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Stress and Anxiety Interfere With Sleep

SILVER SPRING, Md., Nov. 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Seven out of ten adults in the United States say they experience stress or anxiety daily, and most say it interferes at least moderately with their lives. About one-third report persistent stress or excessive anxiety daily or that they have had an anxiety or panic attack. Seven out of ten of those adults say they have trouble sleeping.

These are among the findings of the 2007 Stress & Anxiety Disorders Survey, a report examining the effects of anxiety disorders and everyday stress and anxiety on sleep. The survey was commissioned by the Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA), which is sponsoring National Stress Out Week, November 11-17, 2007. ADAA encourages people to take time to de-stress and to discover the differences between everyday stress and an anxiety disorder.

Stress and anxiety are a normal part of life, but anxiety disorders, which affect 40 million adults, are the most common psychiatric illnesses in the U.S. -- and they are on the increase. They are identified as generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder, and specific phobias.

"Undiagnosed and untreated anxiety disorders can adversely affect people's lives in many areas, including their sleep," says Jerilyn Ross, MA, LICSW, president and CEO of ADAA. "The good news is that they are highly treatable. Our hope is that National Stress Out Week will raise awareness of the signs, symptoms, and treatment options."

General Stress or Anxiety Interferes With Lives

Adults who are most likely to report daily stress or anxiety are under age 55, particularly those between the ages of 18 and 24 (91 percent), those who have children (81 percent), and those who are employed (73 percent).

Of those who experience daily stress or anxiety, 48 percent say it interferes with their lives every day (up from 39 percent in 2005), and women are much more likely than men (56 percent vs. 39 percent). Stress significantly interferes on a daily basis in two areas: relationships with family and friends (85 percent) and sleep (76 percent).

Women and men use different activities to ease general stress or anxiety:


Sleep more 32 percent 25 percent

Eat more 36 percent 25 percent

Eat less 15 percent 7 percent

Talk to family and

friends 39 percent 19 percent

Take medication

(over-the-counter or

prescription) 20 percent 14 percent

Talk to a health

professional 13 percent 7 percent

Have more frequent sex 10 percent 16 percent

Persistent Stress or Excessive Anxiety Impairs Functioning Every Day

More than one-fourth of adults reported that persistent stress or excessive anxiety has impaired their ability to function in the past six months. Eight out of ten say those feelings last several days or more. About one-quarter of adults say it makes it difficult for them to lead a normal life. The incidence of stress severely affecting lives has increased to 23 percent, a significant jump from 13 percent in 2005.

Adults use a variety of activities to cope with persistent stress or excessive anxiety:


Avoid people 77 percent 74 percent

Have difficulty sleeping 73 percent 69 percent

Eat more 54 percent 40 percent

Refuse to leave home 48 percent 42 percent

Shop compulsively 20 percent 14 percent

Talk to a health

professional 34 percent 15 percent

Abuse alcohol or drugs 24 percent 28 percent

Stress and Sleep Problems

The majority of adults with a stress-induced sleep problem experience it at least once per week, and more than half experience it at least several times a week.

Three-fourths of adults whose sleep is affected by stress or anxiety say that their sleep problems have also increased their stress and anxiety: 54 percent say that stress or anxiety increased their anxiety about falling asleep at night, and 52 percent of men and 42 percent of women reported it affected their ability to remain focused the next day.

Sleep Habits of Adults

Sixty-one percent of adults report getting seven hours of sleep at least four nights a week, which is down from the 67 percent reported in 2005. Among other findings:

-- On average, adults sleep 6.6 hours each night.

-- Eight out of ten adults have experienced some type of sleep-related difficulty. Women are significantly more likely than men to experience problems, particularly not feeling rested after sleep, having trouble falling asleep, and trouble staying asleep.

-- About half wake up feeling unrefreshed or not rested: 61 percent women, 45 percent men.

-- Nearly half have trouble falling asleep: 57 percent women, 38 percent men.

-- About four in ten have trouble staying asleep: 50 percent women, 38 percent men.

Most adults have not missed work or school because of sleep-related problems, but for those who do miss work or school, the average number of days missed per year is 4.9. Two-thirds of adults who missed work due to sleep-related difficulties have not told their employer the real reason they missed work.

Sleep Tips

-- Block out seven to nine hours for a full night of uninterrupted sleep.

-- Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine.

-- Never watch TV, use the computer, or pay bills before going to bed.

-- Avoid coffee, chocolate, caffeinated soda, or nicotine in the evening.

-- Make sure your bedroom is cool, dark, and quiet.

-- Use your bedroom for sleeping and relaxing only.

-- Keep worry and stress outside the bedroom.

-- Exercise regularly, but not too close to your bedtime.

-- Get into bed only when you are tired.

-- Avoid looking at the clock

-- Try not to take naps.

-- Talk to your doctor, if necessary.

The Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA) is the leading national nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing awareness and improving the diagnosis, treatment, and cure of anxiety disorders.

ADAA offers free educational information and resources about anxiety disorders, local treatment providers, self-help groups, self-tests, clinical trials, and more. ADAA promotes the message that anxiety disorders are real, serious, and treatable.

National Stress Out Week is November 11-17. Visit for more information about anxiety disorders and sleep, as well as tips to manage stress.

SOURCE Anxiety Disorders Association of America
Copyright©2007 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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