Sleep & Stress

stressed office worker


  • 23% of Canadians report that they are under “quite a bit” or “extreme” stress and 24% of Americans report they are under “extreme stress.”
  • Most common causes stated for increased stress: Money, work, family responsibilities.
  • Stress increases internal inflammation via IL-6 which leads to increased risk for cardiovascular disease, anxiety, depression, cancer, suppressed immune system (chronic infections), and autoimmune disease.
  • Some stress is necessary for life, chronic stress is debilitating to life
  • High chronic stress leads to chronically elevated cortisol which can lead to: Decreased thyroid function, accumulation of abdominal fat, prolonged healing time, reduced ability to respond to an infection, impaired cognition.

Stress and Memory: 

We need a small amount of stress to form solid memories, but if the stress is too high you will not remember.

Stress and DNA:

Ohio State University Medical Center found that more than 170 genes were affected by stress (chronically high cortisol).  When stress was high 100 genes shut off completely, including genes involved in wound healing, inflammation, sleep, metabolic function and cardiac regulation.

Managing stress with relaxation techniques:

  • 58 individuals were studied in three groups: control, beginners to relaxation techniques, and experienced in relaxation techniques.  20 volunteers had 8 weeks meditation and yoga and at the end of the 8 weeks 1561 genes were affected (874 healthy genes upregulated and 687 genes associated with stress were downregulated). Experienced meditators expressed 2209 positive gene changes.
  • Studies have proven that relaxation techniques such as yoga, breathing exercises, qi gong and tai chi statistically reduce the negative impacts of stress.
  • Having good social support (in real life not on social media) is also associated with reduced negative impact of stress on a person

sleep & INSOMNIA

  • Insomnia occurs in approximately 30% of adults worldwide.
  • People more at risk for sleep disorders: women during times of hormone changes, people with psychiatric disorders, shift workers and those who have another chronic illness.
  • Sleep deprivation is a  common cause of: depression and anxiety, increased pain, decreased ability to perform daily duties, decreased work productivity, and reduced quality of life in general.
  • Sleep is needed for memory formation and repair of the brain and body, and chronic insomnia has now been associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s.
  • Most people have five 90 minute cycles nightly equalling 7.5 hours of sleep needed every night.
  • Apnea testing should be sought if you snore, have increased neck girth, wake tired every morning, wake choking or gasping, or wake with a sore or dry throat.

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