Time for another installment in the Sleep Series! We already learned about high-quality sleep and why days are supposed to be bright, while nights should be dark. The last post introduced the stress hormone cortisol, and its effect on sleep. In an ideal situation, cortisol is naturally high in the morning and tapers off throughout the day to low levels in the evening resulting in high-quality sleep.
In modernity, stressors don’t stop just because it’s night time (though I suppose we don’t worry about nocturnal predators anymore). Evening cortisol levels can be elevated for a number of reasons. I don’t want anyone stressing about stress, so let’s have a good look at some sources of stress to become aware of some common causes of elevated evening cortisol levels.