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Effects Of Stress On Your Health: More Sleep = Less Stress

2 November 2021 Categories: Better Health Author: Katrina Stubbs
man stressed while working on laptop
Stressors cause adverse effects to our bodies and our mental health

Everyone has heard of fight or flight, and most people have experienced it at some point; it’s our body’s natural response to stress because the control tower of our brains, the Hypothalamus, triggers the release of stress hormones into our bodies. This naturally occurring release of hormones can be something that we experience from time to time or chronically. When the body starts firing this response to things regularly — this can put our bodies overall health at risk.

The Effects Of Stress On Your Body

Both chronic and acute stress can cause our bodies to experience many things, and some of these can be more debilitating than others, but none should be disregarded or ignored. 

Stress can cause and exacerbate headaches and or muscle tension/pain and typically worsen with continued stress levels. Chest pain is a typical response to stressors and can indicate other issues caused by stress, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and abnormal heartbeats. The extra strain on the cardiovascular system will also increase our chances of experiencing blood clots and stroke.  

A well-known effect of stress for many is heartburn because with stressors comes the increased production of stomach acid, which can cause and may also increase heartburn symptoms. In addition, several digestive issues can become problematic when experiencing stress (acute or chronic), including diarrhea, constipation, cramping, bloating, and even irritable bowel syndrome. Some demographics may also experience a change in their sex drive or issues with fertility or erectile dysfunction. In turn, these issues can increase stress levels, and things can become a revolving door. Addressing stressors head-on instead of pushing them off will help control and mitigate these responses to the stress. 

The Effects Of Stress On Your Mood

Stress does impact not only our bodies but also our mood. Our mood can increase: anxiety, restlessness, lack of motivation or focus, overwhelm, irritability, anger, sadness, or depression. Stress can cause the slightest everyday things to seem unmanageable and unachievable. 

With the effects of stress impacting our moods, it’s not long before it starts affecting our behavior. Our behavior mirrors our stress levels in many different ways. Examples of this are: over or under-eating, making it difficult to manage weight, angry outbursts, social withdrawal or isolation, being less motivated. In some cases, we may see tobacco, alcohol, and even drug use.

covid 19 lockdown, depression, stress and loneliness at home, mental health problems
Addictive behaviors may enable stressors in unhealthy ways.

Can we assist our bodies with being better equipped to help deal with our stressors head-on? Plain and simple, yes, the first factor to address would be our sleep. Sleep is a superpower, and it can help dramatically reduce our stress levels. When we have balance and routine, it promotes a less stressful environment. A regular sleep routine can calm and restore the body, help regulate our mood, improve our concentration and focus, and hone our decision-making and better judgment capabilities. One might also say that sleep can be difficult during times of stress, and this may be true, but implementing good sleep hygiene and sticking to healthy routine sleep habits will make your sleep less of a stressor and more of a refresher to your stress.

Katrina Stubbs Sleep Clinician
Katrina Stubbs

Katrina Stubbs is a Regional Manager and Sleep Clinician at Snore MD and brings over 15 years of experience in the medical field. She prides herself in providing exceptional patient care and education, not only to her patients but to the entire team at Snore MD.

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