Do you get sleepy when you have something stressful to deal with?

This came up in a recent ADDopers thread, and now I wonder if it’s an ADD thing, or a general thing. When I have something stressful that I need to do, I often get to feeling sleepy. I always thought that it was normal, or possibly just one more abnormal thing my body does. But maybe it’s the ADD?

If you aren’t sure if you have AD(H)D, you can answer whichever way you feel is more likely. Or you could check out the DSM-IV criteria, or read about some of our experiences here: one of the ADDopers threads

I don’t get sleepy. I procrastinate. Currently, I have some things going in my life that are not good…so instead of thinking about them…I’m posting here.

I also cleaned my fridge and washed my baseboards. Now that I’m at my comp, I’m washing my keyboard and muttering at the scratched mark on the monitor. Rotten cats did that, but if I shut my comp off and switch monitors out, it will give me another excuse to not deal with the emails.

I don’t have ADD AFAIcan tell, I don’t get sleepy when I have a stressful task ahead of me, whether I get wired or not depends on the task.

Stress can be good or bad. The good stress energizes me: a deadline that’s hard to accomplish but possible.

The bad stress, as per the neurologist’s diagnosis, “sets my parasympathic system haywire”: I get vision problems (I see individual objects but they don’t relate well to each other, for example two contiguous walls and the ceiling don’t form a corner any more - I know they do but my eyes don’t really see that they do), problems understanding language (I recognize the individual words, but the sentences don’t make sense), vertigo (as in “everything’s wobbly”, not fear of heights), and eventually the shakes (left leg, then right leg, then left arm; it’s jolly good fun to have to stop at the side of the highway!). This happens when the stress is something I can’t do anything about; there are physical components (sudden changes in temperature, such as 48ºC outside and 18ºC inside) but the psychological components are more important (“claustrophobia”, stupidity).

The “claustrophobia” isn’t so much about small spaces as about feeling trapped; for example, I’m perfectly willing to hand-climb a 30m wall so long as it doesn’t involve a harness. Yes, I do know it’s a safety feature, but it’s not much of one when it gives me the shakes. The temperature thing, I can only control that to a point. The stupidity… that, I can try to avoid, but when you’re dealing with morons you’re dealing with morons.

When we had a health scare one horrible winter, and had to wait for a phone call from the doctor as to whether it was something or nothing, I was cold, groggy, and yeah, sleepy. All I wanted to do was curl up under my blankie. My head felt like it was stuffed with cotton or something, and I couldn’t concentrate on anything. Though sleepy, I had a horrendous time sleeping for any length of time at all. On the other hand, I stopped eating and lost 10 lbs. in about a month.

It’s still the dead middle of winter here (stupid Michigan!) and it’s finals week for my five classes. I go to school full time, work at a terrible job part time, and I’m in charge of keeping the house clean. So yeah, all I’ve wanted to do for the past month is just hibernate until graduation which is…Oh, around Dec. 2013.

Yes, certain stressful situations make me want to curl up and sleep to get away from them. Oddly, mildly stressful things and horrible or long-lasting stress means I cannot sleep.

Stress makes me sleepy.
If I’m stressed out at work, over a large project, I find that when I get home, all I want to do is go to bed and sleep, even when I’m not planning on working from home. I’m not sleepy while I’m dealing with the stressful event. It’s while I’m not working on it that I get sleepy.

Having stress or worry in my life makes it more difficult to sleep.

This sounds like a good set-up for a Dilbert cartoon.

“Pardon me, but could you please go be an idiot somewhere else? You’re upsetting my parasympathetic nerves”

In general, stress doesn’t make me sleepy. However, if the stress is being brought upon me by my wife I am out like a light. I spent most of our engagement asleep because planning the wedding was so stressful.

This result is surprising me - it is looking like it is a very common phenomenon. I wonder if it has been studied.

I chose other because I don’t know if I have ADD. Whether or not I do will be addressed at my physical in 3 weeks.
I get very tired when I have something stressful to do, or when I have a lot to do, regardless of how much sleep I got the night before. I keep myself from falling asleep by doing everything else I can find to do EXCEPT the stuff that actually needs to be done.

I am currently supposed to be studying for a Spanish test, a Biology test, and a spelling bee; all of which will be happening in the next 3-18 hours. Instead, I’m screwing off here, cleaning my house, playing with puppies, and trying very hard to not put my head down and pass out.

I don’t know if it has been studied, but the response seems logical to me. If something is very stressful, your brain wants to escape. Sleep is an escape.

I get the ‘sleepy’ reaction when the stress is completely overwhelming / life-threatening. Otherwise, it doesn’t seem to bother me. When it hits, though, it hits hard; when last I had to go to the hospital (for cardiac reasons), I couldn’t keep my eyes open for a good day, day-and-a-half, purely due to the psychological stress.