Is stress leading to sleep deprivation?
Many people have trouble sleeping, regardless of whether it’s because they have trouble falling asleep, generally feel restless, or wake up at the crack of dawn despite still being super tired and not feeling fully rested.
Much of this is stress-related. Indeed, feeling stressed can severely affect the quality of your sleep, causing you to toss and turn instead of drifting off to dreamland.
In extremely stressful situations, sleep deprivation is fairly common. With stress, the body releases more adrenaline, which will keep you up for longer. This is usually short-term, and you’ll get back to your regular sleeping pattern as soon as the stressor is gone.
Chronic sleep deprivation only occurs if lack of sleep continues beyond the stressful situation.
What are the consequences of sleep deprivation?
While missing a few nights of good sleep may not seem like the end of the world, research by sleep scientist Matthew Walker proves otherwise. Indeed, sleep deprivation has numerous short-term, medium-term, and long-term effects that can be detrimental to your health, body, and mind.
Short-term effects (1-3 nights)
- Decreased cognitive skills, reduced ability to concentrate, poor memory
- Irritability and mood swings
- Reduced work and sports performance
- Higher risk of using drugs, alcohol, and energy drinks
Medium-term effects (3-5 nights)
- Higher risk of infection due to a weakened immune system
- Slower regeneration of cells
Long-term effects (6 nights or longer)
If you suffer from chronic sleep deprivation, then you’re more at risk of serious health implications, including:
- Heart disease
- Morbid obesity