Stress and Sleeplessness – understanding the link.

Stress and Sleeplessness are intricately linked. The one results in the other.

When you are stressed your nervous system releases hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. This is normal. These hormones raise the heart rate to circulate blood to vital organs and muscles more efficiently, preparing the body to take necessary action.

In normal circumstances this heightened state of arousal drops after the stressful event. If however you are constantly stressed, this state of arousal remains constant which directly impacts the quality of your sleep. A lack of sleep consequently results, in most cases in more stress. Frequently being in a heightened state of alertness can delay the onset of sleep and cause rapid, anxious thoughts to occur at night.

Stress and Depression – understanding the link.

Stress has direct effects on mood. Early initial symptoms of lowered mood can include irritability, sleep disruption, and cognitive changes, such as impaired concentration. However, the indirect effects of stress are often what causes depression to take hold.

When people experience stress, they often stop engaging in some of the healthy coping strategies that usually help keep their mood on track. In other words, when stress triggers a lowered mood, it’s more likely that the person will skip their typical healthy mood regulation strategies—resulting in further mood problems.

When a person is stressed and begins to experience some initial changes in their mood, these symptoms often generate further increased stress.

Overworking, irritability, and withdrawal can all cause increased arguments. Someone who is absorbed by their own stress may become less emotionally available to their partner.

Unhealthy coping mechanisms can have direct effects on mood—e.g., excessive alcohol use leading to lower mood—as well as indirect effects, like excessive alcohol use leading to relationship problems, which then lead to lower mood. Avoidance coping increases both stress and anxiety.

Sleep deprivation – the risks.

Not getting enough sleep can cause a negative mood, low energy, difficulty concentrating, and a general inability to function as usual.

Lack of sleep may have severe consequences in some circumstances, such as if a person is driving or operating heavy machinery when tired.

The occasional night of poor sleep is unlikely to cause harm, but persistent sleep deprivation can increase the risk of several chronic health conditions.

According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people who get less than 7 hours of sleep per night have an increased risk of the following conditions: obesity, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, depression, arthritis, kidney disease.

Although a range of factors can cause these conditions, sleep deprivation may contribute to their development.