Losing sleep is a casualty of life, as is stress! Despite being normal as an occasional experience, frequent and severe stress can lead to pretty devastating health effects. One of the very first things affected by stress is your sleep quality, that’s why this Stress Awareness Month we want to discuss the links between stress and sleep.
Here are some facts about how stress impacts sleep.
1. Severe stress can cause Hyperarousal. Hyperarousal is most common in people who suffer from PTSD, but it is also seen in people with severe stress and chronic insomnia. The disorder causes one to go into “fight or flight” mode or to be on guard and overly alert. This level of anxiety impedes the mind from relaxing and welcoming sleep.
2. Less sleep equals more stress hormones. High stress and little sleep can quickly turn into a vicious cycle where one thing leads to the other and vice versa. Stress can often lead to poor sleep or wakefulness, which in turn causes the mind to overexert itself. When our brain lacks rest, it produces more stress hormones to allow the body to remain alert. This, in turn, will also make it more difficult to fall asleep the next night, despite being tired.
3. Stress increases the risk of Insomnia. Not everyone that experiences stress has trouble falling or remaining asleep. Nonetheless, chronic stress and periods of high stress can make someone more at risk of developing temporary insomnia, while major or long-lasting stress can lead to chronic insomnia.
4. Stress reduces your quality of sleep. Even if someone with a lot of stress can fall asleep, they may find that their sleep is unsatisfactory and unfulfilling. They may wake up tired, fatigued, and irritable. These symptoms can go on to affect daily tasks and their work and personal life.
5. Stress can trigger sleep disorders. Stress and sleep deprivation is a common risk factor for many sleep disorders, such as Parasomnias like Restless Leg Syndrome, Sleep Paralysis, Confusional Arousal, and Sleep Talking. All of these types of sleep disorders can result in poor sleep quality and deteriorate your health.
Being in a constant state of stress is a lot more damaging to health than most people realize, and losing sleep only exacerbates your stress. Don’t let these become a cycle you have to escape from this Stress Awareness Month. If you or someone you know is suffering from poor sleep due to stress, it may be a good idea to seek treatment from a sleep specialist. To book an appointment or to learn more about how stress impacts sleep, contact us today.