August 25, 2020 3 min read

How much do you know about cortisol? It has been a hot topic to talk about the relationship cortisol has on sleep and some things that may pass your mind if you even know anything about it.


What is cortisol exactly?


Cortisol is a stimulating, alerting hormone that plays the role of giving the body attention to a “fight or flight” response in the presence of threat or stress. It also plays a role in regulating blood pressure, balancing blood sugar, influencing inflammation, regulating energy levels, contributing to the cardiac system function and helping control the sleep-wake cycle. In simple terms, it helps keep your body being normal from not freaking out with too much stress…


What happens when you have too much cortisol in your system some chronic illnesses may happen, weight gain, fatigue, difficulty with memory and focus, problems with digestion and sleep problems.


We wanted to focus on how cortisol can help both positively and negatively with sleep so that you are left with some practices on how to handle stress.


How can I regulate cortisol?


1.Keep track of your heart rate


If you know what your resting heart rate is and your heart rate is 10 to 12 percent higher than normal it’s probably a good indicator that your body is working harder to recover from the previous day… So rest! The reason why cortisol can kick in is because of having too much stress, and sometimes having a day off from what you did to bring on that stress can help


2.Schedule recovery days


Along with having days off, it’s pretty important to allow your body to recover in general. When you are working hard in life and trying to squeeze every ounce of time from your day you can tend to overwork. Allow your body to destress or deload from those days. If you are an athlete or someone at the gym frequently you can understand the importance of recovery days. Similar to everyone else, we all need recovery days.


Try incorporating yoga into your life, watching a tv show, going for a nice walk with music on… Any way that you can get away from the high intensity in your life the better opportunity for your cortisol levels to even out so you are not always so high strung.


3.Regulate your life as much as possible


Okay, the last point and maybe the most important. Cortisol plays a role towards your body as a trigger to help you not “freak out” when things are getting stressful. Any irregularities in your life will start rocking the ship and cortisol will kick in. It’s like a safety buffer if your body is really about to go in shock or have too much stress. It’s the adrenaline that gets pumped into your life when there is simply too much going on.


When you are consistent with your body and your life your cortisol levels are reduced, your body knows how to trigger your system to wake up and go to sleep and you are simply less stressed.


How do I get better sleep?


As we mentioned in previous articles, having a schedule and being prepared to have consistency in your life will ultimately help with lowering cortisol in your system, having less stress and in return having better sleep. Understand life is a rhythm, keep the beat of your life as smooth as possible and see how your body reacts…


Conclusion


Cortisol is a hormone in our body that kicks in when stress happens. Our body can only handle so much stress in our life before we start reaping the negative effects from too much cortisol like poor sleep. If you want to increase happier, healthier sleep, regulate your life and stick to a consistent pattern with sleeping, resting as much as possible.