Episode 47: Jaime Tartar on the Brain, The Body, and Sleep For Chronic Stress Reduction & Longevity

Episode 47 of the Strength Ratio Podcast features Neuroscientist, Ph.D Jaime Tartar, Professor at Nova Southeastern University and President of the non-profit, “Society for NeuroSports”.

Jaime joins us to discuss sleep and stress in the context of general health and performance. Jaime begins the show by defending the body’s stress response: “It works perfectly fine”, says Jaime. “Sometimes we come down too hard on stress, the stress response, and cortisol when, in fact, they’re doing what they’re supposed to do.”

What becomes problematic for our health and performance, however, is chronic stress and rumination. Jaime explains how, as with our muscles, we can train the brain to better overcome its inherent negativity bias—one that kept our ancient ancestors alive, but that can potentially have a negative affect on our modern lives.

This process indeed takes time, but fortunately there are many methods that can be used to increase positivity and to improve the control we have over our thoughts. Such methods include mindfulness, redirecting/reframing, yoga, prayer, and much more.

Next, Jaime describes how one can also reduce stress with physical activity and exercise. This type of exercise works differently than exercise for the mind, in that physical activity releases Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). BDNF acts on certain neurons of the brain, helping to support the survival of existing neurons, and encourage the growth and differentiation of new neurons and synapses.

Jaime spends the latter half of the podcast discussing what we’ve learned from the past few decades of sleep research including the benefits of sleep, and the notable health consequences of poor sleep hygiene.

If you’d like to learn more about the topics presented in this podcast, we encourage you to follow @societyforneurosports on Instagram, and visit www.neurosports.net.

Kyle Clechenko