Sleep and stress

Sadly, stress is very much a part of modern life. Whether it’s caused by our personal lives, our work or just a bad day, stress is inevitable. And stress can have a serious effect on our health and sleep patterns.

So, what are the ways in which stress wrecks our sleep? Let’s look at them in more detail:

Stress prevents us from logging enough sleep

Sleep and Focus

Sleepless nights can have a detrimental effect on us in many different ways but did you know that even one sleepless night could affect your focus? A study conducted by Willamette University in Oregon, USA suggests that a sleepless night may affect your ability to filter out information and focus on what’s important.

Sleep and Health Issues

When we sleep, our immune system is busy producing protective, infection-fighting substances that help protect us from bacteria and viruses. A lack of sleep means that we’re unable to build up this protection and our bodies will take longer to recover from illness. This in itself is bad enough, but sleep deprivation can lead to far more serious health issues.

Sleep and Diabetes

Diabetes and sleep issues can often go hand in hand. When blood sugar levels are high, the kidneys try to get rid of this by urinating. This leads to people getting up frequently in the night to go to the lavatory, and sleep is obviously affected by this. In turn, diabetes can also cause sleep loss and there is even evidence that not sleeping well can increase the risk of developing diabetes in the first place.

Sleep and Memory

Sleep is essential for our brains to forge new connections and help with memory retention. At least two processes are at work while we sleep. Firstly, sleep helps to protect new memories from the disruptions that are inevitable during the day. And secondly, sleep consolidates memories according to their importance.

Sleep loss and weight gain

One of the most surprising results from sleep deprivation is the fact that it can lead to weight gain. There is a clear link between sleep and the peptides that regulate our appetite. Ghrelin stimulates hunger, whilst leptin suppresses it and shortened sleep time has been proven to be linked to decreases in leptin and increases in ghrelin.