Our bodies operate in conjunction with our minds. Whenever we feel exhausted, we also find it difficult and tiring to think properly.

Likewise, when our minds are dazed and confused and feel like it’s filled with so many thoughts all at once, our bodies also feel deadbeat.

Hence the importance of getting sufficient sleep in order to prevent and combat stress and anxiety.

If you’re the kind of person who has the tendency to overthink or someone who easily gets anxious, even without any good reason, sleep debt is your worst enemy.

Sleep debt is the condition in which a person gets inadequate sleep for consecutive days.

This condition is capable of triggering anxiety to every person, whether or not that person is suffering from an anxiety disorder.

This article will provide a detailed understanding with regards to sleep debt.


What causes anxiety from sleep debt?

Lack of sleep has a lot of negative effects on our body that can result in having problems dealing with anxiety and stress.

Although applicable to anyone, sleep debt mostly affects people who already have a pre-existing anxiety disorder. This makes those people experience difficulty in coping with life in general.

One interesting piece of information about sleep debt is the fact that it not only creates and/or triggers anxiety but also causes numerous issues.

These issues, whether mental and physical, that can ultimately lead to anxiety build up. The following are just a few of the many causes of anxiety from sleep debt:

Recurring adrenaline rush

One of the causes of anxiety is sudden and recurring adrenaline release.

The human body, without further information available, has been observed to be capable of releasing adrenaline rapidly and effortlessly, even when the brain doesn’t receive stress.

Moreover, this sudden adrenaline rush makes the human body feel tense and develops into anxiety symptoms.

What’s more interesting is the data that scientists have gathered which show that people with sleep debt are ones who have higher levels of chronic adrenaline.

This means that when a person has inadequate sleep, adrenaline flows through that person’s veins more frequently.

For people without any existing anxiety conditions, sleep debt might not be too great of an issue, but to those who have them are more likely to mismanage the adrenaline rush.

If you’re one of those individuals, you might experience and feel your anxiety levels intensifying.

Stress over lack of sleep

There are times where a cause of anxiety isn’t even that complicated. A common problem for people suffering sleep debt is that they don’t get enough sleep and that alone makes them prone to stress.

As ironic as it sounds, there are people who keep themselves awake at night to mentally scold themselves for not getting enough sleep and further stress themselves for the same reason. This mounts up to anxiety.

Any other added stress, regardless of who caused it, will create more issues within oneself and will make it harder for the host to deal with anxiety.

Anticipatory anxiety

One of the unique features of our brain is what we call “anticipatory anxiety.”

It is a natural kind of anxiety that we experience whenever we think of a situation or an event that might happen in the future.

Research shows that people who suffer sleep debt, get their anticipatory anxiety boosted and built up to actual anxiety once faced with stress.

This is particularly common among those who have suffered or are currently suffering from anxiety.

Physical symptoms

Inadequate sleep can lead to some unusual physical behavior.

You may observe that:

  • Various parts of the body experience sudden pains and weird sensations
  • You often get headaches
  • You often get backaches
  • Your arms and legs experience an itchy or stinging sensation, sometimes feeling like an electric shock
  • Your nerves weirdly spark up

The behaviors mentioned above may be very stressful for people with anxiety, especially the ones with panic attacks.

In many instances, physical symptoms resemble other diseases that are serious. This makes those who suffer anxiety be in their miserable state whenever they’re continuously sleep deprived.

This is more troublesome for people who get very little sleep and feel like they’ve slept enough, unknowingly adding up to their sleep debt.

Their brains might function like those of that get enough sleep and trick them into thinking that they, too, have gotten enough sleep even when they did not, and even when their bodies act otherwise.

This inflicts fear over health problems upon people who have panic attacks.

Hormonal changes

Sleep also plays a huge role in our hormones and can greatly affect our hormonal levels.

Our body is in its healthiest state when we get enough sleep, and when our body is healthy, it becomes capable our regulating our hormones.

Sleep deprivation can unbalance our hormones and increase our overall anxiety levels.


Brain stress

Our bodies aren’t the only ones affected when we don’t get enough sleep. Studies show that sleep deprivation is linked to brain dysfunctions, which can further intensify anxiety.

As a matter of fact, serious sleep deprivation causes the brain to hallucinate and experience a variety of symptoms that are similar to that of paranoid schizophrenia. It is still unclear as to why this happens.

Scientists believe that it is because when we are sleeping, our brains regenerate nerve cells that affect different areas of thought, health, etc.

So when you don’t get enough sleep, these nerve cells fail to regenerate, and sometimes even stop functioning altogether.

Scientists also discovered that the brain has areas (the temporal lobe being one) that completely ‘turn off’ when the host doesn’t get enough sleep.

That kind of reaction usually causes two problems regarding anxiety and sleep.

One, it is probable that the parts of the brain which are responsible for coping suddenly shuts down and

Two, it’s likely that in order to compensate for the brain parts that shut down, the remaining functioning parts of the brains work extra hard.

This causes the brain to experience extreme stress that ultimately leads to anxiety.

Body stress

Body stress is most probably the most significant cause of anxiety. Body stress is not only caused by sleep debt, but also other factors.

The body experiences stress when it is unable to relieve itself from the strain and pressure during sleep.

During sleep, the body repairs itself and helps the muscle tensions and other pressures relax.

When we fail to get enough sleep, the body’s stress builds up and results in more issues, physical and mental, that interferes with our coping mechanisms.

Always remember that the body and the mind are very much connected with each other and that this is backed by facts and scientific research.

When our body is stressed, our minds accumulate stressful thoughts.

This is why when our bodies fail to grab the opportunity to heal (get enough sleep, that is), stress in both body and mind build up significantly.

If you are experiencing sleep debt because of stress, then you might want to check out this guide on How to Get Rid of Stress Instantly to Help You Fall Asleep.

If you need more tips to sleep better read the following article and let us know if you found it useful.

20 techniques to help you fall asleep



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