Our focus on cortisol started with Sleep Series Part 4 which laid out the science of what cortisol is, its cycle, and how it affects sleep. In the following post, we looked at a few reasons why evening cortisol might be high. The last post presented methods for lowering evening cortisol levels such as finding ways to laugh, meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, listening to or playing music, getting a massage, and easy exercise outdoors. With lower evening cortisol levels, high-quality sleep is easier to come by. So if your sleep is suffering and you feel as though stress might be to blame, you could try these practices and see if your situation improves.
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.
The last post in this series discussed how light influences your circadian rhythm, and the health effects of blue-light exposure during the day and its negative effects at night (which was discussed in Sleep Series Part 2). This post will look at the effect of the hormone cortisol and how it gives us energy and focus through the day, and then drops off and allows us to relax and sleep properly at night. Let’s take a look at cortisol! Continue reading Sleep Series – Part 4: Cortisol and Sleep