Sleep, Stress and Movement

Quality of life can be determined by three main aspects of our lives. Sleep quality, stress management and quality of movement. Neglecting to care for any of these is seen as a stressor to the body and has been associated with inflammation in the body. Many common diseases or disorders have also been associated with inflammation in the body, including, hormone imbalances, obesity, cardiovascular disease, leaky gut, blood sugar regulation, mood swings, frequent infections, or even heart palpitations, (1) Practice reducing your stressors for optimal health.

Stress comes in many forms. It could be:

Physical  – stress such as an injury or a really tough workout. 

Sensory – stress such a loud environment  or too many people surrounding you. 

Chemical – Stress such as tobacco smoke, alcohol or allergens

Psychological – stress such as deadlines at work toxic relationships or traffic

Regardless of the type of stress, our body reacts the same way. Upon a stressful situation, our brain signals our body to release a stress hormone in the body. This hormone can effect our metabolism and our immune system. When we are chronically in stressful situations our body tries to protect us and inhibits nonessential suctions like digestion, growth, bone formation and saves the bodies fuel sources for essential function like skeletal muscle movement and keeping our heart pumping. This same stress hormone (cortisol) can alter the chemical messengers that control inflammation in the body.

Higher levels of cortisol have been shown to be associated with higher amounts of inflammation in the body. Chronic stress and inflammation have been shown to increase susceptibility to a handful of conditions including: autoimmune disease, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, osteoporosis, depression, infection or even certain cancers. (1)

REDUCING STRESSORS & INCREASING YOUR RESILIENCE

  • Get enough sleep. This is 7-8 hours per night for adults, 8-10 for teens, 9-11 for school aged and 11-14 hours for toddlers.
  • Engage in moderate movement through the day. Move 2 minutes out of every 20 minutes that you are seated. The average person also benefits from 150 minutes of moderately intense activity per week.
  • Carve out time to find enjoyment in life. This could be a movie, reading or playing a game. - Connect with nature. Literally ground yourself by placing your feet in the ground, enjoy the smell sound or sight of the outdoors.
  • Engage in active mediation. This can be yoga, tai chi or even marital arts.
  • Use your brain. Solve a puzzle, get a brain teaser app, or take on a new hobby.
  • Practice mindfulness - practice positive mantras, beliefs or thoughts to manifest in positive thoughts behaviors
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