Can Insomnia Cause Nausea, Headaches, and Body Aches?
Last updated: September 2023
I have had insomnia for many, many years. There are times when I get so little sleep over such a long period of time that I begin to feel like my body is shutting down. During those times, chronic insomnia starts to trigger other symptoms.
Perhaps you are wondering if your symptoms are related to loss of sleep. While you should always consult your doctor when you have new symptoms, it is possible that insomnia is the cause of some symptoms you may not associate with sleeplessness.
Headaches caused by a lack of sleep
Some people have headaches when they have not had enough sleep. This can range from a very slight ache to a full-blown migraine. Sleeplessness affects everyone differently, and a sudden decrease in the amount of sleep you are receiving each night can result in new or worsening symptoms of many conditions. If I get less than 4 hours of sleep, I tend to have a slight headache for most of the day. The only thing that gets rid of it is sleep.
While your headaches may be the result of insomnia, it is very important to determine if a lack of sleep is the real culprit. If you suddenly develop unexplained headaches, discuss it with your doctor. Be sure to mention your insomnia and any other medical issues you may have. It is important to rule out other possible causes.
Insomnia can cause bouts of nausea
Nausea is a less common symptom, but it does happen. If I am awake for more than 24 hours or I have slept less than 10 hours over a 3- or 4-day period, I end up nauseated with a slight headache. It usually is not severe. It is just enough to agitate me. On those days, I do not feel like eating much. That adds to my fatigue and makes the day drag along until I feel exhausted long before bedtime.
Remember, nausea is a symptom of many illnesses. Consult your doctor to determine the cause. If you have chronic nausea or other symptoms, it is far less likely that it is caused by insomnia. Do not assume your symptoms are the result of a lack of sleep. Always discuss it with your doctor to be certain it is not caused by something more serious.
Sleepless nights and body aches
If I have reached the point of nausea, it is often accompanied by mild body aches. I will ache in various places, much like the aches you have after physical exertion. The fatigue caused by lack of sleep can cause you to ache, so insomnia can certainly cause aches and pains. It is not really painful. It is more of an annoyance.
Body aches are also associated with many illnesses and conditions. While it is common for the cause of these aches to be completely benign, if you have other symptoms like fever or severe pain, a trip to the doctor is warranted. Do not assume insomnia is the cause. Ask your doctor.
Determining if a symptom is caused by insomnia
Let me say this again. Any time you have new symptoms, you need to consult a doctor to determine the cause and rule out more serious illnesses. While insomnia can cause nausea, headaches, and body aches, you need to be certain these issues are not caused by another illness.
I confess that I often look online when I develop a new issue, and I understand the temptation to assume a symptom means nothing. However, even issues that are common with insomnia or other conditions can be signs of something more serious. When you have any kind of new symptom, it is better to err on the side of caution. Insomnia can indeed cause nausea, headaches, and body aches, but make sure you rule out more serious issues.
How do you manage symptoms related to your insomnia? Share your story with others in our insomnia community.
Do you manage any other health conditions alongside insomnia?