A person sitting alone at a table at night awake and grieving

My Connection Between Trauma and Insomnia

Mental health issues are most certainly tied to my insomnia. The 2 are intertwined, and it does not matter which causes the other. They co-exist. I like to unpack my issues and address them in an attempt to resolve problems, hopefully easing stress and stress-related insomnia. Trauma greatly impacts our ability to sleep. Perhaps you share my problem.

Traumatic experiences change us in many ways. The pain may dull as time passes, but the scar remains. The pain from that old wound resurfaces from time to time, and that can fuel insomnia.

How do we handle this? We discuss it and try to find ways to deal with it. Let’s talk about it.

A haunting experience that lingers

I have had my fair share of traumatic experiences in my life, but I am not unique. Many people have suffered unspeakable things. My experience does not affect my life on a daily basis, but it does haunt me from time to time. Again, my situation is not unique. I dare say everyone has experienced something traumatic in their lives. Sometimes grief triggers insomnia.

I am haunted by my cousin’s memory. This is not a bad thing, as I loved her and I miss her dearly. Remembering her does occasionally cause memories to roll down my cheeks, but remembering her and everything about her is important to me. She was brutally murdered almost 3 decades ago, and remembering the many great things we shared makes me happy. Unfortunately, that is not what all of my memories are. They are not all good things.

Traumatic experiences can keep you up at night

I recently passed the anniversary of her death yet again. While I try to focus on her infectious laugh and her jubilance, the bad does creep in from time to time. It usually surfaces around the anniversary of that awful day. The many unanswered questions pop back up, and the anger boils over at times. It is hard to keep it all in check when it happens. It takes a severe toll on my mental health.

The memories of those awful things occasionally haunt me, and that recollection of a traumatic experience fuels my insomnia for a brief period of time. Once it passes, I return to my regular state of insomnia. Until it does, I am stuck in a rut of sleepless nights. Trauma does that. Trauma is connected to my insomnia, at least in part.

Trauma did not cause my insomnia

Make no mistake. This trauma is not what caused my insomnia. I had trouble sleeping long before this happened. It is not the primary cause, but it does worsen it from time to time. The connection is undeniable. Like all aspects of mental health, it plays a role in how we function each day. Our mental and physical health are inexplicably intertwined in more ways than we realize.

I am haunted by a traumatic experience that keeps me awake from time to time. It adds to my insomnia, and I realize it. For me, it is important to acknowledge the connection. While I know how it affects me, I would not trade my memories to regain the sleep I lose over it. I treasure the memories I have, and it is a small sacrifice to pay for so many years of laughter and love.

Accepting the things I cannot change

Now that I have unpacked my issues, I realize that the trade-off is worth it. I get to hold onto those happy years, and I pay a small price to do that. It is most certainly worth lost sleep. That is enough for me to make peace with the impact of my insomnia.

I hope if you are dealing with something traumatic or have experienced something traumatic that you are able to find some peace. I hope time softens the blow for you. No matter what you are going through, know that there are many of us who are happy to listen and help in any way we can. Know that you are not alone. I am rooting for you.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

More on this topic

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Insomnia.Sleep-Disorders.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

or create an account to comment.

Community Poll

Does anyone else in your family have insomnia?