We’re stressful guys with stressful lives—and the way we respond to stress may be keeping us up at night.
According to a new study published in Sleep, not only is stress keeping us awake at night, but poor coping strategies are too. What poor coping strategies? Well, like behavioural disengagement, which is giving up on dealing with the stress. Then there’s medicating with alcohol or drugs. And there’s also self-distraction, like binging on Netflix or video games.
Researchers had a sample of 2,892 people with no lifetime history of insomnia. The reported the number of stressful life events they had experienced in the past year (divorce, job losses, the NHL season), and then reported the severity and duration of each stressful event. Researchers also used questionnaires to measure levels of cognitive intrusion and identified their subject’s chosen coping strategies. A follow-up appointment one year later identified subjects with an insomnia disorder, which is how they identified the poor coping strategies.
So, now that you know what doesn’t work, what does? Researchers suggested that mindfulness can help, along with talking to a doctor about stress management. Anyway, one thing is clear: ignoring the problem won’t help.