Stress as a Leading Cause of Sleep Disorders

in Stress Research and Insights

Fellow research review of- "Perceptions of work stress causes and effective interventions in employees working in public, private and non-governmental organizations: a qualitative study" research conducted by  Kamaldeep BhuiSokratis DinosMagdalena Galant-MiecznikowskaBertine de Jongh, and Stephen Stansfeld.



  • Recent studies have enumerated the relationship between sleep and health disorders.  Studies indicate that adequate sleep is a simple yet effective strategy that can reduce the incidences of several disorders. The aim of this study is to explore the relationship between stress and sleep disturbances. Over the years, there has been a vast increase in morbidity and insomnia-related hazards. The approach to these cases proved that about 7% of adolescents worldwide suffer from insomnia defects. Recent studies show that insomnia and stress are common in 40% of the world's adult population.  Stress poses a great threat to the psychological and cardiometabolic health of every individual. Sleep reactivity bears its aetiological role in insomnia disorders and cognitive-emotional processes. 

  • The analysis from this research served as the background for developing strategies in myAir app that efficiently meets the needs of clients. Several studies indicated that the coping strategies in adults were inefficient in managing increasing levels of stress. Often times, individuals are unable to identify the stressors that significantly affect their physical, mental, and psychological wellbeing. myAir app may ask questions like, “do you think you were more stressed yesterday?” It may also ask you to mention the situations that happened. This serves as baseline data for identifying stressors peculiar to an individual

  • Stressors and stress disorders are issues that need urgent attention. However, most individuals take the importance of sleep for granted. Most people are engrossed in eating greens, cutting down carbs, drinking water, doing yoga- all of which are important, yet, they do not replace the need for quality sleep. Most individuals believe healthy feeding alone is enough to negate the stress and less sleep duration. However, body cells wear out most times and need time to regenerate. The rate of cells burning out depends solely on disruption in sleep patterns and stress activity engaged in. As a case study, individuals who engage in stressful activities and healthy feeding often have insomnia and insomnia-related complications in the long run. However, on the other hand, regular sleep patterns have helped negate these complications in individuals that engaged in it-according to our research.  


From the study carried out, it was reported that adverse working conditions and management practices are common causes of work stress. Stress-inducing management practices included unrealistic demands, lack of support, unfair treatment, low decision latitude, lack of appreciation, effort–reward imbalance, conflicting roles, lack of transparency and poor communication. Organizational interventions were perceived as effective if they improved management styles, and included physical exercise, taking breaks and ensuring adequate time for planning work tasks. Personal interventions used outside of work were important to prevent and remedy stress.


Stress and sleep disorders are becoming subjects of health complications in the modern age. Complications include- depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, and cardiovascular disease; on a general note, insomnia and circadian effects. The research work based its interest on stress and their impact on health, relative to sleep patterns. 

Props to the research; we have developed a universal approach to help curb all these complications. Before this, there was a complicated relationship between stress and sleep patterns in most individuals, especially adults. Most individuals subject themselves to strenuous activities posing a threat to sleep regulation. As regards this, there is a need for a proportional sleep pattern regarding stress in individuals. Undoubtedly, insomnia- the absence of sleep-is mostly caused by increased stressors and high alcohol intake. Insomnia disorder further leads to chronic insomnia in some individuals, as noticed in the research. 

However, there is a huge differential insomnia complication in individuals that engage in proper sleep patterns and less strenuous activities. The major assignment of the research was to develop an approach to curb insomnia and interaction with stress disorders. According to the research, neurobiological reactions can be linked to stress. Previously, there was no clear medical conclusion about the relationship between stress and sleep routine. Consequently, the disorders became more rampant and were linked to insomnia and inadequate sleep due to stress. It has been proven that stress contributes immensely to all sleep vulnerability and physiological complications. 

From one of the patients studied, it was noticed that a particular patient suffered interrupted sleep but not completely insomnia. This disturbed sleep was further studied and observed to be a side effect of stress and irregular sleep due to work schedules. Irregular sleep also bears symptoms like- fast heartbeat and gastrointestinal disorders. Upon further observations and studies, the sleep-wake cells in the patients above have suffered a great reduction and loss. Reduction in these sleep cells led to disturbed sleep patterns in the patient. Frequent strenuous activities and little sleep cause loss of these cells; these activities do not allow cell-reproduction and replication. 

In place of cell replication, the body is subjected to cognitive and behavioral disorders. Consequently, the initial defect in sleep and sleep disruption led to the patient's increased sleep reactivity and insomnia disorders. In this patient, sleep reactivity is evident in the disturbed sleep pattern. 

It is important to note that sleep reactivity is a normal body process. According to studies, sleep reactivity was evident in insomnia caused by the environment and disrupting thoughts. Sleep stimulants and circadian shifts also disrupted sleep in some patients. 

Our main goal is to develop a mobile and easily accessible medical approach for everyone- hence the myAir app. As studied in some individuals, some pay more attention to other things and overlook their body conditions, even forfeiting sleep, giving room for anxiety and depression. myAir app offers health education on the importance of sleep to clients. This helps change their behaviour towards rest and sleep. 


Sleep reactivity can be associated with environmental factors and insomnia disorder. Stress has been medically found out to be a major cause of insomnia and sleep disorders. Stress leads to the inability of individuals to maintain or initiate sleep due to insufficient sleep cells in the body. A recent study has shown that several people that sleep normally engage in strenuous activities than other sleepers. Therefore, we concluded that; engaging in more strenuous activities subjects the body to a high risk of insomnia disorders in the future. 

Furthermore, sleep reactivity is a common biological process that plays a role in stress. Sleep reactivity moderates the risk of stress and insomnia disorders. Individuals with high sleep reactivity exhibit a higher moderation of stress and insomnia risk. This is to say that- their high sleep reactivity serves as the balance and increases stress complications. 

Higher sleep reactivity subjects the body to depression. Hence, insomnia acts as the relationship between sleep reactivity and depression. Sleep reactivity- the inability of the body to fall asleep due to stress must be greatly avoided. On the other hand, individuals who have low sleep reactivity have undisturbed sleep when stressed. Sleep reactivity and the impact of stress vary in individuals. It is important that individuals understand their bodies and reactions to sleep. This is beneficial in maintaining a balance between work and rest such that it does not impair sleep quality. 

One of the most efficient and effective methods of dealing with sleep reactivity is by reducing stressors. It is important to note that every individual varies in sleep reactivity and stress-related disorders. Those with highly reactive sleepers experience drastic deterioration of sleep when stressed. That is to say that their body cells become more active when stressed, leading to less sleep duration. 

Are you always busy, maybe with work, and you find it difficult to sleep? You need to use myAir app. myAir app is focused on helping clients attain high-level wellness irrespective of current stress status. myAir team understands that stress is a regular part of an individual’s life. Therefore, it is important to cope with them by creating a balance between your health and stressors. Individuals who have suffered the consequences of stressors like sleep deprivation, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, congestive heart failure, can also benefit from myAir app.

The good news is that myAir app can detect the stress levels of the user and also the cognitive situation by collecting data from the user’s smartwatch and the cognitive assessments that the user answers in the myAir app. After consultation, the myAir app ensures sufficient follow-ups on the routines that have been suggested. Following the recommended practices is designed to aid adequate sleep and reduce the sleep disorders resulting from deprivation.


As earlier discussed, stress and sleep reactivity affect the duration of sleep in individuals. Insomnia, as a relative case study, is a biological condition where the body finds it hard to go to rest and sleep. Insomnia greatly affects the health state of an individual. If it is not promptly attended to, the individual may suffer severe physiological consequences. Every individual has a different body metabolism and hence the relationship with sleep. According to research, sleep duration must be about six to eight hours in all humans, irrespective of age and occupation. The body requires adequate sleep to prevent the sudden breakdown of the body and reduce the risk of insomnia.

Several studies indicate that the general cause of insomnia is stress and traumatic psychological effects. However, insomnia due to stress is experienced in the short term. This can be prevented from being a long-term case by adopting healthy sleep habits. Long-term insomnia lasts for months if not treated early. 

Common causes of insomnia that may significantly affect sleep pattern include; 

  • Stress is a major cause of insomnia. 

  • Strenuous activities, or jobs

  •  Trauma contributes greatly to insomnia. 

  • Most people have travel, and work routines that affect sleep patterns. 

  • disruption of the body's metabolism and sleep lead to insomnia. 

  • Another cause of insomnia is poor sleep habits. 

  • Most people that have insomnia have been found out to reside in unconducive environments that disrupt sleep. 

  • Others may engage in unnecessary activities like watching movies, playing games, and using their mobile phone during their sleep time. 

All these activities lead to insomnia and an avenue for severe insomnia disorders in the future if not curbed. Late-night consumption of foods also leads to insomnia. Foods need enough time for proper digestion before going to bed. However, some individuals eat food and immediately want to go to sleep. This habit is unhealthy and a threat to proper sleep. 

Disruptions in daily activities and routines harm the body. The cardinal effects of sleep work disorders are sleep disturbance/insomnia during the sleep period or excessive sleepiness during the wake period. Excess stress leads to insomnia which in turn affects sleep patterns. 


Sleep is a central concept for understanding and building life processes. All creatures face threats to homeostasis, which must be met with adaptive responses. Our future as individuals depends on our ability to adapt to potent stressors. We face a lack of institutional resources at a societal level- inadequate health facilities and unfavorable experiences subjecting humans to stress. 

As individuals, we live with the insecurities of our daily existence, including job stress, marital stress, and unsafe schools and neighborhoods. In contrast, stress may lead to disease- if stressors are too strong and persistent in individuals who are biologically vulnerable because of age, genetic, or constitutional factors. 

Disrupted sleep patterns subject individuals to depression and anxiety. If not taken care of at an early stage, it leads to severe heart complications and death. The primary measure is the therapeutic procedure, which helps the user deal with depression. Therapeutic measures may include interpersonal psychotherapy and psychodynamic therapy. As suggested by therapists, different therapeutic measures depend on age, situation, and gender. 

Furthermore, another method is to adopt a proper sleep routine. Ideally, the body needs about six to eight hours of sleep in 24 hours. This duration gives the body enough time to regenerate so that the individual will be  and develop cells for body metabolism. There is a regeneration of worn-out tissues, brain cells and improved homeostasis during this period. 

Another curative measure is abstinence from alcohol. According to various studies, most people suffering from poor sleep quality consume alcohol to aid sleep. Contrary to popular belief that alcohol can improve sleep quality, it does quite the opposite. Instead of promoting activeness, alcohol shortens sleep, sometimes causing insomnia and anxiety.

Moderate regular exercises may also be beneficial in improving sleep quality. Studies also show that recreational activities may reduce stress, thereby promoting sleep. Diligent follow-up on these measures as suggested by experts facilitates sleep, which promotes health. In addition, stressors and sleep reactivity must be kept minimal always for healthy living. myAir app provides daily support in helping clients achieve good sleeping habits that will eventually have  a positive impact on sleep quality. 

Reference and Footnotes:

Original publication: Perceptions of work stress causes and effective interventions in employees working in public, private and non-governmental organizations: a qualitative study.

By Kamaldeep BhuiSokratis DinosMagdalena Galant-MiecznikowskaBertine de Jongh, and Stephen Stansfeld

Published in 2016 by PMC


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