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What Are the Most Common Effects of Insomnia?

In some cases, the effects of insomnia can be really hazardous to a person's health. Insomnia is the inability to achieve good quality sleep. It is often regarded as a symptom accompanying another disorder, but it should really be described as a disorder itself.

Insomnia is defined as being a response to one of two things. Either a sufferer finds it next to impossible to fall asleep, or if they can, they then find it difficult to stay asleep long enough to allow the body to complete all 5 stages of the sleep cycle. 

Insomnia can be broken down into three main types:

  • Transient insomnia – The condition usually lasts between a few days and a week;
  • Acute insomnia – The effects and symptoms can last for a few weeks at any one time;
  • Chronic insomnia – This long term type can often last for months or years.

The causes of insomnia have not been conclusively medically proven but sleep studies have shown there are a number of factors that can be linked to all three types of insomnia. In many cases one factor can often be the trigger or catalyst for another one. Listed below are four of the most well-known factors but many more can be attributed to insomnia.

Stress: People not only deal with levels of stress in different ways but the causes of their stress may vary enormously from person to person. Everyday stress may be caused by things like work, money, family and illness. One common point about stress is that it can be extremely damaging to one’s mental and physical health. 

effects of insomniaDepression: This is thought to be caused primarily by a chemical imbalance within the brain. However, tests show that serious events which happen during a person’s life can trigger depression or other types of mental illness. Sufferers of long term or chronic depression will more often than not show signs that can be recognized by the people closest to them. Some of these signs include weight changes, helplessness, lack of energy, self loathing, mood swings and a lack of social interaction.

Illness/injury: Many illnesses or injuries can have a detrimental effect on our ability to achieve quality sleep that our body and mind requires for general well-being. The symptoms and pain caused by illness or injury is usually the main reason for our sleep patterns to become affected.  

Medication: Depending on what medication you are taking for what type of illness or injury, the effects can differ greatly. Some medication can cause terrible side effects, which can include vomiting, dizziness, hot or cold flashes, bowel movements, sweating and nausea to name a few. All of these side effects can be medically linked with disruption of the body's sleeping pattern and can be a direct or indirect cause of insomnia.

Explained below are the most common symptoms of insomnia. If you recognize these symptoms in yourself or a loved one, it is possible that insomnia could be the cause, although you might be suffering from a more serious sleep disorder. Either way, you should consider visiting a doctor or physician for the possibility of carrying out a sleep study.

Sleeping during the day: If a person has trouble getting quality sleep at night, they may be more susceptible to falling asleep during the day. People with chronic insomnia especially, can frequently doze off without meaning to or realizing that they have. 

This can be a dangerous problem in itself. Chronic sufferers may be advised that driving or operating dangerous machinery could be extremely hazardous to not only their own health but to other people around them as well. 

Concentration: A lack of sleep can cause a sufferer to find it difficult to concentrate or focus on any one task for more than a small period of time. Even the easiest everyday tasks that would seem trivial to non-sufferers can turn out to be too difficult to complete. 

This problem can cause insomniacs difficulty when trying to live a well-rounded life. Things like jobs, socializing, driving, and meaningful relationships can be hindered by this sleeping problem. Lack of coordination, due to extreme tiredness, can cause insomniacs to be prone to accidents. 

The Most Common Effects of Insomnia

Lack of energy: Sleeping for the medically recommended 8 to 10 hours per night gives the body a chance to recharge its batteries for the upcoming day.  If sleeping is not achieved, or the sleeping stages are constantly interrupted, the body does not have the chance to shut down the muscles and nervous system required to give the it the necessary energy it needs.  

effects of insomniaMuch of this energy is created by the food we consume. So when a sufferer of insomnia loses or lacks appetite, it denies the body the fuel it needs to create energy for both physical and mental activities.

Memory loss: Lack of quality sleep due to the effects of insomnia can alter short term memory. These effects could possibly be attributed to the fact that the brain is deprived of proper sleep for a period of time. 

Research shows that when a person is asleep the brain goes through a process of sorting and storing information, learned or observed throughout the day. 


If suffering from insomnia, the brain does not get the required time it needs to complete this process so some of the information that should have been catalogued and stored can be lost or forgotten.


effects of insomniaThere are quite a few known treatments such as medication for insomnia, lifestyle changes, exercise and behavior therapy, but no conclusive cure has been found yet. All of these treatments have the ability to work in individual cases but most will depend on trying to discover the cause of the problem, as insomnia is not usually the original problem but one of the side effects of often deeper rooted traumas or illnesses. 

An appointment with a sleep specialist, possibly at a sleep clinic, can often be the first step on the road to recovery and a way of getting back a decent quality of life.   

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