How Does Stress Affect Sleep Patterns and Memory?

Experts believe that stress and sleep can affect each other. If you have a good sleep cycle, you are less likely to have stress. And if you are being at stressful period, this can put you at greater chance of having difficulty sleeping problem. Moreover stress may also affect your memory, particularly true if it occurs too often (acute stress).

Stress – why does it occur and do you need it?

It not only affects you emotionally but also behaviorally and physically. Nevertheless, medically it’s perfectly normal to experience stress some point in life. Sometime we need it as a response to daily life. You might also like to know about the link between stress and weight gain, before continuing!

Even the right amount of stress is very crucial to help you to keep energetic & alert.

This kind of emotional fluctuation is also helpful to make sure you perform your best performance in finishing certain tasks that you need to do. For example, when you have a kind of task that need a quick reaction such as winning a racing or completing an important job on time – you need the right amount stress to explore your best performance.

The problem comes when you cannot control your stress. Having too much episodes of this emotional condition can cause some problems such as anxiety, decreased immune system (you tend to become sick more often), and so on.

How does stress affect your sleep patterns (both quantity and quality)?

There are a lot of causes that can trigger problems of sleep, and one of them is uncontrolled stress. In fact, poor sleep patterns or sleep problems are also pretty common in people with bad stress management. This is one of the reasons for why most experts think that there may be a strong connection of both conditions.

Even each one can affect each other – as noted before. The following are pieces of information about facts of both conditions so thus you will completely understand that both conditions are linked.

Stress and ‘lose sleep over’

Most of people have had the episode of losing sleep over for at least once /twice in live. You may find that sleep is not easy to come either because of you find yourself waking in the middle of night or between your sleep cycles – or because a condition of when you are gripped by rumination. Stress and a condition of losing sleep over can affect each other.

Frequent tight schedules

Obviously, individuals who are on very busy track are more likely to have problem in getting adequate sleep a day. It’s very clear since most of busy individuals tend to not devote adequate time for their sleep. Moreover, too busy also can put you at greater chance of having more stress.

These factors can be a great combination to affect your sleep patterns. If you have a lot of responsibilities (too many), it’s much better to consider delegating some to your coworker or others – so thus you can have a better chance of freeing up time and you are less likely to experience stress.

Other factors-related stress that affect your sleep

These can include:

  1. About caffeine intake! During stressful period, you tend to find anything that can help you cope with the problem – one of them may be by drinking some caffeine or even too much consumption of caffeine. This can cause difficulty sleeping in the night. Furthermore, drinking caffeine should not be your choice! Instead, it can worsen your stress.
  2. Cortisol (a kind of stress hormone)! It plays key role for the fight response. For instance, when you are being threatened, cortisol can trigger your body to produce energy rapidly to respond the situation quickly. But too much stress will trigger excessive cortisol which then can be potential to affect your sleep patterns.
  3. Over-thinking! In this modern living of when workloads are everywhere, taking your work go home with you is very common. In other words, it’s often not easy to come home from a day without thinking your works /tasks. Thoughts of them may not leave your mind easily – as a result, you may need more efforts to fall asleep.

In addition, did you know that excessive stress can increase your risk of depression and anxiety? The existence of these mental problems also can worsen the problem of sleep patterns.

How to treat sleep problem due to stress?

memory_and_sleep_problem_in_stress_illustrationThe question itself has revealed the answer. If the cause of your sleep problem is your stress, then controlling your stress is the key – the following tips may help:

  1. Find the trigger factors! The first crucial step you need to concern as well is to figure out the cause of your stress. Identify these trigger factors as much as possible, then plan ahead for the treatment or other appropriate steps to cope with the problem!
  2. Control the emotion of anything on what /how you think or what you expect! You can learn and practice thought management exercise if necessary!
  3. Share the problem with your family or friends! This is simple and often suggested for stress management.
  4. Schedule your sleep – make sure to gets into the same schedule every day! Even in the weekend, never disturb the schedule! Most adults should get about at least 7-8 hours of sleep /night.

Don’t forget to practice healthy habits as much as possible such as well-balanced diet and regular exercise! If you are being overweight, do an appropriate weight loss diet along with a regular exercise to restore your healthy weight. Some studies found that obesity may have a role in affecting the sleep patterns.

Does it also affect your memory?

Stress may not significantly affect the performance of your memory directly.

But in fact, stress and its complications (particularly such as sleep deprivation, anxiety, and depression) are also often associated with many cases of decreased memory, memory loss, or increased intensity of forgetfulness – according to a German study at the University of Bamberg Department ‘Physiological Psychology’!

How does stress affect your memory?

Again, anxiety and stress are often found together. Both have the similar way in affecting the way of your concentration.

Your mind tends to become distracted /over-stimulated during stressful period, and this can decrease your ability to remember. Even there is also a chance of memory loss to occur if you have stress from a severe emotional trauma!

Sleep deprivation due to stress may affect memory

During sleep, your brain doesn’t completely sleep. But you will have some rapid eye movement (REM) to help improve your memory.

And experts believe that getting adequate amounts of REM during sleep can help improve and maintain the performance of your memory.

On the other hand, if you experience sleep deprivation (both quality & quantity), you are less likely to have adequate amounts of REM. As a result, you also tend to have memory loss or problems of memory such as frequent forgetfulness.