Stress and Cortisol
Let's talk cortisol. Why sleep is so important.
We have a naturally occurring curve of cortisol that works beautifully with our diurnal rhythm. Naturally it will peak around 8 am and dip around 9-10 pm. This also follows the pattern of sun. This is also why it's best to allow our bodies to naturally fall asleep at this time and wake up with the sun. Deviating from this natural pattern is often what puts us into stressful patterns. As cortisol lowers at night, melatonin naturally rises aiding sleep. Generally when we miss these windows we find ourselves "tired and wired". Introducing alcohol to sleep or caffeine to wake up now creates a problematic situation of over-stimulation, grogginess, fatigue, anxiety and more. Between the hours of 2-3 am our thyroid hormones also increase and cortisol slowly begins to ramp up allowing us to wake up feeling rested. If we are out of sync with our body, if we are pumping on adrenaline and stimulating cortisol spikes through the day, we begin to burn our or body and this compounds over time. We need to use up lots of minerals in our body (that we should be getting from food). Calcium is pulled out of our blood and we also go into this "fight or flight" mode. Magnesium is used to vaso-dilate helping us to relax. Sodium is used to retain blood pressure. Potassium is used to repair tissue.
This article will give you all the information about the different stages of how cortisol spikes at different times of the day that could be impacting you. Check and see what your symptoms are; is this you? Are you tired, wired, groggy, moody, lethargic, lacking energy, having brain fog? There's a lot covered here, that I can not go into on our FB posts, but will try to bring these up over the year.
So, I asked you about your sleep a while back on the FB group. This was to get a sample data for this group. If you go back and read, most of us are having trouble with sleep. This has to do with your cortisol. There's a lot we can do do help this, and I will go into this more. But for now, consider limiting your caffeine. Know that you actually DON't need it to wake up IF you are getting good sleep- get good sleep by reducing your caffeine, yes it's a loop. Reduce your night time alcohol consumption. Alcohol significantly disturbs your sleep cycle and doesn't allow for deep sleep (more on that to come). Drink water in the morning, drink water 2-3 hours before bed, and limit your nighttime exposure to artificial light (this is why we are trying to read a paper book at night vs staring at a screen).
I hope you find all this information helpful. This module on stress and cortisol (in my IHP coursework) changed everything for me. It helped me open my eyes to everything I was doing wrong and wondering why. I can also say that making these small changes have changed things dramatically for my clients as well. They are small but they are significant.
Check out this article and see which curve you fall under. Don't get overwhelmed or feeling defeated. This is an epidemic we are facing as a society so knowledge is power. Knowing allows you to make actionable steps towards change. Small changes lead to big ones. So, take a breath and decide to make just 1 small change.
The issue with stress and mineral depletion is also why I have turned to supplements. Sometimes we need a boost. You can read all the articles that say there's no benefit to it, but know that most research is based on lab rats, or meta data. You need to look at how each individual functions. We are all different. Our input and output varies. So, meta data does not give information per person. It has be be bio-individualized nutrition and health. This is the best way to know what works for you. Check out this article for more on how cortisol works in our bodies and how it works when you are in high stress modes. Which one are you? How to Balance Your Cortisol Levels Naturally
The “stress hormone” cortisol is essential for energy and health, but when it’s out of balance, you are, too. Learn how to manage low cortisol levels and high cortisol levels to keep inflammation, cravings, and belly fat at bay.