Stress is a natural physical and mental reaction to life experiences. Everyone expresses stress from time to time. Anything from everyday responsibilities like work and family to serious life events such as a new diagnosis, war, or the death of a loved one can trigger stress. For immediate, short-term situations, stress can be beneficial to your health. It can help you cope with potentially serious situations. Your body responds to stress by releasing hormones that increase your heart and breathing rates and ready your muscles to respond.

Yet if your stress response doesn’t stop firing, and these stress levels stay elevated far longer than is necessary for survival, it can take a toll on your health. Chronic stress can cause a variety of symptoms and affect your overall well-being. Symptoms of chronic stress include:

  • irritability
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • headaches
  • insomnia

 

 
 

How Stress Affects Sleep

This infographic from Insider Living shows how stress affects sleep.

  • 26% of women report trouble sleeping at least once a week compared to only 16% of men.
  • 19% of individuals ages 25-64 admit to losing sleep due to stress a few nights per week.
  • 54% say that stress or anxiety increased their anxiety about falling asleep at night.
  • 52% of men and 42% of women reported that stress affected their ability to remain focused the next day.

Check out more facts about sleep.