Insomnia is a very common condition that affects one in three of us at some point over the course of our lives. Insomnia symptoms are characterized by persistent difficulty falling asleep and/or staying asleep, or sleep of poor quality. Insomnia symptomsare typically followed by a reduced ability to function while awake. The condition is generally diagnosed after insomnia symptoms are experienced for more than one month.
Insomnia symptoms can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life. There are two types of insomnia symptoms”primary and secondary.
Primary insomnia involves insomnia symptoms not directly associated with any other health condition or problem. Secondary insomnia symptoms occur when sleep problems are the result of some other health condition (like asthma, depression, anxiety, arthritis, cancer, or heartburn), pain, prescribed medication or a substance one is using. The causality of insomnia symptoms is essential for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Because the identification of insomnia symptoms can be helpful in treating them and the underlying causes of the sleep issues, it would be useful to review the most common signs of insomnia:
General insomnia symptoms
Obviously, the most common symptom of insomnia is the inability to sleep. Insomnia symptoms are different for everybody, but usually manifest themselves in one of three forms:
- Difficulty falling asleep when going to bed
- Awakening during the night
- Awakening earlier than desired
The next set of insomnia symptoms relate to the effects that typically occur the day after a night of poor or restless sleep:
- Daytime Sleepiness. An obvious after-effect of a lack of sleep, the body and the mind need rest to function properly. Without that sleep, you will likely not have the energy to perform at normal levels during the day.
- Related to the above, insomnia symptoms tend to lead to problems with concentration. The lack of good sleep at night frequently causes difficulty paying attention or focusing on tasks during the next day.
- Memory Difficulties. Cognition is impaired with sleep deprivation, and this affects working memory as well as the ability to focus, which can make many daytime tasks potentially hazardous.
Some of the common insomnia symptoms can also be linked to other, non-insomnia related conditions. The effects of a lack of sleep can be cumulative, and many of these symptoms may be experienced at different periods during which an individual is having trouble getting quality sleep:
- While the immediate response to sleep deprivation is the irritability associated with œgrouchiness, which can have negative effects interpersonally and occupationally, with prolonged uncontrolled insomnia there is an increased risk of developing clinical depression or an anxiety disorder.
- Bouts of poor physical coordination, which are generally displayed as an increase in errors or accidents. A stumble up the stairs is one thing, but a mistake made while behind the wheel of automobile may have very severe repercussions.
- Tension headaches are commonly experienced during periods of poor sleep.
- Lastly, worrying about sleep is a symptom in and of itself. The awareness of insomnia symptoms often give way to anxiety about sleep, which can lead to worsening insomnia.
If you feel that you may be experiencing insomnia symptoms related to depression, West Coast TMS Institute, located in Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles, is available to help you. Please contact us if you feel you may be experiencing symptoms of depression or insomnia symptoms, and would like to set up a consultation.
Article content, © Kira Stein, MD, APC. | West Coast Life Center