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Things I Wish Others Understood About Insomnia

Although I’d venture to guess the majority of adults have heard of the term “insomnia,” I don’t think those who haven’t experienced it quite understand just how much it can impact a person’s life.

While living with insomnia affects everyone differently, there are a few things that generally occur to the majority (of course, there are exceptions.)

3 things most people with insomnia experience

  1. Fatigue, feeling lethargic, exhaustion
  2. Inability to be as productive and present in work and/or personal life as one would like to be or usually is when insomnia isn’t plaguing them
  3. Worry/anxiety that another sleepless night is on the horizon the next night

Fatigue

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand why a person with insomnia might feel tired or fatigued. However, even though the effects of sleep deprivation are becoming more widely known and researched, it is still difficult for loved ones, bosses, colleagues, and teachers of insomniacs to always be mindful of how devastating it can be on productivity.

Productivity

Lack of feeling accomplished during the day (even though the reason behind it is out of someone’s control) can cause a person to feel bad about themselves.

Bed dread

This, in turn, may result in emotional or physical issues that might impact the next night’s sleep. In addition, the fear of getting into bed the following evening and just lying there (yet again!) is real.

3 things that can influence how insomnia impacts someone

  1. The frequency at which a person experiences insomnia
  2. The level of support and understanding that the insomniac feels after a bad night or a series of sleepless nights
  3. Physical or mental health condition besides insomnia

Frequency

I think the first point is sort of obvious. If someone suffers from insomnia for 2 days a year, it’s safe to say that person’s life wouldn’t be impacted too significantly. On the flip side, if someone experiences chronic insomnia, it is likely those sleepless nights are impeding on quality of life in a major way.

Support

I can tell from personal experience that having a spouse, parent, or sibling understand or be sympathetic to what I go through as an insomniac can make all the difference in the world. When I am not made to feel lazy for just lying around the house all day, it is like a huge weight is lifted. I already feel guilty for not contributing as much as I wish I could. The last thing I or any of us needs is someone making us feel even worse.

Living with other conditions

Lastly, sleep deprivation and/or lack of quality sleep can have an enormous effect on a person’s physical or emotional wellbeing. This is especially true for those individuals who already suffer from a chronic illness.

To end this portion of what I wish others understood about insomnia, I want to add that often an insomniac can’t just go to bed early and make it up the next night. Oh, how I wish it were that simple!

There are so many things I wish people would understand about life with insomnia. I know you all must have a laundry list of wishes too. I’d love to hear in the comments below, and always remember you are not alone! We get it!

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