Do you feel perennially stressed? Are you not sleeping well? A new research has found that daily stress could be the reason why you aren’t sleeping well. And that poor sleep, in turn, may be causing more stress the next day—leading to a vicious cycle that can affect both you and your families.
Daily psychosocial stressers—tensions at work, school or home, and perception of not having enough time for family and personal life—can have an impact on nightly sleep quality and quantity. These are also associated with interrupted sleep and a longer period of time before falling asleep.
The findings come from two separate studies, both carried out by researchers in the Department of Biobehavioral Health (BBH) at Penn State.
In the first study, published online in a recent issue of Journal of Sleep Research, the team gathered information from 1,600 daily interviews with 102 midlife employees in the IT industry.
The team found that shorter and lower-quality sleep because of stress can then lead to more stressers the following day. The participants reported higher work-to-family conflict than usual on the days following shorter and lower-quality sleep, as well as less time for themselves to exercise and also less time for their children.
This in turn affected the next night’s sleep, with all three stressers linked with a longer time to fall asleep that night.
In the second study, published in Annals of Behavioural Medicine, the team analysed 1,900 daily interviews from employees in the IT and extended care industries and also found that better sleep quality was linked to improved emotions, more positive events and experiences, less conflict and fewer stressers on the following day.
Commenting on the significance of the findings, Orfeu Buxton, senior author of the two studies, said, “Sleep plays a central role in our daily lives. A day with less stress and conflict is followed by a night where it’s easier to get to sleep. Having a good night of sleep is more likely to be followed by a workday with less stress and conflict. In this case, sleep is a powerful source of resilience in difficult times.”
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