Stress Is not All Just In Your Head

Stress Is Not All Just In Your Head

Everyone experiences  the effects of stress at some time.  Anxiety over a relationship….financial…frustration at work…the list is endless.  But, wherever it is coming from it is not “all in your head!

Do you wake up with the worst “what if’s”?  Worry about it all day, weeks?  Soon it is anxiety.   If your problem is ongoing, it can become a new normal…extra stress hormones floating around, then inflammation.

Adrenalin can be helpful in danger situations, such as survival in the event of an attack.  But over time it is very damaging.

Effects of Chronic Stress

Effects of Stress
Effects of Stress

Chronic stress interferes with your immune system, causes inflammation and then leading to chronic diseases.  Before long you may trigger high blood pressure, asthma and keep getting everything that is going around.

Stress gains momentum, growing until suddenly it crashes.  This could be at the expense of your health. You have trouble sleeping and and on emotional level you feel like burn-out.

Psychological stress is misleading, because no stress is only psychological…it’s not just all in your head.

When stress is chronic, your immune system becomes desensitized to cortisol, and inflammation is partly regulated by this hormone,  this decreased sensitivity raises the inflammatory response and allows inflammation to get out of control.  Chronic inflammation is the root of heart disease and many chronic diseases.

Prolonged stress can damage you brain cells and make you unable to remember simple things.  It can trigger a degenerative process in your brain that can result in Alzheimer’s disease.   Stress can induce weight gain and belly fat, which increases your cardiovascular risk.

Digestive problems can be increased because  of disrupted gut microbes.  Causing decreased nutrient absorption, and four times less blood flow to your digestive system, which leads to decreased metabolism.

Stress is also implicated in cancer,  not so much as a cause of cancer but it seems to fuel it’s growth.  In the case of excess cortisol, some cell receptors become muted, including receptors on immune cells.  This is one reason why people under stress are about twice as likely to develop a cold after exposure to a cold virus.

Positive Emotions

On the brighter side, positive emotions like happiness, hope, and optimism also signal changes in your body’s cells, even producing the release of feel-good brain chemicals.  You can artificially produce happiness by taking drugs or drinking alcohol, but the same dopamine and endorphin high can be achieved by healthy habits like exercise, laughter, hugging or bonding.  A 10 second hug can lead to a biochemical reaction in your body that can improve your health.

Regular stress management is important for everyone.  This might be turning off the daily news, restraining from social media, or staying away from negative people.  There are also stress management tools such as having a good cry, meditation, or practicing Heart Map. Also helpful is EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique by a simple tapping with the fingertips to specific points on your head and chest while you think about a specific problem. This combination of tapping the energy meridians and voicing positive affirmation works to clear the emotional block from your body’s bio-energy system.  This helps to balance your mind and body, which is essential for optimal health of chronic stress.

I’m Shirley Noah, I teach the 9 pillars for health.  A step-by-step approach to good health.  Let’s connect to see how I may best serve you in the near future.

Could You Be Sleep Deprived?

Could You Be Sleep Deprived?

Are you always tired?  If your answer is yes, then we can assume that you are not getting enough sleep. Although there are other signs that may not be as obvious.

Sleep Deprived
Sleep Deprived

These are More Signs That Your Sleep Needs Revamping

You’ve Gained Weight

A lack of sleep promotes metabolic dysfunction that fuels weight gain.  Losing as little as 30 minutes of sleep a night can disrupt your metabolism enough to cause weight gain.

Your Memory Fails You.

The process of brain growth, or neuroplasticity, is believed to underlie your brain’s capacity to control behavior that includes learning and memory.  Synaptic plasticity plays a large role in learning and memory in the brain.  These connections are strengthened while you sleep, so being sleep deprived interferes with these processes.

Your Reaction Time Slows

Researchers have determined that sleep deprivation is particularly problematic for decision-making.  Some of these include decisions for uncertain and unexpected change  affected while you are driving or on the job.

You Are Overly Emotional

Lack of sleep kicks your emotions into high gear.  This results in a potential overreaction expressing emotions like fear and anger.  Your brain’s frontal cortex plays a key role in the regulation of emotions, and sleep is vital for its function.  Also too little sleep may lead to unwanted behavior at work , such as rude to co-workers, theft or going home early without notifying the boss.

You Are Always Getting Sick

Sleep deprivation has the same effect on your immune system as physical stress or illness.  Research shows that adults who sleep less than six hours a night have four times higher risk of catching a cold opposed to those who get seven or more hours of sleep a night.

Your Physical Appearance Suffers

A lack of sleep affects your physical appearance significantly.  It alters your hormonal balance, which can lead to acne, and decreased collagen production which causes an increase of wrinkles.

Nodding Off During the Day

You might think you can fool your body into believing that you can function on little sleep, but your body might not cooperate with that thought.  In a report released by a Traffic Safety organization compared diving drowsy to driving with blood alcohol concentration considered legally drunk.  Lack of sleep, even by one to two hours, nearly doubled the risk of a car crash by four times!

Strategies to Help You Get More Sleep

  • Getting up at the same time every morning
  • Going on a morning walk or run
  • Eating two kiwifruit an hour before bed
  • Practicing mindfulness
  • A warm bath or shower one to two hours before going to bed
  • Removing electronic devices from the bedroom and turning off all screens at least an hour before bed, including TV, computers, mobile phone and social media.
  • Eating foods rich in fiber
  • Skipping alcohol

Best Natural “tricks” for being Sleep Deprived

The top suggestion would be to get proper exposure to bright light during the day and no exposure to blue light at night.  As the sun sets, darkness should signal to your body it is time to sleep.  The animals are one up on us for that.  Have you ever noticed that the birds prepare, and you dog has an automatic clock for snoozing?

A salt lamp illuminated by a 5-watt bulb is an ideal solution that will not interfere with your melatonin production.  If you have optimized your light exposure and are still struggling see For A Good Nights Sleep Here are 20 Facts for a better night’s rest.

I’m Shirley Noah, I teach the 9 pillars for health.  A step-by-step approach to good health.  Let’s connect to see how I may best serve you in the near future.

Disrupted Circadian Rhythm Can Make You Hungrier and Forgetful

 Your Circadian Rhythm Can Make You Hungrier and Forgetful

As you probably know, the physiological functions of virtually all organisms are governed by 24-hour circadian rhythms.  The modern, round-the-clock lifestyle, made possible by electric lighting, could disrupt your circadian rhythm  and interfere with leaning abilities.  Your lack of sleep due to an over loaded calendar, e-mail, web surfing and TV could take a toll on your health whether you realize it or not.  This is a  surefire way to dysregulate your circadian rhythm.  This can contribute to a whole host of chronic health problems, since your circadian system “drives” the biological activity at the cellular level.  Disruptions can cascade outward throughout your entire body.

Circadian Rhythm
Circadian Rhythm

Disrupted Sleep Patterns Can Impact Your Health

Your circadian clock influences :

Short term memory-Your circadian clock controls your daily cycle of sleep and wakefulness by alternately inhibiting  and exciting different parts of your brain through regulating the release of certain neurotransmitters.  This part of your brain is known as the hippocampus. This must be excited in order for the things you learn to be organized in such a way that you’ll remember them later. If your internal clock isn’t functioning properly, it causes the release of too much GABA.  Excess GABA can lead to short term memory loss and inability to retain new information.

Learning Performance-Better sleep enhances performance and learning.

Weight gain/loss- Previous research has indicated that lack of sleep affects levels of metabolic hormones that regulate satiety and hunger.  When you are sleep deprived, your body has decreased production of leptin.  This hormone that tells your brain there is no need for more food.  At the same time, it increases levels of ghrelin, a hormone that triggers hunger.

Diabetes and heart disease risk-Too little and too much sleep may increase your risk of type 2 diabetes.    A similar pattern has also been observed in the relationship between sleep and coronary heart disease.

Immune System– Research has found that when you are well-rested you will most likely have a stronger immune system to respond to viruses.  You release certain hormones during sleep that is responsible for boosting your immune system.

Cancer risk– Disruption of your circadian clock may influence cancer through changes in hormones like melatonin.  Your brain makes melatonin during sleep, and it known to suppress tumor development.

Melatonin is an antioxidant that helps to suppress harmful free radicals in your body and slows the production of estrogen, which can activate cancer.  When your circadian rhythm is disrupted, your body may produce less melatonin and therefore may have less ability to fight cancer.

Stress is Created by Inconsistent Circadian Cycle

Making matters worse, poor sleeping habits also tends to raise your levels of corticosterone, the stress hormone. When your body is under stress, it releases hormones that increase your heart rate and blood pressure.  Your muscles tense, your digestive processes stop, and certain brain centers are triggered,  which alters your brain chemistry.

A Natural Rhythm to Light Exposure

A part of living in sync with your natural circadian rhythm is to have consistent, regular exposure to light during the day and sleeping in absolute darkness at night.  This will help optimize your natural melatonin production.

Use Your Circadian Rhythm for Optimal Health

Regardless of your age, the best way to keep your circadian clock functioning properly is to make sure you are getting the necessary amount of high quality sleep, during those hours when your body expects to be sleeping.

It is important to realize that even if you do everything else right-eat nutritious meals, exercise, manage stress-if you aren’t getting high-quality sleep your health is bound to suffer in numerous ways.

For further info on sleep check out For A Good Nights Sleep Here Are 20 Facts.

I am Shirley Noah, I teach the 9 pillars for health.  A step-by-step approach to good health.  Let’s connect to see how I may best serve you in the near future.