Trouble sleeping? You’re not alone. So many people lay awake night after night wondering why they can’t fall asleep even though they’re absolutely exhausted. The main culprit here? Cortisol.
Ok – what is cortisol?
Cortisol is a steroid hormone made by our adrenal glands. It has many functions – it is involved in our body’s blood sugar regulation (it helps the body use sugar and fat for energy) and helps the body manage stress.
I hear most people say they lay awake and can’t sleep because of stress and/or anxiety. Well – that’s partially true. ANY stress response = a cortisol response. Here’s the thing, emotional stress isn’t the only kind of stress that triggers the body to release cortisol though. Physical stress, environmental stress, food allergies etc. can cause this as well. Even too much sugar in the diet will trigger this . . . isn’t that amazing?
Ok so let’s put this all together – essentially we ideally have the highest amount of cortisol in the morning, giving us energy, and it slowly decreases during the day until it reaches its lowest point before we go to sleep. When we have trouble falling or staying asleep, we can assume that our cortisol levels are too high when they should be at their lowest point – keeping us awake or waking us up.
The solution? Decrease cortisol or help your brain (specifically the hypothalamus) realize (become sensitive to) when you’ve released enough cortisol in your body. You also need to reduce as many stressors on your body as possible. This can look like a diet change, some lifestyle changes, using some supplements or essential oils to aid in the process, etc.
A couple good products that I use and recommend are Cortisol Brakes & Anxiety Release from Meo Energetics. These are essential oils that energetically stimulate your hypothalamus and help get rid of the “worrier” inside of you. Links are below.
Another great solution is to go on a Sugar Control Diet for 2-3 weeks to regulate your blood sugar and give your poor adrenal glands a break! Let me know if you’d be interested in this and I can help you implement it.
Finally, the nutritional supplement, melatonin, can be helpful as well. You would take 1 dose about 30 minutes before going to bed, but for no longer than 2-3 weeks. This supplement will aid in regulating your circadian rhythms/sleep cycles.
Something to note: we do not produce melatonin when our body senses light. So yes, no more looking at your phone or watching TV before going to bed!! A good ‘ole conversation with your spouse or reading a good book is better for your sleep patterns and overall health!