Most would agree that the holiday season intends to promote feelings of joy, goodwill, and peace. Somehow the inevitable mixture of stress, overeating, and long hours work their ingredients into the original blueprint. A time of beauty and good cheer ends up partnered with reduced function and performance. A heartbreaking holiday fact surfaces every holiday season. More heart attacks happen around Christmas and New Year’s than any other days of the year.  A study published in 1999 in the journal Circulation found that the highest number of cardiac deaths occur in December and January, peaking during the last week of December and first week of January; the same time that Christmas and New Year’s Day is celebrated.

Additional heart attack facts:

  • Most heart attacks occur on Mondays
  • Most heart attacks begin during the early morning hours 4 am – 10am when blood platelets are stickier and increased adrenaline released from the adrenal glands can trigger a rupture of plaques in coronary arteries
  • Many heart attack survivors report that the attack itself registered as the first sign of coronary artery disease
  • Heart attacks risk increase by 27% around a person’s birthday, especially in women with high blood pressure

Fortunately, most people will not suffer a heart attack this holiday season. People owe it to themselves and their families to pay attention to the triggers that add more stress to December and January than any other time of year. Bank statements, bills, and weight gain rob these months of peace and tranquility and the accumulation of stress always proves destructive to the health of individuals and families. Do you have a plan to simply reduce or eliminate stress? Tension, pressure, and anxiety go hand in hand with too many of life’s variables. The key to maintaining quality health around the holidays and all year long comes from focusing on the body’s ability to adapt. Bills do not just go away. A time and place do exist for indulging in delicious foods and drinks. People cannot prevent various forms of stress from ever occurring, but everyone possesses the ability to better manage the way their body reacts to those stressors.

Chiropractors take a unique approach to health, disease, and stress. Chiropractic concerns the process of strengthening the body to suit the environment rather than the other way around. Three simple, yet effective ways to increase the body’s ability to deal with and mitigate effects brought on by stress include:

  1. Sleep – Get at least seven to eight hours of sleep per night. Sleep produces vital off-setting effects to stress. Nothing substitutes for a lack of sleep. A key to getting adequate sleep begins with getting to bed on time. All organs and systems of the body slow down during rest except the nervous system. The nervous system stays on duty during sleep in order to promote healing and recovery.
  2. Water – Thirst triggers often feel like hunger pains. Water represents one of people’s most under consumed nutrients. Many thirsty people assume they are hungry and eat instead of simply drinking water to quell the urge. Overeating (and under-drinking water) increases the waistline and decreases the body’s ability to heal and adapt. Simply remember to consume half of your body weight (in pounds) in ounces of water every day. (i.e. a 150lb person should drink 75 ounces of water per day). The second-best recommendation is to just drink more pure filtered water considering it’s one of the most under-consumed nutrients. Remember, the human body is more water than it is anything else.
  3. Chiropractic – Evidence proves that Chiropractic adjustments amplify the body’s ability to deal with stress. Heart rate variability indicates how well a person adapts to stress. Reduced heart rate variability directly links to several detrimental cardiovascular and non-cardiovascular conditions. Enhanced heart rate variability proves to be a key component in improved health and longevity. A 2013 study from the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine determined that upper cervical adjustments can enhance heart rate variability.

Stress amplifies during the window of time from late November through mid-January. Combining good sleep habits and increased water consumption with Chiropractic adjustments will balance the nervous system and help the body better adapt to stress. Return the holiday season to a time of joy and peace with Chiropractic care.


J Altern Complement Med. 2013 Feb;19(2):92-6. Suboccipital decompression enhances heart rate variability indices of cardiac control in healthy subjects.