Stress, Sleep and Snoring: A Vicious Cycle

Learning how to manage stress and finding healthy ways to deal with situations that leave you feeling anxious goes a long way to living a long, healthy, and happy life.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has altered every aspect of American life, including health, employment, and education. The American Psychological Association warns that the negative mental health effects of the coronavirus will be serious and long-lasting.

The average reported stress level for adults in the United States related to the coronavirus pandemic is 5.9. When asked to rate their stress level in general, the average reported stress for U.S. adults is 5.4. This is significantly higher than the average stress level reported in the 2019 Annual Stress in America Survey, which was 4.9, and is the first significant increase in average reported stress since the survey began in 2007.

woman with insomnia

How Does Stress Affect Sleep?

Insomnia is often a result of stress. Insomnia is the persistent difficulty with sleep onset, maintenance, consolidation, and/or overall quality. It can happen even if you carve out adequate time each night for sleep and follow a proper bedtime routine. People with insomnia experience excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue, irritability, and other impairments during the day. Current estimates show 10-30% of adults live with insomnia.

In addition to insomnia, stress can lead to sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is when a recurring collapse of the upper airway happens during sleep. This can cause heavy snoring and choking and leave you extremely sleepy during the day. Hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, and other medical conditions are often attributed to stress. These can be predisposing factors for sleep apnea. A key indicator of sleep apnea that many are unaware of is snoring.

If you or your partner suffer from snoring, consider our ZQuiet anti-snoring mouthpiece, designed to treat snoring comfortably and effectively. Designed by dentists, it works to move the lower jaw just slightly forward, which widens the airway and alleviates snoring.

What stress does to your body in the long term?

It’s normal to experience occasional stress, but chronic stress can cause the nervous system to maintain a heightened state of arousal for longer periods. Being in this state can severely impact physical and mental health.

One effect of stress is sleep deprivation. Frequently being in a heightened state of alertness may delay the onset of sleep and cause rapid, anxious thoughts to occur at night. Insufficient sleep may cause further stress.

According to a National Sleep Foundation survey, 43 percent of people ages 13–64 have reported lying awake at night due to stress at least once in the past month.

Lifestyle Changes

These lifestyle changes may help some people reduce their stress levels:

  • Seek support from friends and family
  • Adapt to a more health-focused diet
  • Lower caffeine and alcohol intake
  • Maintain a work-life balance (avoid taking work home or checking work emails after work hours)
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