The effects of sleep on one’s overall health are well-documented. Lack of sleep can lead to adverse affects on attention, focus, and memory. Sleep deprivation has also been associated with depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, diabetes, suppressed immunity, and weight gain. Unfortunately, the stresses of our fast-paced society tend to prevent the development of regular sleep patterns, keeping many people from getting adequate sleep during the night. Read on to learn how chronic stress can affect normal sleep patterns and contribute to various sleep disorders.
When our bodies are burdened with chronic stress, whether from work, finances, or schoolwork, the adrenal glands are continuously stimulated to release cortisol, the human stress hormone. A 2001 study performed by scientists at the Penn State University College of Medicine has shown that men with the highest degree of chronic insomnia secreted the highest amounts of cortisol, suggesting that their inability to sleep is associated with a chronically hyperstimulated stress response pathway. In other words, chronic stress can lead to chronic insomnia, sleep disturbances, and the symptoms associated with depression.
How stress influences a person’s sleep patterns also largely depends on their ability to cope with that stress. Those who tend to brood and focus on their stresses and worries will experience more sleep deprivation than those who have a better ability to adjust focus away from their negative emotions. Whatever your worries, sleep can help you to escape and heal from stress and its physiological repercussions.
If you are having difficulties falling asleep due to stress or another sleep disorder, consider seeking treatment at Menorah Medical Center of Kansas City. Our hospital offers patients comprehensive sleep disorder services to help them find relief from sleep deprivation. Learn more about our Sleep Disorders Program by visiting our website or by contacting our helpful staff at (913) 498-6000.