How Does Stress Affect Sleep Patterns and Memory?

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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, you’re likely to have difficulty sleeping problems. Moreover, stress may also affect your memory.

Stress – why does it occur?

It’s perfectly normal to experience stress some point in life. Sometimes we need it as a response to specific situation in our daily activities. Even the right amount of stress is necessary to help you keep alert and productive.

You need stress to perform your best performance. For example, when you have a task that needs a quick reaction such as winning a racing or completing an important job on time – stress is required to accommodate these situations.

The problem comes when you lose control on your stress. It could be counterproductive if you have it too much, increasing the risk of some health problems such as anxiety, decreased immune system (you tend to become sick more often), and so on.

How does stress affect your sleep patterns?

There are a lot of causes for sleep problems, and one of them is uncontrolled stress. In fact, sleep problems are more common in people with bad stress management. The bad news, lack of sleep would also make your stress get worse.

Here are a few facts about the two conditions.

  1. Caffeine! 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. This may cause difficulty sleeping at night if you drink it in the evening.
  2. Cortisol (stress hormone)! It plays key role for your fight response. For instance, when you are being threatened, cortisol stimulates your body to produce energy rapidly so you can respond the situation quickly. But too much cortisol may also affect your sleep patterns.
  3. Bad stress management! In this modern living of when workloads are everywhere, taking your task go home is sometimes hard to resist. And this may also have an effect on your sleep. 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 would also worsen your sleep patterns.

How to deal with? 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 and then plan ahead so you can prepare yourself better.
  2. Share the problem with your family or friends! This is simple, but would have a significant impact on your stress management.
  3. Schedule your sleep – Always go with 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.

Also, practice healthy habits such as a well-balanced diet and regular exercise! If you are being overweight, drop your excess pounds gradually! Keeping your weight off is important since obesity may have a role in affecting the sleep patterns.

Does stress also affect your memory?

Stress may not significantly affect the performance of your memory in a direct way.

But stress and its complications (particularly such as sleep deprivation, anxiety, and depression) are potential to make decreased memory more likely. These may factor into memory loss or increased intensity of forgetfulness – according to a German study at the University of Bamberg Department ‘Physiological Psychology’!

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