New research from the University of Arizona has revealed that people who are losing sleep as a result of the strains and stresses of divorce could be exposing themselves to potentially dangerous increases in their blood pressure. The 138 participants who took part in the study were asked to report on their quality of sleep during three lab visits over several months and blood pressure levels were also recorded. Although at first the levels seemed normal, a delayed effect from sleep deprivation was observed further down the line, leading to heightened blood pressure amongst the group. Commenting on the findings, the university’s associate professor of psychology David Sbarra, said “sleep problems that persist for an extended period [after separation] may mean ... that people are potentially becoming depressed, that they're struggling with getting their life going again, and it is these people that are particularly susceptible to health problems”.
Sleep critical for well being
Although it’s natural for sleep problems to occur for a certain amount of time following any type of separation, if insomniac tendencies persist over a longer period the potential harm to health becomes increasingly more pronounced. Lead study author Kendra Krietsh suggested cognitive behavioral therapy, finding better ways to wind down before bed or making adjustments to daily schedules as methods of improving sleep patterns. She warned that: “If somebody is going through a divorce and unable to sleep, they really need to get some help or it could lead to problems”.
The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale
According to the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, divorce is the most stressful life event, preceded only by the death of a spouse. This scale is named after Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe, who analysed the medical records of over 5,000 medical patients in order to understand how stressful life events can lead to illness. So the new University of Arizona study doesn’t come as a big surprise, but it does help to determine the link between divorce and health problems.
Helping you reduce your stress levels during divorce
Ensuring that your divorce is being handled by trained legal professionals can at least reduce some of the stresses surrounding the practical legal implications of formal separation. The friendly team of family solicitors at Crisp & Co can guide you through this difficult time and find the best solutions for your particular situation. Get in touch with us and find out how we can help you