7 Unexpected Signs of Stress
Why it could be stress: It's rare, and would only happen under extreme stress, but parasomnias (abnormal events like sleepwalking, sleep eating and night terrors) due to stress, can happen, says Rajita Sinha, PhD, director of the Yale Stress Center. Blame a ramped-up, always-on-alert sympathetic nervous system. It flips on your fight-or-flight response, and in the case of incredibly stressed-out folks, it can overpower your body's calming system during sleep, leading to unusual activity, explains Spiegel. "I had one stress patient," he says, "who would get up in the middle of the night when he was traveling for work, get dressed, go down to the hotel lobby and talk to people, and have no recollection of it in the morning."
Other possible causes: Obstructive sleep apnea, medications and certain (though rare) brain disorders—your doctor can help you figure out which one is causing your sleep disturbances.