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We all know that feeling you get when you hear a strange sound in the middle of the night: your heart races, your eyes dilate, your entire body tenses. Whether the sound turns out to be an intruder or just your dog moving around in the other room, what you are experiencing is fear. We know it affects the mind, but in addition, fear impacts your health in some surprising ways.

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1. Inability to Relax

Thinking back to that hypothetical noise you heard in the introduction, remember how you usually feel once the sound stops. You rarely feel rested or comfortable -- even if you are relieved to find that the sound was just your pet, you will most likely still be awake for a while. Once the body experiences the fear response, it is slow to relax. It is preparing itself for the next sound or the next time it needs to get ready to fight or flee, which makes it very difficult for you to settle afterward. This only gets worse when the fear sensation is very strong or continues for a very long time.

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This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional.