How does stress affect sleep?
High levels of stress lead to a poor night’s sleep. Stress activates the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, a system of tissues and organs that helps your body respond to stress by increasing energy and decreasing tiredness.
Signs of stress
Stress can sometimes lead to unexpected symptoms, such as:
- Stiff or painful muscles and joints
- Digestive changes like indigestion, diarrhea, or constipation
- Weight changes
- Sexual problems
- Memory problems
- Trouble concentrating
- Increased use of drugs or alcohol
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Colleen Ehrnstrom is a licensed clinical psychologist with a specialty practice in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Areas of expertise include insomnia and other sleep disorders, anxiety, and depression.
Dr. Ehrnstrom is not a medical provider and is not providing any recommendations regarding medications. Rather, she is sharing and reviewing the research as it relates to education when learning how best to treat insomnia.