insomnia symptoms

Symptoms of Insomnia: 10 Clear Signs You’re Fighting Insomnia

Insomnia symptoms vary from person to person. Here are the top signs

Insomnia is when you have trouble with sleep, both initiating sleep and sustaining it. Symptoms of insomnia may vary from person to person. 

The number of people who continue to experience insomnia is on the rise.

Studies show that between 20 and 30 percent of people have insomnia. 

While it’s important to understand the causes of insomnia so you treat it at the core, it’s also helpful to identify insomnia before it’s too late.

In this article, we’ll look at the symptoms of insomnia. 

How do you know if your sleep problem is insomniac? How do you know if it’s not?


Let’s dive in.

1. Difficulty falling asleep 

One of the primary symptoms of insomnia is chronic difficulty in falling asleep.

You consistently toss and turn in bed for hours. And the more you lay in bed, the longer it takes you to fall asleep.

The effects of insomnia mean it may often take you hours to finally fall asleep.

One study found that over 40 percent of people with insomnia have trouble falling asleep.

True, most have us don’t fall asleep immediately we get to bed. It takes some minutes. 

But if you continue to toss and turn in bed for several hours, it may be a sign of insomnia.

2. Waking up abruptly at night

Quality of sleep is not only the ability to fall asleep quickly when you hit the sheets.

It’s also the ability to stay asleep for longer periods.

When you have insomnia you often wake up abruptly. This may happen at least three times during the night. 

And when you wake up in the middle of the night, it’s difficult for you to fall back asleep.

Some times it will take a couple more hours to fall back asleep during the night after waking up.

3. Not getting enough restorative sleep

There are four stages to our sleep cycle. Stage 3 is the stage where the body restores itself through muscle and tissue repair. 

Getting enough sleep at this stage is essential.

This enables us to develop stronger bones, muscles, and improved immunity.

Insomniacs often don’t get enough sleep at this stage. This is why they wake up and still not feel refreshed or rested.


In one study, nearly 50 percent of over 1,000 adolescents reported nonrestorative sleep.

And that could lead to more fatigue after waking up. 

This lack of restorative sleep affects productivity during the day and may impair cognitive ability to do simple tasks.

4. Inability to focus and concentrate during the day

Sleep is not only an end in itself, but it is also a means to another end.

This other end is how we perform after sleep.

We not only want to feel refreshed and rejuvenated after sleeping. But that’s not all.

We also want to be sharper, more energized, and more productive.

Studies show that insomnia has negative effects on cognitive performance. This is because of the constant loss of sleep. 

One study showed that losing even one night of sleep affects our ability to perform on cognitive tasks.

If you have insomnia, here are a few cognitive functions that are affected:

  1. You’re not able to recall words 
  2. You have a poor attention span
  3. It’s difficult for you to listen
  4. You have slow reaction time to simple things
  5. You’re not able to recognize faces 
  6. You tend to make bad decisions or choices

5. Tiredness and sleepiness during the day

Because of the lack of sleep at night, insomniacs may constantly feel tired during the day.

How do you know if your daytime sleepiness is a symptom of insomnia?

Researchers had a simple test in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

To distinguish daytime fatigue from sleepiness, they asked one clarifying:


“Since you feel tired/fatigued, if given a chance would you be able to sleep during the day?” 

They found that nearly all of the patients with chronic insomnia report the inability to sleep during the day even if they had the opportunity to do so.

6. Waking earlier than desired

One symptom of insomnia is when you consistently wake up way earlier than you want or plan to.

Besides taking longer to fall asleep, you find yourself fully awake almost right after you’ve finally put yourself to sleep.

7. Stressing and worrying about not sleeping well

Are you anxious about the problem of not sleeping well most nights?

Insomnia often is marked by the psychological state of worry.

You worry about your sleep problems during the day. It frustrates you.

And that frustration induces more stress during the day and at night. And this may make it significantly harder for you to accomplish your daily tasks.

Research shows that stress inhibits sleep. And the distress leads to a self-fulfilling cycle of sleepless and restless nights. 

8. Increased occurrence of accidents

Are you finding yourself getting into simple accidents at home or even at work?

Insomniacs have reduced alertness during the day. This increases the risks of accidents they are involved in.


Accidents could be low level like walking into someone on the sidewalk. It could also be fatal like car accidents. 

9. Nagging headaches

Sure, we all get headaches now and then. 

But if you constantly have a nagging feeling of aches and tightness around your head, it might be a symptom of insomnia.

10. Gastrointestinal symptoms

Do you have constant bloating or pain when you wake up at night? It’s one of the symptoms of insomnia.

While these in themselves could mean a lot of things, not getting enough sleep makes it worse

When we eat, food enters the stomach. Our stomach muscles then mix the food and liquid with digestive juices.

And slowly as this process is completed, the stomach passes on its content to the small intestines.

Getting enough restorative sleep is vital for the body to rejuvenate itself and help with digestion.