We’re all busy, but how does being busy impact on sleep?
In modern Western society, being busy is worn like a badge of honour. Colleagues will often ask, ‘Are you busy?’, but rarely ask if you are achieving good work life balance or if you are feeling well. Whilst being busy is part of modern life as well all have responsibilities, research over the last few years has shown that being busy over a prolonged period of time is an important trigger for long-term problems with insomnia, depression and anxiety.
The role of being busy in the development of insomnia
Being busy and rushing from one thing to the next, leads to increases in sympathetic nervous system activity and increases in adrenaline. In the short term, that can increase performance and allow people to feel that they can get more done. We’ve all had the experience of pushing to meet deadlines and feeling as if we need less sleep but don’t seem tired. But if we continue at that pace the effects of sympathetic stimulation begin to appear. Feeling tired, having trouble winding down, getting irritable or anxious and not sleeping well.
Chronic stress or busyness increases the risk of insomnia
In research published in Sleep, Christopher Drake and the team at Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit showed that a strong risk factor for the development of chronic insomnia, (trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep for more than 3 months), is ongoing stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system. Whilst episodes of acute stress, can throw sleep out for days, once those episodes pass, sleep usually returns to normal. But, if there acute stress episodes occur on a background of being busy, people were x times more likely to develop chronic Insomnia.
- Are careful about being overly busy for extended periods of time
- Develop a good understanding of things you can do to improve sleep
- Seek help from health professionals early if chronic insomnia develops
- Podcast – Too busy to sleep
- Blog – Good Sleep. It’s not about the night.
- Podcast – Mindfulness and sleep
- Blog – Prioritise me time
- Blog – How can health retreats help with sleep?
Need more information about how you can sleep better?
At Sleephub we understand the struggle people endure with sleeping problems which is why we have created a comprehensive FAQs page with information for those seeking information about sleep disorders and potential solutions. You can also check out our extensive resources and subscribe to our podcast.