is defined in Psychology: An Exploration as “the inability to get to sleep, stay asleep, or get a good quality of sleep” (Ciccarelli & White, 2010, 205); this lack of quality sleep can have serious future implications. As someone who has dealt with the problems associated with insomnia, I can attest to the various problems it can cause both mentally and physically.
This section illustrates my adaptation to the “rhetorical and contextual differences” that come with writing a paper for a science, like psychology. I used an APA citation style, as opposed to MLA, and was more scientific in my approach to writing the paper. I used the academic sources provided to me to offer a strong basis for the facts regarding insomnia that I was stating.
I first started experiencing the symptoms associated with insomnia my junior year of high school. I would lay in bed at night for hours on end simply unable to fall asleep; it wasn’t that I was not trying to sleep; it was that I simply could not. I would toss and turn, and then when I finally did manage to fall asleep I would awake at the slightest noise. This lack of sleep began to affect me both physically and mentally; it had serious implications on my quality of life. I began to have problems concentrating and staying awake at school, which led to more difficulty completing my schoolwork. The sleeplessness also led to problems at my job, which I went to after school most days. I was more easily frustrated and began to have disagreements with my coworkers that were not present before. Eventually, I knew I could not continue like this; I knew I needed to seek help for my insomnia.
The first step I took was discussing my issue with my mom, who revealed to me that she too suffered from issues related to insomnia. We then went to my pediatrician and discussed the problems I was having related to my insomnia. Insomnia can be caused by many factors, according to Psychology: An Exploration. The book details this saying,
“There are many causes of insomnia, both psychological and physiological. Some of the psychological causes are worrying, trying too hard to sleep, or having anxiety. Some of the physiological causes are to much caffeine, indigestion, or aches and pains,” (Ciccarelli & White, 2010, 205).
This demonstrates my use of “incorporating and documenting source material appropriately.” Here I have used a reliable academic source, my textbook, to provide background information for the topic I am discussing. I have cited it correctly using APA formatting as appropriate for the discipline of psychology.
As someone who had been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder the year prior my doctor was quick to connect my insomnia to my ever-present anxiety. Also, as someone who tends to be a bit of a perfectionist, I was really creating the perfect storm of stress and anxiety to prevent myself from falling asleep and then sleeping soundly. My doctor recommended using deep breathing exercises and making sure to give myself time to relax before attempting to sleep. I also began to see a psychiatrist to help me deal with my own internal issues that could be causing my insomnia. We discussed how my anxiety disorder could be causing me to overthink the day’s events, thus stressing me out and causing me to have insomnia. The psychiatrist suggested taking my anxiety medication before going to bed as opposed to the morning to help combat some of this anxiety.
My experiences with insomnia and its effects on my life have greatly changed my outlook on life. Learning more about the causes and effects of insomnia in class also enabled me to better understand my experiences with insomnia. It led me to understand some causes of my insomnia that I may not have attributed to causing it before. Overall, this experience taught me many things about the need to stay healthy, both physically and mentally.
Ciccarelli, S., & White, J. N. (2011). Psychology:An Exploration. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson.