Insomnia Complications

Written by the Healthline Editorial Team | Published on October 13, 2014
Medically Reviewed by Kenneth R. Hirsch, MD on October 13, 2014

Complications of Insomnia

Sleep is essential to your overall physical health and emotional well-being. Lack of sleep can cause complications that range from slight annoyances to severe debilitations.

Reduced Performance at Work and School

Many people with insomnia are constantly fatigued and unable to concentrate. This can lead to poor performance at work or school. People with insomnia also have a higher rate of missing work. Agitation and poor mood can accompany insomnia. The sleep-deprived often behave badly toward others. This factor and reduced performance can damage professional and educational careers.

Risk of Accident

Chronic sleep deprivation slows reaction time and the ability to focus. This is how insomnia can cause both car accidents and accidents with commercial machinery. Driving while sleep deprived, with the risk of falling asleep behind the wheel, can be just as dangerous as drinking and driving. These accidents often end in permanent disabilities or death for those involved.

Unhealthy Weight

According to the Harvard Health Publications, living only on short bits of sleep can result in metabolic changes in the body. These changes may be linked to obesity. Children and teenagers are at an increased risk for this problem. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, studies suggest that children who get inadequate sleep are at a higher risk for becoming obese as they age.

Psychiatric Problems

There are many mental health disorders that can contribute to insomnia. Examples include post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar disorder. Yet chronic insomnia can bring on depression and anxiety. This sets up a dangerous cycle that can further compromise one’s mental health.

Increased Risk for Chronic Diseases

There are many chronic diseases linked to insufficient sleep. Some of these are diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and arthritis. Insomnia can also cause chronic, debilitating headaches. If you already suffer from any of these health issues, a lack of sleep can only worsen your symptoms.

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