Get Your Z’s, Eat Your Veggies and Relax
Stress directly affects the quantity and quality of sleep, which then in turn can increase stress levels during the day, says Eric Powell Ph.D., the Director of Insomnia Center and Research at Clayton Sleep Institute in St. Louis. His research team has found that while the amount of sleep we get each night is important, equally important is sleep consistency—when you go to bed and when you get up—as well as quality. Loss of even a few hours a night can increase the body’s inflammatory response, which raises your risk for a litany of diseases. It can also increase levels of the hunger-stimulating hormone ghrelin, which could lead to overeating and obesity.
RELATED RESEARCH: Lack of Sleep Leads to Snacking
One important goal to combat stress, then, is getting consistent sleep. But, what can you do with all this other information? You can’t avoid stress, but its physical manifestations, whether they include hair loss, breakouts or worn teeth, are warning signs that it’s getting the best of you. And, beyond beauty and mental health, stress is linked to chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and hypertension, which give an even greater incentive to rein it in.
Some ideas for alleviating the stress in your life include relaxation techniques such as meditation, tai chi or yoga, or behavioral modification therapy, which can teach you new ways to cope with your personal stress triggers.
Other healthy, stress-reducing choices mirror the basic things that physicians recommend for overall wellbeing: “You can take very small, very simple steps every day,” says Dr. Beth Ricanati, YouBeauty Wellness Advisor. “Be mindful of your sleep, choose fruits and vegetables over processed food, and move your body.”
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