Friday, July 14, 2017

Stress

Stress... it's the one thing we all deal with and sometimes can be super hard to cope. Chronic stress makes your body secrete cortisol, which suppresses sleep and muscle-growing hormones.
Excessive stress hormones can overburden melatonin production and can disturb your sleep cycle. Being constantly attached to the computer and cell phones at all hours of the day can negatively impact your life. How many times do you answer that one last email or urgently respond to a friend that needs help? This forces us to be awake and alert when we should be asleep, and it messes with our natural circadian flow of stress.
Since there's no such thing as a 9-5 work day anymore, we secrete cortisol chronically. This suppresses sleep and muscle-building hormones (GH and testosterone), which promotes inflammation and insulin resistance and raises our risk of metabolic dysfunction. Add this on top of a poor diet and lack of exercise and you now have your body working at the mercy of whatever you are giving it.
Stress is supposed to be a short and infrequent reaction, designed to help us run fast, jump high, and be strong when our life is in danger, think flight or fight. It's not supposed to linger with us all day as a reaction to bumper-to-bumper traffic or social media trolls. This chronic stress and over-stimulation keeps us up at night, and not sleeping properly only exacerbates the problem. We don't produce enough melatonin to inhibit the stress production in the adrenals or enough GABA to turn off the over-stimulated neurons in our brain. This makes us sleep like crap and feel even more stressed the following day.
Limit stimulants at night time. This can be working out, caffeine, pre-workout, tea, or anything that causes you to get riled up .It also means clearing your mind instead of filling it with a list of things you want to get done. Alternatives include meditation, writing out a to-do list for the next day, and picking up a book. We need to be heading to sleep with a calm brain, not a highly active one.
If stress is an issue, try to calm your mind and body through yoga or meditation.

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