This happens in your brain if you suffer from insomnia

People who suffer from insomnia see their memory altered and their mood and performance change.

If you have ever suffered from insomnia, you will know how annoying this condition can be.


If you’ve ever suffered from insomnia, you’ll know how difficult it is to spend long sleepless nights. After tossing and turning in bed, trying all sorts of tricks to fall asleep and, especially, anxiously watching the hours go by on your watch, you can’t manage to fall into the arms of Morpheus.


Why does insomnia occur? What is the reason why some people are unable to fall asleep or are unable to sleep well through the night, waking up too early in the morning? For those affected by this disorder, it is intriguing to see how this problem can influence their brain. If there is one thing we can be clear about, it is that the quality of sleep is as important as the hours of sleep we enjoy.

A myriad of reasons behind insomnia

Insomnia is directly influenced by our sleeping habits. In other words, following bad routines (such as going to bed at a different time each day, worsening our sleeping conditions with too much light or noise) or maintaining unhealthy lifestyles (doing little physical exercise or consuming alcohol or other drugs) can directly alter our predisposition to fall asleep.


There are also some medical problems that can condition the onset of insomnia. For example, back pain, arthritis, asthma or endocrine disorders also affect our ability to fall asleep.


What happens in the brains of people who suffer from insomnia?

Those affected by insomnia are aware of the problems caused by not sleeping well: memory disturbances, tiredness, fatigue, bad mood… Sleeping well is essential to have a good day, so insomniacs have added difficulties to stay at 100% in their daily lives.

Research published by scientists at Johns Hopkins Hospital showed differences in the brain between people who slept well and those who suffered from insomnia. In particular, those individuals who have difficulty falling asleep had greater neuroplasticity and activity in the motor cortex, the part of the brain responsible for controlling our movements.


As Rachel E. Salas explained, “insomnia is not a nighttime problem, but is actually a 24-hour-a-daydisorder”. In a way insomniacs always have that ‘brain switch’ on, which makes it very difficult for them to be able to sleep normally.

And as many insomnia sufferers will know, memory is one of the cognitive functions most affected by lack of sleep. A study, published in the journal Sleep, showed that the memory capacity of insomniacs was clearly impaired. Neural activity involved, for example, in modulating brain activity in certain regions of the mind and selecting what was important from what was not, is seriously compromised in the absence of sleep.

If you’ve ever suffered from insomnia, chances are you’ve experienced some of these problems. Undoubtedly, not sleeping well has a direct influence on our life, demonstrating the importance of the hours of sleep on our brain. Try as much as possible to maintain the right habits to fall into the arms of Morpheus will be essential if we want to perform at our best the next day.