5 Symptoms of Insomnia

by Nancy

Insomnia is defined as the consistent inability to sleep. It’s pretty common to experience acute insomnia, due to stressful days, being ill, or an abnormal disruption of a normal sleep routine. Chronic insomnia however occurs over a longer period of time, occurs at least three times a week, and can be linked to several different causes. Some of these causes include depression, chronic stress, anxiety, and forms of extreme pain or general discomfort during the night.

If you’re wondering how you can tell if you have insomnia, there are many signs and symptoms of insomnia. For all those who experience these symptoms more than four weeks, they should become apparent and easy to spot, especially if they interfere with a person’s ability to function. The symptoms below are what you should look out for when trying to figure out if you or someone you know is struggling with insomnia. 

1. Sleeping Difficulty

Trouble sleeping can occur occasionally or often and not be related to chronic insomnia, or it can be the first symptom that leads to a more serious sleep disorder like insomnia. The usual reasons for someone having trouble sleeping is stress from work, changes in normal routine, or other disruptions in daily activities. 

Sometimes, even too much stimulation such as watching television for a long time before bed, or looking at your cell phone too long can cause problems falling asleep at night. Also, excitement, anticipation, or anxiety can also cause someone to have trouble sleeping. These can be fixed by changing your routine, and making sure you spend time away from screens before bed and introducing lighter stimulation such as soft radio music, white noise, or reading a book.

2. Daytime Fatigue

Most people experience some sort of tiredness during the day. Whether it’s because of a late night out the previous night, jetlag, or other activities, it’s incredibly common to experience tiredness during the day sometimes. However, people struggling with insomnia will experience excessive fatigue that can cause them to fall asleep during normal activities such as reading, sitting in a meeting at work, or even driving in some cases. If you’re not sure if this fatigue affects you, you could try self-evaluating with the Epworth Sleep Scale and see if it recommends you see a doctor about your sleepiness.

3. Lack of Concentration

Lack of concentration is determined as the inability to focus one’s mind on one single subject for more than just a short amount of time. You could find that you may try to think about one thing and then end up straying from that and moving to a completely different thing. Having a lack of concentration can cause someone severe problems in not completing work or school assignments, and can also affect personal relationships. Many people report that they cannot finish tasks that they started, or can’t even get started in the first place.

4. Slowness in Activity

Someone who is affected by insomnia may notice that they are working at a slower pace than normal or a general slowness in regular activities. This is because your brain cells when affected by insomnia will work at a slower pace than normal, which causes your physical movements to happen at a much slower pace. Lack of sleep can also slow your nerve cells’ ability for processing information and translating visual cues into thought.

5. Depression

Depression has been said to either trigger insomnia, or be an after-effect of insomnia. They seem to go hand-in-hand. Signs and symptoms of depression can include a multitude of different things, but mainly a lack of interest in social activities or activities normally enjoyed, lethargy, and a declining state of physical health. The physical signs of depression should be relatively easy to spot for close friends or family members. The common signs include changes in appetite, irregular sleeping habits, and extreme irritability.