Work stress and poor sleep triple your risk of a heart-related death

If you need a good reason to schedule that long overdue summer vacation, here it is…

You could be working yourself to death as I type this. And that risk doubles—technically, triples—if you’re not getting the downtime your body so desperately needs.

I realize this sounds dramatic—but hear me out. Because new research shows that burning the candle at both ends really could be shaving years off your life. And putting a pause on workplace stress may be the very thing that saves it.

Sleep loss and stress—a killer combo

A new study recently appeared in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology and looked at the effects both work stress and sleep problems have on your health. It featured nearly 2,000 hypertensive employees between the ages of 25 and 65—all without heart disease or diabetes.

Researchers found that work stress paired with sleep problems is associated with a three-fold higher risk of heart-related death in employees with high blood pressure. (Work stress was defined as having a job with high demand and low control—in other words, a high-pressure environment where workers had little decision-making power.)

Subjects with impaired sleep, on the other hand, had a hard time falling and/or staying asleep. (Often reporting that they would wake up in the wee hours of the morning, only to find themselves unable to fall back to sleep.)

Over a follow-up period spanning the better part of two decades, researchers uncovered an alarming trend: The risk of cardiovascular death among these workers increased with each condition.

Work stress increased death risk by 1.6 times. And poor sleep increased death risk by 1.8 times. But put the two conditions together, and the risk of dying a heart-related death tripled.

And when you consider the fact that a good third of the working population suffers from high blood pressure, it’s not hard to see the problem here. Especially since job stress and poor sleep often go hand-in-hand.

In fact, sometimes they’re two aspects of the same problem.

Adrenal burnout is the common thread

In my clinical experience, adrenal gland exhaustion is the most common culprit behind insomnia. And one of the telltale signs of overworked adrenals is trouble sleeping. More specifically, waking up around 3 a.m. every night.

Why? Well, in simple terms, adrenal exhaustion sets in when stress overwhelms these glands’ ability to generate key fight-or-flight hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol, in the proper amounts.

Your body releases these hormones to put you on alert in the face of danger. Whether it’s a physical threat, illness or injury, a family crisis…or in this case, a high-pressure day at the office.

But here’s the thing: Cortisol plays an important role in managing your body’s restorative sleep cycles. When you’re healthy, cortisol levels peak around 8 a.m. You hop out of bed ready to start the day—and you don’t even need to reach for the snooze button on your alarm.

On the other hand, cortisol levels should be at their lowest between midnight and 4 a.m.—when most people are sound asleep. So if your cortisol levels are high when they shouldn’t be, you’ll be too wide awake to sleep.

Sound familiar?

Stress management and good sleep practices are obviously important when it comes to dodging this particular bullet. But what you really need to do is nurse your adrenal glands back to health—and that process doesn’t happen overnight.

It can be done, however. In fact, I devoted an entire article to the subject back in the June 2014 issue of my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives (“The silent enemy that’s stealing your sleep”). Subscribers have access to that article and my entire archive—so if you haven’t yet, why not sign up today?

I could hardly think of better reading to bring with you to the beach. Now go book that vacation—doctor’s orders.      

P.S. Improving your sleep and reducing stress are two of the many recommendations I discuss in my Ultimate Heart-Protection Protocol. This unique learning tool is an all-natural plan to prevent and reverse America’s biggest killers—high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. Click here to learn more about this innovative protocol, or to sign up today.


“Stressed at work and trouble sleeping? It’s more serious than you think.” Science Daily, April 28, 2019. (