Science Questions

Can stress lead to circadian disruption?

Sat, 21st Apr 2012

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Question

Leo Mandelbrot in SecondLife asked:

Could stress produce the same result as jetlag, the same desynchronicity, without actually having to move time zones?

Answer

Russell -   Stress is probably one of the ways in which shift workers for example are suffering many of the pathologies.  One thing we know, for example, is that elevated stress will elevate cortisol, will reduce the immune system, and of course, levels of infection are much higher in shift workers compared to day shift workers.  So stress is going to be really important in our bodily responses to try and function when the clock is not in sync with the environment.

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