If you want to read my blogposts entirely, you can go to my Medium, I try to publish regularly about different topics related to health that might interest you.
At the first glance, getting up earlier, even if only by a few minutes, isn’t an appealing idea. I think most of us would be distinctly reluctant, thinking that is already hard enough to wake up and get to work on time. But as hard as it might look, getting up earlier could change not only your morning rush but the dynamics of your entire day.
Stress and Sugar Cravings
Everyone has experienced, at least once in their life, that impulse to eat a bunch of chocolate during a stressful situation or when they’re feeling sad or anxious. There are good reasons for this!
1° With stress, the body’s energy demands increase dramatically. To replenish our reserves quickly, eating rapid sugars and carbohydrates can be an efficient solution. The high cortisol levels released during stress, combined with high insulin levels, may be responsible for making us choosing this specific type of food when we’re in this state of alert.
2° Ingesting a sugar-rich food improves our mood and alleviates the anxiety associated with stress. That’s because That’s because it increases our serotonin levels, which can be lowered by stress. Interestingly, animal studies demonstrate that there are gender-related differences for the long-term consumption of a sugar-rich diet: in female rats, sugar mostly affects mood, while in male rats will mostly have an anxiolytic effect.
Most of us have no doubt that a relaxing vacation is a wonderful reward bringing us pleasure and satisfaction, stress relief, recovering from fatigue, clearing our mind, reconnecting to our senses, to the nature etc- the benefits are endless. But guess what, getting away for awhile from our daily routine produces not only a psychological feeling of well being, but also real biological changes in our bodies- this is what is called by some researchers the ‘vacation effect’.
Amongst other things, chronic stress is associated with higher inflammation, shorter telomeres (telomeres are the caps at the end of each strand of DNA that protect our chromosomes, like the plastic tips at the end of shoelaces). By using integrated systems biology approaches, this study shows that holidays, likewise meditation, produces real molecular changes at the body level: there are distinguishable changes in some of the genes expression related to stress-management, inflammation, ageing.
Stress & Sleep
We all remember some pleasant mornings having the feeling of a good night sleep. For some of us this is a routine, for others less lucky, this might be an exception than a rule. No big surprise, stress has often something to do with that, for example it is common to experience insomnia before an exam or our wedding, even if some stressed people still can sleep well (or at least what they believe to).
So, it is common sense that being stressed could eventually lead to a poor sleep, but what does really happens in our brains? Without entering into complex scientific details, it is important to understand the basics of this mechanism in order to take better actions.
Cherish your Mood
Winter is coming and yes, you need to start cherishing your mood, as we’ll be having less light exposure and many of us will be at risk of feeling down. Let’s see together how you can avoid the winter blues!
Being in a good mood is a blast for ourselves and those around us! Although it is perfectly normal to have a “bad day”, let’s look closer what can be the causes (and eventual solutions) for feeling gloomy more than twice a week over a period of several months.