Can Hyperstimulation Cause You To Never Feel Tired Or Sleepy?

Written by Jim Folk
Last updated February 24, 2022

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Video Transcript

Can severe hyperstimulation cause you to never feel tired or sleepy even with little or no sleep the night before?

Absolutely! Anxiety activates the stress response. The stress response secretes stress hormones into the bloodstream that prepare the body for immediate emergency action.

This survival reaction is often referred to as the fight or flight response.

The stress response causes many physiological, psychological, and emotional changes because stress hormones are powerful stimulants that stimulate the body into action.

The more anxious you are, the more stimulated the body becomes.

If you are an overly anxious person, the body can become hyperstimulated, meaning overly and chronically stimulated…like drinking caffeinated coffee or taking stimulants every half-hour or so.

This is like people taking stimulants or “uppers” to stave off feeling tired and sleepy.

Consequently, hyperstimulation can override feeling tired and sleepy even with little or no sleep the night before.

Furthermore, a lack of sleep can cause the body to increase circulating cortisol – the body’s most powerful stress hormone stimulant. This increase in circulating cortisol helps the body compensate for the lack of restorative sleep. As cortisol levels rise, we feel more stimulated and less tired and sleepy.

It’s common to enter a negative cycle where stress causes a lack of sleep, and lack of sleep increases cortisol stimulation, further stressing and stimulating the body, causing more sleep disruption and stimulation, and so on.

In fact, many anxious people struggle with sleep because of hyperstimulation and how it can interfere with the body’s ability to get sufficient rest and sleep.

Hyperstimulation is a common cause of sleep problems, such as insomnia.

However, we can reverse this by eliminating hyperstimulation. Faithfully practicing your recovery strategies, including containing anxious behavior, reducing stress, deliberately resting the body, and giving your body ample time to recover, can restore good sleep.

As good sleep returns, the body reduces circulating cortisol levels, making it easier to rest and sleep.

Keep in mind that it can take a long time to eliminate hyperstimulation. You must be patient as your body recovers and good sleep returns.

Recovery Support members can read more about anxiety and sleep problems in our Sleep section, chapter 18.

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The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist, coach, or counselor is the most effective way to address anxiety and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed – which we call the underlying factors of anxiety – a struggle with anxiety unwellness can return again and again. Dealing with the underlying factors of anxiety is the best way to address problematic anxiety.

Additional Resources

Return to our Anxiety Frequent Questions archive.

anxietycentre.com: Information, support, and therapy for anxiety disorder and its symptoms, including this Frequently Asked Anxiety Question.