The Impact of Stress on Sleeping

Occasional problems sleeping are not uncommon. Everyone has a sleepless night once in a while. However, according to the National Sleep Foundation, insomnia and other consistent issues with sleeping are on the rise. A large part of that comes as a result of stress.

Do you lay awake at night, staring into the darkness? Do you dread going to bed knowing that long nights of coaxing and begging yourself to fall asleep are what’s ahead? Well, you are not alone. The economy, your job, financial worries, the state of the world, your children’s’ well-being, illness, traffic, and countless other issues cause everyday stress. When that stress bleeds into your sleep habits, you suffer, sometimes for long periods of time. The impact of stress on sleeping is exhausting.

Man sitting awake in bed

Stress can have a keep you up at night and deprive you of much needed sleep.

It Deprives You of Enough Sleep

Adults require between seven and nine hours of good sleep each night, but unfortunately too many of us don’t get it. However, for many people, stress stamps out all hope for peaceful slumber. When you are stressed, it becomes increasingly difficult to get the amount of sleep a healthy body requires. Your brain works overtime and you can’t calm the swirling thoughts. In addition, your body pumps out too much cortisol, the stress hormone, which keeps your body and brain on alert. The more you lie awake, watching the hours pass by on the alarm clock, the more likely you are to become even more stressed.

It Deprives You of Quality Sleep

When you finally do drift off to sleep, stress can prevent you from getting restful, nourishing sleep. Though you may not be awake, you still may toss and turn. Stress also causes you to wake up periodically throughout the night. Perhaps you feel as if you are wavering on the cusp of consciousness. This can cause you to arise in the morning just as tired as if you hadn’t slept at all. It can also have the same negative health effects as not sleeping.

It Creates a Persistent Cycle

When you’re overly stressed, you can’t sleep. When you don’t sleep, your stress levels rise. It’s a hellacious cycle. Because your lack of sleep at night increases your daytime stress levels, it’s more difficult to catch onto a healthy sleep routine. All those sleepless nights can lead to negative consequences during the day, including low energy levels, decreased productivity and efficiency, and a cloudy mind. All of these are stressors that pile on top of an already strained situation. It can go on and on, worsening, until you successfully get help for your sleep issues.

It Causes Nightmares

Scary dreams are no fun. They come in all forms: being chased, falling, embarrassing situations, or downright horror. They cause emotional shock, night sweats, a racing heart, and of course, interrupted sleep. Stress and anxiety are the main culprits that cause nightmares. The combination of a restless night and mental turmoil of nightmares is yet another way stress infiltrates healthy sleep.

It Creates Tension

Muscle tension is a natural reaction your body has to excessive stress. This rigidity makes sleeping difficult. A mind that is unable to relax inevitably leads to a body that refuses to melt into the mattress. It’s just one more way that stress helps your body fight sleep.

There’s nothing quite like a great night’s sleep. Unfortunately, it can seem hard to get. Ongoing stress can strip you of the refreshing sleep that your body needs. And when your body doesn’t get the sleep it needs, it becomes vulnerable. When stress intrudes your life and interrupts a happy, healthy sleep pattern, it’s important to seek help. Fortunately, managing stress and managing problems with getting enough good-quality sleep go hand in hand.

If you or someone you know is in need of a better night’s sleep, contact us for a no obligation consultation. We are the sleep specialists at Chevy Chase ENT located in the Virginia, Maryland, and Washington D.C. metro area dealing with sleep apnea and sleep-related problems.  We can help diagnose your condition, recommend whether a sleep study would be beneficial, and offer you a variety of treatment options including CPAPRadio Frequency Ablation (RFA) and more.