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Is Stress Really Higher on Mondays?

a stress woman rubbing her head

Transitioning from the weekend back to the work routine on Monday morning can be stressful. In fact, it could even be deadly.

A study at Tokyo Women’s Medical University fitted 175 men and women with a device that would measure their blood pressure around the clock for a week. The results were surprising: The highest blood pressure readings came from those who were getting ready for work on Monday morning. Those who stayed asleep on Monday morning because they did not have to go to work did not experience the same surge.

Other studies have shown that there are 20 percent more heart attacks on Mondays than any other day. Researchers suspect that the early morning rise in blood pressure that is part of the body’s natural 24-hour rhythm is to blame.

Another factor is that blood platelets are “stickier” in the morning hours. Also, the adrenal glands release more adrenaline to get the body moving in the morning. The additional adrenaline can lead to the rupture of plaque buildup in the arteries caused by cholesterol.

Combine that with switching from leisure to work mode — and throw in the stress of a morning commute — and someone who has heart disease can be tipped over the edge to a heart attack.

If you have the Monday morning blues of going back to a stressful job, find ways to reduce the tension. Get a good night’s sleep on Sunday so you feel rested on Monday morning. Make time for a healthy breakfast to start the day. Then de-stress your commute. Carpool or take public transportation if it is available. If you have to drive, tune the radio to a program you enjoy or listen to a book on tape.

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