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Many things in our surroundings are not in our immediate control, and that can often lead us to feel stressful. Situations such as moving to a new place, facing major illness, or the death of a loved one, all of which is stressful, can affect your everyday lifestyle. Even joyous occasions such as having children or a new job can be stressful because we are moving away from our usual routine. It’s a known fact that chronic stress negatively impacts our physical and mental health. Usually the body responds to stress by releasing hormones, including cortisol and adrenaline. With chronic stress, the body’s usual response is compromised, and it is constantly pumping cortisol and adrenaline. Chronic stress occurs when the body’s response to perceived threats remain constantly high. It often causes sleep deprivation, consequently leading to digestive issues and headaches. A recent study suggests that even partial sleep deprivation affects energy balance and may contribute to weight gain. Chronic stress makes your body believe that its under threat, thereby enabling it to release glucose into your blood so that it provides energy for the muscles. However, if the glucose is not used by the body, insulin will be released to control the rising glucose level. This balancing of insulin and glucose signals your brain to reach out for that cookie or doughnut, as part of your natural response. However, the body doesn’t understand that this is a quick fix, leading to eventual weight gain. Chronic stress in particular harms your body, and is detrimental if you want to lose or manage weight. A trial study involving ashwagandha and adults with weight issues has recently showed that the root extract of this adaptogen helps release stress, helping adults to manage weight better. Ashwagandha root extract helps in psychological and physiological stress reduction, helping in the reduction of serum cortisol level and food cravings. This improves eating behavior and significantly reduces body weight and body mass. References: H. K. Al Khatib, S. V. Harding, J. Darzi, G. K. Pot: The effects of partial sleep deprivation on energy balance: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2016 Nov 2 Published online 2016 Nov 2. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2016.201 Dnyanraj Choudhary, MD, SauvikBhattacharyya, MPharm, PhD, Kedar Joshi :Body Weight Management in Adults Under Chronic Stress Through Treatment With Ashwagandha Root Extract: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial. MD Journal of Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine. First Published April 6, 2016 https://doi.org/10.1177/2156587216641830 http://www.bbc.com/news/health-42788280