Relationship Between Sleep and Stress Proved

People had always known that there is a connection between poor sleep patterns and stress levels and how one can trigger off the other. Now it's official.

People had always known that there is a connection between poor sleep patterns and stress levels and how one can trigger off the other. Now it's official.

A recent study conducted by the University of Alabama in Birmingham, USA  has proved that adolescents who suffer from sleep problems and sleep for longer are more reactive to stress, which could also result in academic, behavioural and health problems.

It's a generally known and accepted fact that most teenagers don't get enough sleep. It's also a known fact that inadequate sleep and problems related to sleep over a period of time result in cognitive problems and ill-health both physically and mentally. This is because of the disruption it causes to a vital part of the neuroendocrine system which controls the way a person reacts to stress while also regulating many processes within the body. It's known as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis.

Although the connection between sleep and HPA has been studied in both adults and children. it hasn't been so when it comes to adolescents. However, since this is a time when many developmental changes occur in the human body, it needs to be properly understood.

Thus, the new study conducted by the University of Alabama in association with Arizona State University intended to explore the connection between sleep and reactivity to stress in adolescents. How sleep relates to the HPA axis was the specific goal.

The study took into account two dimensions of sleep - duration and problems associated with sleep - both from the angles of the teenagers and their parents. The cortisol levels of the subjects, both before and after social stress, were also considered. The gender aspect was also taken into account.

The study was conducted among 84 adolescents with the ages averaging 13. African-Americans in urban areas were considered for the study as prior information was available in this community and as they were more likely to suffer from insufficient sleep and are likely to be affected more by the lower quality of sleep due to them being more prone to school violence etc.

A stress test was conducted for them at the laboratory and saliva samples were taken from each participant before and after the test to measure their cortisol levels. They, as well as their parents, were then asked to report on their sleeping patterns over the course of a week, including details such as time of going to sleep and time of waking up, sleep problems such as insomnia, sleepiness during the daytime, and general quality of sleep.

Some of the problems that were most commonly reported by the study subjects were not having a good night's sleep, not being satisfied with the quality of sleep, feeling sleepy and tired during the day and requiring multiple reminders to wake up in the morning.

The cortisol levels were found to be higher for those who reported sleep problems and which were verified by their parents. The only unexpected scenario was higher cortisol levels in those who had slept longer hours, as previous studies had shown that those who sleep for shorter periods report higher cortisol levels. However, it was considered that sleeping for longer may not necessarily translate into higher quality of sleep, and may itself be a sleep problem. It was also shown that more cortisol was released during stress by females than males, indicating that girls may be even more sensitive to the poor quality of sleep.

The study had confirmed what the researchers had intended to see - that sleep problems induce the greater response to stress in adolescents and that it could lead to even bigger health issues in future unless steps are taken to resolve them.

There are many reasons why adolescents, as well as people from all age groups, may be losing out on quality sleep. One common problem, which may not be obvious to many, is the quality of their mattress. Sleeping on an uncomfortable mattress may have a huge impact on how well one sleeps and mattress sizes may also be an important factor.

Celeste, the leading mattress company in Dubai, has some of the most comfortable mattresses in the country. They come in different sizes and can be selected according to one's needs. Buying Celeste mattress may be one of the wisest measures one can take if one is suffering from sleep problems.


Categories: Bed and Bath

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