Sleep and stress: inversely correlated

I have noticed in my life that there is an inverse relation between the quantity of sleep that I get and the degree to which I am experiencing stress. It is unclear to me in which direction causality lies and it may be nothing more than a correlation but I recall times in my past where I went as many as three nights without sleep. All but the last of those such times were before I understood the sensation of stress--such is my disconnect from my emotional state.

As I think about it, I am inclined to suspect that not sleeping is a sort of coping mechanism. In the extreme of those three night vigils, I would reach a level of exhaustion that was so strong and pervasive as to be able to wash over any other stress that I might have been feeling. Eventually, I would sleep and the rest would be needed to such a degree as to make everything else seem insubstantial.

It seems as though, for quite a long time, I have had to approach my emotional state from an indirect point of view; sussing out how I might be feeling by watching my reactions and back-tracking to the most appropriate descriptor for my state. This is an arrangement that I have come to accept and although it often works well enough, it can be a little slow as far as processing is concerned.

I'm sure that there exist other thoughts on these matters and things that I might express but, mostly, I am finding the issue rather pertinent at this (just after) one in the morning time. I intended to go to sleep a number of hours ago and, at this point, I will not get much sleep, which causes me to suspect that I am avoiding sleep in some manner correlated to stress. Unsurprisingly, this continues to be my standard way of being; such is my life, I guess.