Sunday, April 2

The Link between Sleep Deprivation and Anxiety


A poor night’s rest can cause the brain to overreact. Sleep plays a significant role in your mental health. If you’ve ever been sleep-deprived, you know how it can make you anxious and irritable the next day. Adults require 7-8 hours of sleep daily to maintain optimal health. Anything less may lead to adverse health effects like anxiety and depression.

 Some consequences of a poor night’s sleep are obvious — fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and a yearning for bed. But other effects, like a weaker drive to be active the next day, are frequently overlooked because they’re unexpected or misunderstood.

Sleep deprivation may make you feel anxious, affecting your sleep. If your mind keeps you awake, or you can’t fall asleep and stay asleep in that case, you may have an anxiety or sleep disorder. Feel free to visit medambien to choose from a variety of treatments for your anxiety or sleep issues. But you may do some things to help reduce anxiety and sleep more soundly.

Lack of Sleep and Anxiety are Connected

Anxiety and lack of sleep are highly connected. People who suffer from sleep problems and those who have anxiety struggle with sleep issues. When a person is not sleeping well, his body releases more cortisol, a hormone linked with stress. This may cause uncomfortable symptoms, such as headaches or digestive issues that make you anxious or give you little energy because of poor sleep.

The more activated your nervous system is, the harder it is to fall asleep. So, if you’re feeling anxious, it’s unlikely you can fall asleep and stay asleep. This can cause a loop where you’re not sleeping and feeling more anxious. This results in even more issues with sleep.

Can Lack of Sleep Cause Anxiety?

If you’ve ever had a poor night’s sleep, you might have experienced a little anxiety the following day. Research shows that lack of sleep may contribute to this irritability. Sleep loss intensifies reactions in the amygdala and anterior insula. These are brain parts that are associated with anxiety. These reactions are most vigorous in people who display high trait anxiety. Trait anxiety refers to the anxiety that is part of the personality.

Sleep deprivation doesn’t always mean that a person experiences more anxiety. But the study suggests that people already prone to anxiety may experience more significant anxiety when they’re sleep-deprived. People with insomnia symptoms are more vulnerable to anxiety during stress.

Sleep difficulties may contribute to and intensify mental health conditions like anxiety or depression. Lack of sleep increases cortisol, which may then increase anxiety. It’s more likely for lack of sleep to cause anxiety when other factors are present, like negative thought patterns or avoidance behaviours.

Suppose someone is chronically sleep-deprived and not managing the stress associated with that. In that case, it can lead to an anxiety disorder. Common disorders related to insomnia include the following:

  • Depression
  • Panic attack
  • Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) 

There’s a bidirectional connection between anxiety and sleep problems. This means that sleep disturbances may lead to anxiety, and anxiety may lead to sleep deprivation. Sleep disturbances don’t directly cause anxiety disorders. Still, disturbed sleep can contribute to anxiety (and vice versa) when other factors are at play, such as:

  • Unhelpful thought patterns (cognitions) when you’re trying to sleep
  • Unhelpful beliefs about sleep itself
  • The absence of good sleep hygiene

Role of a Weakened Emotional Control System

In contrast, the amygdala area of the brain showed the opposite pattern: stronger reactivity following sleep deprivation. Unlike the medial prefrontal cortex, which regulates emotions and actions, the amygdala is closely linked to the actual experiences of emotion, most notably the feelings of fear.

The more the medial prefrontal cortex reduces activity following sleep deprivation, the more anxious people feel. Rising anxiety also correlates with poor connections between the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala. Feelings of stress and anxiety after a poor night’s sleep seem to be driven by a weakened emotional control system in your brain. Without the strengthening effects of sleep, the prefrontal cortex can less control how the amygdala processes anxiety, allowing fear to reach unhealthy levels.

But what is it about sleep itself that actually helps to relieve anxiety? The researchers investigated different stages of sleep to see whether some phases were more helpful than others. They found that one’s amount of slow-wave sleep during the night — the deepest phase of sleep occurring soon after falling asleep — predicted how much their anxiety levels would drop overnight. In addition, more slow-wave sleep leads to less anxiety in the morning.

Wonders of a Good Night’s Sleep

The links between anxiety and sleep often flow in both directions. For example, higher anxiety during the night stops people from sleeping, and sleep deprivation makes them more anxious. The researchers found poor sleep worsened anxiety regardless of how nervous people felt the night before. To prevent the cycle from starting, it’s essential to make time for a whole night’s sleep, even after a good day with little stress.

When people are anxious, they often see threats where none exist. Fortunately, sleep helps to boost the brain networks that prevent these overreactions. In addition, sufficient shut-eye allows people to focus their energy on the real problems in their life instead of the toxic thinking patterns and manufactured worries that can make life seem overwhelming.


There is a close relationship between how long people sleep and how they experience the world. The longer people go without sleep, the more distressed they begin to feel. 

The links between anxiety and sleep often flow in both directions. Higher anxiety during the night stops people from sleeping, and sleep deprivation makes them more anxious. 

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