How Stress Impacts Sleep
Seven out of ten adults in the United States say they experience stress or anxiety daily, and most say it interferes at least moderately with their lives. About one-third report persistent stress or excessive anxiety daily or that they have had an anxiety or panic attack. Seven out of ten of those adults say they have trouble getting a good nights sleep.
These are among the findings of the 2007 Stress & Anxiety Disorders Survey, a report examining the effects of anxiety disorders and everyday stress and anxiety on sleeping. The survey was commissioned by the Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA).
Stress and Sleep Problems
The majority of adults with a stress-induced sleep problem experience it at least once per week, and more than half experience it at least several times a week.
Three-fourths of adults whose sleep is affected by stress or anxiety say that their sleep problems have also increased their stress and anxiety: 54 percent say that stress or anxiety increased their anxiety about falling asleep at night, and 52 percent of men and 42 percent of women reported it affected their ability to remain focused the next day.
Sleep Habits of Adults
Sixty-one percent of adults report sleeping seven hours at least four nights a week, which is down from the 67 percent reported in 2005. Among other findings:
- On average, adults sleep 6.6 hours each night.
- Eight out of ten adults have experienced some type of sleeping difficulty. Women are significantly more likely than men to experience problems, particularly not feeling rested after sleeping, having trouble falling asleep, and trouble staying asleep.
- About half wake up feeling unrefreshed or not rested: 61 percent women, 45 percent men.
- Nearly half have trouble falling asleep: 57 percent women, 38 percent men.
- About four in ten have trouble staying asleep: 50 percent women, 38 percent men.
- Most adults have not missed work or school because of sleep-related problems, but for those who do miss work or school, the average number of days missed per year is 4.9. Two-thirds of adults who missed work due to sleep-related difficulties have not told their employer the real reason they missed work.
- Block out seven to nine hours for a full night of uninterrupted sleep.
- Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine.
- Never watch TV, use the computer, or pay bills before going to bed.
- Avoid coffee, chocolate, caffeinated soda, or nicotine in the evening.
- Make sure your bedroom is cool, dark, and quiet.
- Use your bedroom for sleeping and relaxing only.
- Keep worry and stress outside the bedroom.
- Exercise regularly, but not too close to your bedtime.
- Get into bed only when you are tired.
- Avoid looking at the clock
- Try not to take naps.
- Talk to your doctor, if necessary.