If you have trouble sleeping you know that the side effects of insomnia can go well beyond merely feeling tired. I have been trying for close to 20 years to sleep better. I have not always given myself the best chance–some of my reasons for insomnia are well known to me. I love diet soda with caffeine, I often work out late at night because I cannot free up time during the day, and I have a pretty hectic pace to my life.
As I have studied myself and my habits during this fight with sleepless nights, I’ve tried to track the data across all facets, including what I believe the side effects are for me. Insomnia affects everyone in slightly different ways, so I wanted to see if I could add anything useful to the equation.
I’m just going to accept fatigue as a given–not enough sleep = more tired. Go figure!
Inability to concentrate
When I am at my most tired, I can’t focus. The major reason that this matters for me is that most of the things that I enjoy take concentration. Playing the guitar, lifting kettlebells, reading, writing–these can all become casualties to insomnia if I have too many nights of poor sleep in a row.
I would not say that I have ever been clinically depressed, but I sure have seen plenty of dumb commercials about depression. And most of them ask “Have you lost the ability to enjoy things that used to give you pleasure?” If there is data backing up that question, then not being able to cure insomnia for yourself could certainly lead in that direction.
All of the other side effects mean little to me in comparison. Gritty eyes, being more susceptible to illness, weight loss or weight gain–these all feel insignificant next to the inability to concentrate–or the ability to concentrate with as much focus and clarity as I need to be able to.
That is why I want to get it under control: to ensure that I can enjoy the things I love. If that is happening the rest will take care of itself.