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Can Stress Make You Sleep A Lot

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What Causes Problems With Sleep

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The things that affect our sleep differ for everyone. They can include:

  • stresses or worries for example, issues with money, housing or work
  • problems with where you sleep for example, if you sleep somewhere uncomfortable or you’re easily disturbed
  • health conditions relating to sleep, also known as sleep disorders
  • being a parent or carer

For more information about sleep disorders, see the Mental Health Foundation and Royal College of Psychiatrists websites, and our list of useful contacts.

“It’s not possible to relax if you don’t have anywhere comfortable and safe at night. This leads to not sleeping and worrying most of the night.”

If problems with sleep are worrying you or affecting your day to day life, it’s a good idea to see a doctor who can give you a health check and help you access treatment and support. If you fill in a sleep diary, you could take this to your appointment to show your doctor.

“My sleep problems are more a case of bedtime procrastination than insomnia as such and, as a consequence, being too tired the next morning. I still haven’t found out what works for me as I can get to sleep once I do get to bed.”

Association Of Childhood Trauma Exposure With Stress

As a next step, we examined the influence of the CTQ score on HR and TST in our models. Childhood trauma exposure moderated the effect of increasing HR over time. That is, those with higher childhood trauma scores showed a steeper increase of HR during sleep over time compared with those with childhood trauma exposure, see , model 2 and . This model fitted our data better than the model without the CTQ score included, . There was no association of CTQ scores with TST over time, , model 4.

Association between childhood trauma load and increase in HR at night over time .

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Sleep And Mental Health

We all need to sleep well to help our bodies recover from the day and to allow healing to take place.

But a lot of us struggle to get a good nights sleep. One in three of us suffers from poor sleep, and the consequences can be more serious than feeling grumpy or unfocused. Sleep and mental health are closely related: living with a mental health condition can affect your sleep, and poor sleep can affect your mental health.

Lack of sleep can also make us feel physically unwell. Its linked to heart disease, diabetes, premature ageing and road accident deaths.

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Vicious Cycle Of Stress And Sleeplessness

Being chronically stressed can lead to sleeplessness, but lack of sleep can also make you more susceptible to stress. Its like a chicken and egg scenario, and figuring out which came first can be complex.

When certain hormones like adrenaline and cortisol are elevated in the body, your brain has a difficult time shutting down. It thinks that youre in danger, and the last thing your body wants to do when a threat is imminent is sleep. Chronic physical symptoms like muscle aches, headaches, and acid reflux can also cause pain and discomfort and make it challenging to fall asleep.

For many people, sleeplessness itself can be stressful. Staring at the clock as it counts down the remaining precious hours until you have to get up and repeat your rat race can feel like torture. The longer you lay there tossing and turning, the more anxious you become and the more difficult it is to fall asleep.

Maybe you do finally fall asleep for a couple of hours, but youre still chronically sleep-deprived when your alarm goes off the next morning. You compensate for low energy and brain fog with sugar and caffeine, sending your blood sugar and insulin levels on a roller coaster ride that leaves you feeling nauseous, dizzy, and forgetful. The increased blood sugar and caffeine in your system makes it impossible to fall or stay asleep that night, and the whole cycle of sleeplessness repeats.

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The National Center on Sleep Disorders Research estimates that approximately 40 million Americans have some kind of sleep disorder. This encompasses a wide range of illnesses and conditions that include insomnia, sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome.

Sleep-related disorders are on the rise and many illnesses that people are suffering from during the day, may be connected to poor sleep, at night.

Depression, weight gain and high blood pressure are just a few of the health issues that can be related to insufficient sleep and the connection between poor sleep and stress can be a cyclical one.

Too much stress can cause you to have a bad sleep, leading to mental and physical health issues which can, in turn, cause stress in daily life, leading to poor sleep at night.

Understanding how stress and sleep are connected is the path to getting a handle on the problem and learning how to manage stress during the day can only help improve your overall health and wellness and, hopefully, lead to better sleep, too.

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The Link Between Stress And Sleep

Stress has many negative connotations, but it is a response that has evolved in humans and animals to allow them to deal with important or dangerous situations.

In humans, stress can cause the autonomic nervous system to release hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones raise the heart rate to circulate blood to vital organs and muscles more efficiently, preparing the body to take immediate action if necessary.

This reaction is known as the fight-or-flight response, and it was vital for human survival during the earlier stages of evolution.

Nowadays, issues that are not a threat to survival can trigger the fight-or-flight response. For example, problems at work or relationship difficulties.

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Optimal Amount Of Sleep: 4 Tips To Give Your Body The Right Amount Of Sleep

If youre ready to take control over your sleep schedule, there are some tips you can incorporate before you hit the hay.

Tip #1: Keep napping to a minimum: If you cant fall or stay asleep at night, the best napping advice is to keep napping to a minimum.

Tip #2: Use a sunlight alarm: If you tend to wake up feeling groggy, try a Sunlight alarm.Sunlight alarms work by gently illuminating your sleeping environment and provide you with the visual stimulation you need to wake you up more naturally. Exposing yourself to light in the morning can make you feel more alert and helps cement your bodys natural circadian rhythms.

Tip #3: Maintain a consistent sleep schedule: If it takes a long time to fall asleep, or its difficult to wake up on time, a sleep schedule could be helpful. Once you find the right amount of sleep that works for you, stick to it. Try to keep your bedtime and morning wake up time consistent, even on the weekends and during vacation.

Tip #4: Track your sleep: If you want to get insights into your sleep, use a sleep diary to track your wake-up time and bedtime, or try a sleep tracker like SleepScore or SleepScore Max. Make sure to note any lifestyle variables, too, like drinking alcohol or going for a longer run than usual. Keep track of your sleep for at least a week before making a doctors appointment.

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Why You Might Be Tired All The Time

Before you see a GP, you may want to work out how you became tired in the first place.

It can be helpful to think about:

  • parts of your life, such as work and family, that might be particularly tiring
  • any events that may have triggered your tiredness, such as bereavement or a relationship break-up
  • how your lifestyle may be making you tired

A GP will look at the following causes of tiredness:

  • psychological causes

Psychological causes of tiredness are much more common than physical causes.

Most psychological causes lead to poor sleep or insomnia, both of which cause daytime tiredness.

Psychological causes include:

What Are Its Physical Signs

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You wake up on the living room sofa in a daze, confused about how you got there and why your kids are asking you whats for breakfast. As you scramble to check the clock, you suddenly realize that your kids are about to miss the school bus and youre going to be late for a very important meeting. Your heart starts racing, and beads of sweat dampen your forehead.

With no time for breakfast, you down some coffee and join the sea of cars moving along at a snails pace. By the time you finally get to work, youve missed the meeting entirely, and your boss demands an explanation. Your stomach is in knots and a million possible excuses flood your brain.

The day drags on, but at 5 oclock, you finally begin your journey back home in more standstill traffic. When you walk through the door, youre bombarded with questions about whats for dinner, and you feel your breathing accelerate. Hours later when you crawl into bed, you find yourself wide awake despite obvious exhaustion.

Sound familiar?

Racing heart, sweaty palms, upset stomach, difficulty sleepingthese are just some of the physical responses you may be feeling when you have a fight or flight reaction to a stressful situation. This response was designed to be temporary, giving your body the tools it needs to quickly remove yourself from a dangerous situation. As soon as youre safe, the body initiates the parasympathetic nervous system to go back to a resting state.

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What If My Child Has Sleep Problems

Children need long periods of uninterrupted sleep for their growth and development, but sleep problems are common especially among younger children. This can have a big impact on the whole family. Children may be reluctant to go to sleep, wake in the night, have nightmares or sleepwalk. Some children with disabilities such as autism seem to have particular difficulty establishing a consistent sleep pattern.

Some of the self-help measures above can be adapted for children. Its also a good idea to keep a sleep diary to show their doctor. Excessive sleeping or a continued reluctance to get up could suggest depression or another mental health problem. If your child has sleep problems, make an appointment with their doctor to see what help is available.

Sort Out Your Finances

65 percent of Americans lie awake due to money issues. Sometimes easier said than done, sorting out your finances can be a good way to reducing your stress and helping you to get a good nights sleep.

While it might not always be easy to reduce financial stress, you might be having trouble sleeping because you havebeen avoiding your financial problems and, because they dont just disappear, they will haunt you, at night.

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You Want To Avoid Certain Thoughts

When worrying gets in the way of your everyday tasks, it can be tempting to tune out and turn off. “Sleeping might be a way of avoiding the feelings of worry and anxiety,” clinical psychologist Ellen Braaten, Ph.D., co-director of The Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds at Massachusetts General Hospital, tells Bustle. “Do some thinking about whether you are worried and stressed or whether you are just tired. If worry is something youâre struggling with, it might be causing you problems with sleep.” And it may be time to seek help from a professional.

How Sleep Can Affect Stress

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High-quality sleep can have a hugely positive impact on our health, including a decreased risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. It can even boost your mood and cleanse your skin. One of the most impactful benefits, however, is the effect it can have on stress levels.

While some stress is natural, too much of it can be detrimental to your health. Some stress can be caused by different internal and environmental factors, but it is largely impacted by how much sleep you get, or dont get. With a growing number of overly-stressed adults, getting enough sleep has become an increasingly important and healthy lifestyle choice. Here are some of the ways that sleep can affect your stress levels, and how to make sure youre consistently a good nights rest.

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What Causes Anxiety Disorders

The exact cause of anxiety is unknown. In fact, researchers believe that there is not one single cause but rather an interplay of factors that include a persons genetics, family history, and exposure to negative life events. Some health problems and drugs can also contribute to symptoms of anxiety.

Habits That Cause Insomnia And Disrupt Sleep

While treating underlying physical and mental issues is a good first step, it may not be enough to cure your insomnia. You also need to look at your daily habits. Some of the things youre doing to cope with insomnia may actually be making the problem worse.

For example, maybe youre using sleeping pills or alcohol to fall asleep, which disrupts sleep even more over the long-term. Or maybe you drink excessive amounts of coffee during the day, making it harder to fall asleep later. Other daytime habits that can negatively impact your ability to sleep at night include having an irregular sleep schedule, napping, eating sugary foods or heavy meals too close to bedtime, and not getting enough exercise or exercising too late in the day.

Not only can poor daytime habits contribute to insomnia, but a poor nights sleep can make these habits harder to correct, creating a vicious cycle of unrefreshing sleep:

Oftentimes, changing the habits that are reinforcing sleeplessness is enough to overcome the insomnia altogether. It may take a few days for your body to get used to the change, but once you do, youll sleep better.

If youre having trouble identifying insomnia-causing habits

Some habits are so ingrained that you may overlook them as a possible contributor to your insomnia. Maybe your Starbucks habit affects your sleep more than you realize. Or maybe youve never made the connection between that late-night glass of wine and your sleep difficulties.

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Consider Cbd For Stress Relief

Over the last few decades, CBD has been studied intently to see if there are practical uses. While there is still so much research that needs to be completed, we can draw conclusions based on the vast amount of published studies and research.

Before diving into what the research says, we must first outline the difference between daily stress and long-term . Daily stress is generally short-term that is caused by something that can be quickly resolved. Chronic stress is more long-term and may lead to serious illness.

With that said, the and related issues such as anxiety. While anxiety and everyday stress are two separate issues, the human body tries to handle them similarly. CBD may help support daily wellness and offer a sense of calmness when stress starts to kick in.

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Steps to take now

For many people, the relaxing social activities that can help buffer against stress and anxiety like seeing friends or going out to dinner are not yet reality, due to uneven vaccination rates. So what can we do now to help recharge?

Payne, of Johns Hopkins’ Women’s Mood Disorders Center, encourages people to keep in mind all of the usual things that help during stressful times: exercise, a healthy diet, going outdoors and limiting news consumption. And engage in relaxing activities often, like a hobby you love, listening to or watching something funny, or reading books you enjoy.

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Self-care is important, notes Gold of Washington University. “Take the vacation time you need,” she recommends. “Make sure that you’re taking care of yourself in the short and long term.”

And, she adds, “there’s no wrong time to go talk to someone.” If you can’t get an appointment with a therapist, talk to a friend or co-worker, she suggests.

“I think that because so many people are struggling with this and because it is so normal, everybody has something to say,” says Gold. “If we could just get to the point where we could be talking about the stuff more openly, we’d feel a lot less alone.”

How Is Sleep Anxiety Diagnosed

Your healthcare provider performs a physical exam, reviews your medical history and evaluates your symptoms. They may ask you questions like:

  • Do you eat or drink anything before bed?
  • Does your anxiety always occur before bed?
  • How long does it take you to fall asleep?
  • How often do you wake up during the night?
  • What activities do you do before bed?

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How Much Sleep Is Too Much Sleep

So how much is too much sleep? Well, it depends. Your sleep needs will vary over your lifetime, your sleep chronotype, age, activity level, general health, and lifestyle. The AASM recommends the following sleep amounts based on age that you can use as a general baseline:

  • Newborns: 16-18 hours of sleep per night
  • Preschoolers: 11-12 hours of sleep per night
  • School-aged and teens: Around 10 hours of sleep per night
  • Adults and seniors: 7-9 hours of sleep per night

Keep in mind that your personal sleep needs might deviate from the norm, but it doesnt automatically mean that theres an issue. If youve always been someone who needs a little extra sleep, then that doesnt necessarily point to an underlying problem. Instead, look for sudden changes in your sleep schedule. Were you normally getting 7 hours of sleep and feeling fine, but now you need closer to 10 and feel terrible? If thats the case, there may be an issue.

Likewise, there are often temporary causes of oversleeping, too. If youre sick, youre more likely to require some extra shuteye as your body tries to rest and build up the energy stores necessary to fight off an infection. Or, if youve run a marathon or experienced a high amount of acute stress, your body might naturally need more rest as a result to rebuild your brain and body. These one-off situations arent cause for concern.

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Learn more about your own sleep and getpersonalized advice using the SleepScore app.

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