10 Unexpected Symptoms of Insomnia

There is plenty of misinformation about how much sleep adults need to get in order to be well rested in the morning. According to the CDC, adults need an average of 7 or more hours of sleep per night in order to be well rested. Unfortunately, the CDC also reports that many US adults do not get the sleep they need. Insomnia is a condition marked by trouble falling and staying asleep for those vital 7 hours. 

What are the Symptoms of Insomnia?

You can probably guess a few of the key symptoms of insomnia, but there are some other symptoms that will definitely surprise you. This condition can have serious impacts on your health and affect the body in unexpected ways… 

10. Worrying About Your Sleep

Excessively worrying about your sleep and sleep habits is one symptom of insomnia that isn’t often discussed. While having some concern about your sleep patterns is a normal part of life, worrying about your sleep too much can be a sign you have insomnia. 

Why Does Insomnia Cause this Symptom?

Insomnia can disrupt our sleep in ways that are surprisingly hard to detect. We can mistake insomnia for other causes as well as write off a chronic condition as just having a poor night’s sleep. Consistently worrying about your sleep habits, though, is a sign that there is something more going on. 

Insomnia’s effects on our mental status goes deeper than just worrying about sleep, however… 

9. Cognitive Problems

If you’ve ever felt groggy after a poor night’s sleep, then you have experienced sleep deprivation-related cognitive problems. People with insomnia can face this problem on a regular basis. 

Why Does Insomnia Cause this Symptom?

Sleep is vital for our mental functions. Our minds rely on regular sleep in order to function properly. When our sleep cycles become upset, our mental abilities can consequently fall behind. In other words, poor sleep contributes to lower concentration and alertness. This can impact daily activities like work, conversations, and even driving. 

Insomnia can even disrupt our ability to form and recall memories… 

8. Memory Issues

One of the most troubling symptoms of insomnia? Memory loss. This involves both having difficulty informing new memories as well as trouble recalling older information. Sleep is vital to how our brains process and store memories. So, when our sleep becomes disrupted, our memories can deteriorate. 

Why Does Insomnia Cause this Symptom?

Each night when we fall asleep, our brains get to work processing and storing memories from the day. You see, sleep is when the brain consolidates memories. In other words, when we are asleep, our brains are making memories “stick,” so that we can recall them later. When sleep cycles get disrupted, the brain has a harder time forming these long-term memories. 

One related symptom of insomnia is an inability to focus on tasks during the day… 

7. Trouble Focusing

Insomnia can make it hard to focus on tasks. Our ability to use critical thinking, handle complex concepts, and work through things in a step-by-step fashion is restored each night when we sleep. Disrupting sleep can therefore weaken our ability to focus. 

Why Does Insomnia Cause this Symptom?

Insomnia disrupts our sleep. While we are sleeping, our brains are taking the time that they need to refresh their ability to function. When a person is sleep deprived, they can therefore start to lose the ability to focus on tasks. This event can also create impairments in judgement, and the ability to use logical reasoning. 

Insomnia can have an impact on our emotional lives as well as our cognitive abilities… 

6. Irritability

We’ve all had sleepless nights that lead to irritable mornings, but for people with insomnia this can be a chronic problem. This irritability is more than just a bad mood after bad sleep, it’s a symptom of a serious and chronic illness. 

Why Does Insomnia Cause this Symptom?

There is still a lot about sleep that researchers don’t understand. One thing we know for sure, though, is that sleep is vital to helping keep our emotions levelled. People with insomnia are often irritable because they have not gotten the rest that their bodies need. This can also be related to other symptoms, including irritability rising from impaired cognitive abilities and memory loss. 

People who live with insomnia are often more tired than they should be during the day… 

5. Being Abnormally Tired During the Day

If you are working hard, under the weather, or hitting the gym, it’s perfectly normal to be tired during the day. However, people with insomnia can be tired during the day even if they aren’t very active or otherwise taxed. 

Why Does Insomnia Cause this Symptom?

This symptom splits into two causes. The first is the obvious one: insomnia involves waking from sleep and struggling to fall asleep. These disruptions can make people more tired during the day than they should be. The second is that people can have insomnia without knowing it. If you’ve been feeling more tired than you think is reasonable, you could have insomnia. 

Even if a person with insomnia is getting sleep, they might not feel rested… 

4. Not Feeling Rested 

People with insomnia often feel like they aren’t getting the rest that they need. This can be the case even if they are sleeping during the night. Insomnia is more than just sleepless nights: it can also be sleep that doesn’t last throughout the night or poor-quality sleep even if someone slept throughout the night. 

Why Does Insomnia Cause this Symptom?

Insomnia disrupts our normal sleep habits. This can lead to feeling like you haven’t gotten the rest that you need. Even if people with insomnia feel like they have gotten a full night’s sleep, they still might feel like they haven’t gotten rest. This is because they might be waking up several times throughout the night which breaks the sleep cycle. 

Insomnia is classically thought of as not being able to fall asleep, but it is also waking up too early… 

3. Consistently Waking Up Too Early

Some of us are morning people who wake up with the sun every day, but for people with insomnia, waking up too early is a serious concern. Insomnia is a complex condition that is more than just not being able to fall asleep.

Why Does Insomnia Cause this Symptom?

Insomnia prevents people from getting the sleep that they need. This can be waking up too early just as easily as it can be not being able to fall asleep. When people with insomnia can wake up too early every night, it can lead to many of the other symptoms of this condition. 

Similar to waking up too early is waking up in the middle of the night… 

2. Waking in the Middle of the Night

Insomnia disrupts sleep from every angle, which also includes waking up in the middle of the night.

Why Does Insomnia Cause this Symptom?

Insomnia disrupts normal sleep patterns; how this manifests changes from individual to individual. Some people, for example, experience this as waking up in the middle of the night. It’s important to note that insomnia can change over the course of a person’s life, which means that one’s symptoms can change as they get older. 

The classic sign of insomnia is, of course, being unable to fall asleep… 

1. Difficulty Falling Asleep

Everyone will experience difficulty falling asleep at some point in their lives. For people living with insomnia, though, this becomes a chronic condition. The classic symptom of insomnia is experiencing difficulty falling asleep. 

Why Does Insomnia Cause this Symptom?

People who live with insomnia can experience a lot of difficulty falling asleep at night. The reason? There can be any number of them. Namely, insomnia can be caused by a variety of underlying conditions, including health problems and anxiety. These conditions often make easing into a gentle sleep difficult if not impossible. 

Being able to identify the symptoms of insomnia is vital for distinguishing between this condition and a bad night’s sleep. 

Final Thoughts 

There are many symptoms for insomnia ranging from the classic disruptions in sleep all the way to memory loss. If you have been experiencing multiples of these symptoms, especially over a long period of time, you might have insomnia. Your doctor can help you rule out other causes and help to identify the underlying problems that are creating your insomnia. 


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