Stress or insomnia event


Almost all people have experienced or will experience an episode of stress or insomnia in their lives.

However, although these two pathologies have things in common and can even occur together, the reality is that they have characteristics that make them very different. We are going to review all those qualities to better understand both concepts, through a summary on the differences between insomnia and stress .

What are the differences between stress and insomnia?

In order to know the differences between stress and insomnia, the first thing we must do is define each of these elements.

Stress is a physiological response to a threatening situation, which can be punctual or maintained over time , so it would go from being an adaptive response, in the first case, to a pathology, in the second, which can have consequences for the physical and mental health of the person who suffers continuous stress.

In fact, there is a cataloging between different types of stress in which the origin of the same is distinguished and therefore the usefulness of the physiological reaction of the organism. In the first case, we would speak of positive stress, or eustress, in which our body prepares itself to face a situation that requires extra effort . The other typology would be negative stress, or distress. In this case, the physiological activation exceeds the levels of our balance, and that is when the negative symptoms appear.

To continue distinguishing the differences between stress and insomnia, we will now define the second element. It is a sleep disturbance that can manifest itself in various ways , whether as difficulty falling asleep at the beginning of the night, having a light sleep that causes us to wake up repeatedly, or waking up very early and no longer being able to return. to sleep. As with stress, insomnia can appear as an isolated episode, for different causes, or manifest itself in acute and even chronic phases, the longer it is maintained over time.

Although it may seem like a mild problem, insomnia can have very serious repercussions on the person who suffers from it , if the situation is not corrected in time, because the lack of a restful sleep over a continuous period can cause sequelae at an organic level , psychological and in all areas of the subject's life. To avoid reaching this situation there are different therapies with a good degree of effectiveness, although logically, the best solution will be to go to the root of the problem and tackle it.

Stress as a cause of insomnia

One of the differences between stress and insomnia is that often one can precede the other. The most common way for this to happen is that it is a situation of continuous stress that ends up also leading to a sleep disturbance and therefore the dreaded insomnia. And is that stress can present a very broad symptomatology, mostly with indicators of anxiety , but also depression, a decrease in the ability to concentrate, and difficulties in getting a good night's sleep.

In this case, it would be important to take measures to alleviate the effects of insomnia and resolve it as soon as possible, because without adequate rest, the rest of the treatments applied will hardly be effective. But, since stress is the cause of sleep disturbance, it is logical to assume that the best way for it to end up remitting is precisely to act in the face of the situation that is creating that stress maintained over time , so that, once the threat, physiological activation levels are reduced.

Of course, this is not always easy and unfortunately many times we face stressful situations in our day to day, at work, in our family relationships that to a certain degree are beyond our control. The key to being able to face them would be the attitude with which we face them, and many times an adequate psychological treatment can provide us with the tools we need to be able to take on life situations without being so stressful.

And is that many situations are not stressful by themselves, but depend on the circumstances of each person and their personal characteristics, their learning history, etc. Therefore, if we learn to manage a situation that, at first is threatening, but that with proper training we are able to manage without suffering an overflowing physiological activation , it is to be assumed that we will facilitate the disappearance of all the symptoms, and with her, insomnia.

Insomnia as a cause of stress

Continuing along the lines of discovering the differences between stress and insomnia, we also find another situation, less common, but also possible. And it is that sometimes insomnia may be the first factor to appear and that this causes a situation in the patient that facilitates the emergence of stress , so we would be talking about an inverse situation to the previous case, and therefore the way of stopping it would also be different.

In this case, having continuous sleep problems could translate, among other things, into a high level of anxiety and frustration, since the lack of rest would make us have problems coping with situations that at other times would not pose any challenge, due to the decrease in resources that our body would have to manage different events. This could end up causing the dreaded stress to appear, and therefore it was a consequence of insomnia, and not a cause .

But many times the events are not so linear, but vicious circles are established in which an imbalance in the person's life generates both disorders, either at the same time, or because one triggers the other and at the same time they feed back. It seems complicated, but it is actually very common. A person who begins to live situations of high demand could begin to suffer stress, and that this triggered problems sleeping , appearing insomnia.

But in turn, this insomnia would take away resources for stress management that was already causing many difficulties, which would aggravate this physiological activation, and therefore, so would the symptoms, including insomnia. It is evident that this is a situation that cannot be maintained over time, since the physical and mental wear and tear that this entails for the subject is enormous, constant and increasing. Therefore, you will need both medical and psychological help to get back to stability.

Thus, several of the differences between stress and insomnia have become clear, and it is the pattern of appearance between the two , with one of the pathologies being able to precede the other, present separately, or appear at the same time and cause one to aggravate the situation of the other, being the most delicate situation of all possible and the one that requires earlier and more effective attention to put an end to the feedback spiral that has been entered as soon as possible.

The use of cannabinoids to treat insomnia and stress

In reference to the most severe cases of stress combined with insomnia, studies have been done in this regard to evaluate the usefulness of the use of cannabinoids in reducing all these symptoms.

Specifically, we will focus on the study by Próspero et al, from 2011, carried out in Mexico. This time we worked with laboratory rats, which were induced into a state of chronic stress through a chemical process. To do this, they were injected with a dose of dexamethasone while they were pregnant.

In this way, the offspring were born with a peculiar condition, which is that when faced with a stressor stimulus, they acted disproportionately, so it could be said that they had acquired an avoidance attitude towards risks. A process was then initiated by which the state of chronic stress and insomnia that they were looking for was achieved in order to carry out the experiment, and then the endocannabinoids were applied to be able to observe the effects in the pathologies .

What was observed was a notable decrease in the symptoms that had previously been generated, for which the authors conclude that this element had a fundamental role in the improvement of stress and insomnia due to emotional causes (which is caused by stress), Therefore, they invite you to continue investigating to find another method, in this case pharmacological, that helps people who suffer from these problems in their day-to-day lives.

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