📚Can Bullying Change Your Sleep Pattern?

How many individuals are within your circle who have endured the impacts of bullying? It's likely, excluding yourself or the person you thought of upon selecting this article, that you know several people who have fallen prey to bullying at various times in their lives.

The harsh truth is that bullying is everywhere, and it doesn’t seem to be preparing to go away any time soon. Statistics estimate that in the US alone, more than one in five students report being bullied every year – and that’s just those who have spoken out. Bullying doesn’t just take place in schools, either. It can happen in work, family or extracurricular situations, too.

We all know that bullying can have a huge impact on mental health, but did you know that it can also affect your physical health too? Bullying might only take place in one location, but it is then carried with the victim everywhere they go – including their bed. And that’s where sleep becomes effected.

Sleep impact on a victim

New research now highlights the the devastating impact of bullying on a victim’s sleeping pattern, with evidence pointing to bullying being a leading factor in sleep issues for children and adults. Studies suggest that bully victims have an increased risk of mental illness, such as anxiety and depression, which are both commonly linked with poor sleep and even insomnia. If a victim is experiencing PTSD, another common mental illness triggered by a traumatic event, their sleeping pattern may be disturbed by nightmares and upsetting flashbacks.

Sleep impact on a bully

Curiously, it’s not just the victim whose sleeping patterns are affected by bullying – the bully’s are, too. One study found that bullies are two times as likely to experience problems with their sleep than other children of their age who don’t possess the traits of a bully. With some scientists believing that a lack of sleep may be a cause of many behavioural issues, it’s interesting to consider whether a poor sleeping pattern may be directly linked to the actions of a bully.

Sleep impact on a bystander

You wouldn’t think that witnessing an act of bullying could also lead to a change in sleeping patterns, but a recent study found that a bystander can actually feel just as effected by a bullying incident as the victim themselves. It’s unsurprising, then, that a bystander’s sleep may be impacted in the same way as the victim’s. The bystander may experience nightmares and visions of the incident they witnessed, as well as anxious thoughts about the victim’s welfare that could leave them tossing and turning all night.


Bullying is a really big deal, and if it’s preventing you or somebody else from getting a good night’s sleep, you need to take action for the sake of your health. Take a look at this sleep and bullying guide for helpful information on how to stop bullying from inhibiting your sleep.
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