Wondering why you feel stressed? Check and see if these five unexpected stressors may be hurting your health.


  1. Going to bed late. Crawling into bed after midnight may increase your stress levels. People who consider themselves night owls report feeling more tension, pessimism and depressive symptoms than their peers who head to bed earlier despite the total number of hours worth of sleep they get.
  2. Caffeine. Many people exceed the 300mg daily recommended allowance of caffeine. Regularly overdosing on caffeine can chronically elevate anxiety, adrenaline, cortisol, and blood pressure which makes us more sensitive to every day stressors and interfering with sleep.
  3. Alcohol. Alcohol also stimulates cortisol release and can exacerbate sensitivity to stress. It can also interfere with the deepest REM cycle of sleep.
  4. Checking your e-mail. Yes, the number of times we check our e-mail per day can elevate stress levels. If you work in an office where e-mail is the expected method of communication, limit the amount of times that you check. Try to turn off your need to immediately respond to e-mail when you are at home, especially if communication isn’t deemed necessary off hours.
  5. Processed Foods. Cortisol levels rise naturally when we eat, which helps aid in the digestion of the protein, carbohydrates and fats that we eat to help our body function. This stress hormone also regulates inflammation which can be caused by food that is too high in saturated and trans fats, sugar, or chemical additives. These inflammatory chemicals can be found in candy, meal replacement bars, frozen dinners, and fast food. Over time consuming these foods regularly raise stress and inflammation by causing blood sugar imbalances, weight gain, digestive issues, immune suppression and heart disease.