Do you toss and turn for hours before falling asleep? Do you have trouble staying sound asleep? Do you get a second wind of energy at night? Are you constantly tired and stressed out during the day? Then let’s talk about cortisol!
WHAT IS CORTISOL?
Cortisol is your go-go-go hormone, the one that skyrockets when you are under stress and makes you want to fight or flee. It is made by the organ called adrenals, and looks like a little hat sitting on top of your kidneys. Small but mighty and powerful, the adrenals has everything to do with your energy levels, state of alertness, and your ability to sleep. When under stress, your adrenals responds to the threat by releasing the “stress-hormone” called cortisol, which acts to protect your body from the damages of stress.
In today’s society, many of us are way too overworked, too under-rested, oppressed by too much pressure, and definitely over stressed. Well guess what happens to your adrenals? They keep releasing and releasing cortisol until they get super tired and flame out.
HOW DOES CHRONIC STRESS AFFECT MY CORTISOL LEVELS?
Optimally, a healthy cortisol curve is high in the morning, and tapers off throughout the day, and tanks low enough at night so that you feel tired and get ready for bed. Once you’re under chronic stress, your adrenals start to make cortisol all throughout the day, making your cortisol curve look like roller coaster. If you put your adrenal’s cortisol production to overdrive even further, it starts to tank in the morning, and have high cortisol at night – a flipped cortisol curve.
SO WHAT EFFECT DOES UNHEALTHY CORTISOL LEVEL HAVE IN YOUR BODY?
Unbalanced cortisol levels will wipe out your body’s serotonin – your happy hormone – which can lead to depression, irritability, and food addiction. High spikes in cortisol also makes your body store fat, making you gain weight, especially around your belly. When cortisol hits its low, you feel extreme fatigue and brain fog. It wreaks havoc on your other hormones, including your estrogen, testosterone, and thyroid. It’s no wonder people who are overworked and have adrenal fatigue also has hypothyroidism! When you have the flipped cortisol curve and have the high cortisol at night, it keeps you wide awake and alert, leading to insomnia or night terrors.
“OKAY, SOUNDS EXACTLY LIKE ME! WHAT SHOULD I DO?”
Come see Dr. Alice for a full evaluation of your health! Since cortisol has such a big role in the whole entire hormone pathway, it is best to evaluate your body as a whole to get to the bottom of what exactly is going on. Even if you are at adrenal exhaustion, there are many ways to nourish and nurture your adrenals back to health! Like any hormone issues, the healing process may take a while, and you need to patiently add health into your body daily, but the results will be so very worth it!