There is a popular belief that when people are confronted with a significant source of stress, the choice of reaction is between fight and flight. However, while both fight and flight are potential outcomes, it should be noted that the choice is not restricted to these two. Instead, there are other potential outcomes, with examples including fawning, flooding, and freezing. However, one of the most interesting is fatigue, not least because it can seem so counter-intuitive.
Why Do Some People Fall Asleep When Stressed Out?
For those who are unsure, fatigue is exactly what it sounds like. In other words, when some people are confronted by a significant source of stress, that causes them to feel tired, which can often lead to them having a fear-motivated nap of all things. The exact reason is uncertain, but there is cause to believe that it is caused by a depletion of the glucose in the brain, meaning an exhaustion of said organ’s energy supply. As a result, a nap is useful for replenishing the supply of glucose in the brain, though this is not necessarily effective in cases of sustained stress over a significant period of time. In fact, it should be mentioned that the seeming cause behind fear-motivated naps is the same cause behind some people’s tendencies of snacking on sweets.
With that said, it is interesting to note that fear-motivated naps don’t get much mention for a number of potential reasons. For example, it seems to be something that sees more use by kids rather than adults. As a result, since kids can’t actually consent to being studied, this makes investigating the phenomenon more challenging than investigating its counterparts. Generally speaking, fear-motivated naps seem to be more common in kids because kids tend to have fewer effective methods for dealing with sources of stress than adults. However, it should be noted that there are fewer reasons for people to use fear-motivated naps. Simply put, its usefulness is restricted to situations in which people are put under enormous stress but are not actually under a great deal of threat. After all, if someone is in serious danger, falling asleep isn’t exactly going to help them out of their problem. If anything, it would probably just make them more vulnerable to whatever it is that is threatening them.
However, there are still uses for fear-motivated naps. For one thing, while sleep isn’t exactly the most beneficial way of managing more problems, it is still much better than some of the alternatives. After all, it is not exactly difficult to figure out whether someone who sleeps a lot or someone who drinks a lot to cope with their stress would be better off. Furthermore, sleep has a critical role in ensuring that people can perform at their best, whether in a physical sense or in a mental sense. As a result, while sleep might not be the best problem-solver, it can certainly make people better at problem-solving. For that matter, there are actually plenty of stories about people being inspired to come up with a solution to their problems because of their sleep, meaning that it is not impossible for sleep to be a problem-solver under certain circumstances.