Can stress cause sleep disorders?

Video Overview

Hello, I am Doctor Mark Abramson. I am a dentist who practices in both Redwood City and Monterey California. With my practice limited to treating the special needs of patients with TMJ, oral facial pain and sleep apnea. I am board certified by the American Academy of Oral Facial Pain, the American Academy of Pain Management and the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine. Can stress cause sleep disorders? Yes, certainly it can. A person’s stress that they have in their lives can create insomnia, it can wake us up in sleep but what I think is important to recognize is that sleep apnea itself is a major stress on the body and the mind. The most important thing to your brain is breathing, taking the next breath. And when your airway is disrupted and blocked during sleep, this causes a major reaction to the brain and to the body which releases stress hormones. Over and over again, getting disrupted during sleep has very serious harmful effects on your cardiovascular system and also on the body’s general health. If we are not able to have continuous sleep to get into what's called "deep sleep", for the body to get refreshed, to produce hormones that it needs, then we don’t get that good refreshed feeling in the morning. The other interesting thing about stress and the stress of sleep apnea itself is that there is an important phase of sleep called "REM sleep" or "dream sleep" where we consolidate memory, organize and refresh our brain and if we don’t get into this stage of sleep, we don’t have the clarity of thought and the emotional balance that we would have with a deep refreshing night's sleep.