Do you notice that even though you think you had a good night of sleep, you wake up feeling like you didn't sleep at all? Or maybe it takes you over an hour to fall asleep. If so, you may be experiencing some symptoms of insomnia.
Insomnia, defined by the National Sleep Foundation as the difficulty of falling asleep or staying asleep even when you have the chance to do so, is a common sleep disorder that about 40 million Americans experience annually.
There are two different types of insomnia: acute, which can come from poor sleep health or habits, and chronic, which may be due to pre-existing medical conditions.
The National Sleep Foundation states that insomnia can vary in how long it lasts and how often it occurs. Some people can experience it temporarily due to how stress affects your body or traumatic events. But others may experience it for months.
Here are some signs to look out for if you think you're suffering from insomnia.
There may be some mornings when you think got a full eight hours and should be feeling energized, but instead, you just feel exhausted. It may feel like no matter how much sleep you get, you have low energy for the rest of your day and lose motivation to participate in daily activities.
Difficulty falling asleep
Even if you feel tired and tried some rituals for better sleep, do you usually end up staring at your ceiling for a long period of time? With insomnia, some people may experience difficulty falling asleep at a certain time, even if their body is tired. Thinking about things that make you anxious or overwhelmed before going to bed can contribute to this symptom.
Waking up at night and having trouble falling back asleep
It's not uncommon to wake up at some point during the night to either use the bathroom or grab a drink of water. But if you're suffering from insomnia, falling back to sleep may not be easy. If you notice you regularly can't fall back to sleep within 30 minutes, you may be experiencing insomnia.
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Waking up earlier than desired
It can be really annoying when you have your alarm clock set for 7:30 a.m. but you end up waking up 2 hours early. For insomniacs, it is as hard to stay asleep as it is to fall asleep.
Trouble staying focused or concentrating
One of the most common effects of sleep deprivation is feeling less alert or finding it difficult to concentrate on a task. Drowsiness can also impair your judgment, making decision-making situations difficult. Frequent occurrences of this could be a sign of insomnia.
Insomnia can cause changes to your mood. You may feel more irritable or experience symptoms of depression or anxiety, as well as a loss of interest in your hobbies and things that make you happy. The loss of sleep triggers negative emotions, which can leave you feeling hostile or less friendly in social interactions.
Along with mood swings, insomnia may make you act impulsively or aggressively to irritating situations that you would usually be able to handle. Something as simple as a dog barking can increase anger and distress levels due to the lack of sleep. You might also snap at someone you didn't mean to be angry with.
Difficulty in relationships
Whether it's a relationship with a spouse or friends, it may be difficult to interact with people due to the lack of energy and loss of interest to do anything. When you're tired and sleep-deprived, it can stop you from enjoying being around others and cause you to start lashing out or exhibiting these other toxic behaviors.
One of the physical side effects of sleep deprivation is that your reaction time slows down. Your movements are more sluggish and it's hard to focus your eyes in one spot. Extended hours without sleep can even lead to hand-to-eye coordination similar to that of a person with a blood alcohol content of 0.1.
Trouble with memory
When your body is asleep, your brain is processing the events and information from your day to create memories. If you lose sleep, it may feel like your brain is foggy and it's difficult to remember certain things. This may also affect your performance at school or work and your ability to absorb what you're learning. If you're wondering whether you have a healthy or poor sleep pattern, here's how much sleep you really need every night, according to doctors.
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