How stress affects sleep
Stress and sleep go hand in hand.
If you are stressed you have problems sleeping. The less you sleep, the more you will be stressed.
Stress is a natural physical and mental reaction to life experiences. Everyone expresses stress from time to time. Anything from everyday responsibilities like work and family to serious life events such as a new diagnosis, war, or the death of a loved one can trigger stress.
These days the occurrence of stress has notably increased as compared to the past. And this could be attributed to this over- competitive generation. In our quest to earn the most at work, be popular in society, score the most at school, while not expressing our true feeling, it's very normal to get overwhelmed once in a while. We are basically trying to do a lot more in a short time, and neglecting our health in the process.
At least 6 out of 10 people I come across on a daily basis say they have moderate to high levels of stress.
Stress can impact your life in many ways, including negatively affecting the quality of your sleep. It makes sense: You lie in bed, worrying and feeling anxious, which makes it almost impossible to relax and quiet your mind enough to fall asleep.
That’s also why people who suffer from chronic stress day in and day out sleep less, have poorer sleep quality and find it harder to function well during the day.
5 ways in which stress is affecting your sleep and in turn your health
1. Fewer hours of sleep - healthy adults need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night to function at their best. Children and teens even more. When we sleep, apart from giving the body much needed rest, there is a lot of restorative processes going in the body, like muscle repair, memory consolidation and release of hormones regulating growth and appetite. We can't log adequate sleep hours when we're too busy ruminating over our anxieties these processes are left incomplete when we sleep less,
2. Poor quality sleep – sleep have several cycles, and most restorative processes take place when we are in deep sleep, when we are stressed, apart from getting sleep late, our quality of sleep also gets messed up, resulting in the feeling that”we have not slept properly” even when we do log adequate hours.
3. Doesn’t allow your brain to shut down - When you fall asleep, your body switches from its active sympathetic nervous system to the calmer parasympathetic nervous system. However, this gets interrupted with stress. When you're overly worried, the sympathetic nervous system doesn't shut down, and your brain remains hyperactive.
4. Increases the risk of sleep disorders – Stress and anxiety may cause sleeping problems or make existing problems worse. Stress may not just negatively affect some of your sleep, it may rob you of sleep entirely. Those who experience ongoing stress are more susceptible to insomnia, and each additional stressor increases the risk for the disorder by 19 percent.
Other common sleep disorders include sleep apnea (loud snoring caused by an obstructed airway), sleepwalking, and narcolepsy (falling asleep spontaneously). Restless leg syndrome and bruxism (grinding of the teeth while sleeping) are conditions that also may contribute to sleep disorders.All of which can be triggered by stressors.