CORTISOL, THE GOOD, THE BAD
& THE UGLY
& THE UGLY
Let's talk hormones... hormones are the chemicals in your body that give you energy, make you feel happy, sad or angry and help your body to function. They are like chemical messengers, all systems in your body talk to each other and hormones are the language your body speaks.
There are many different hormones in the body, however in today's cray cray world, It's important to understand the relationship with stress and your stress hormone cortisol so I will focus on this bad boy for now.
Cortisol is the chronic stress hormone. it keeps your body's reaction to stress in balance.
Now cortisol often gets a bad rap, this is because he can be your best friend or your worst freaking nightmare!
As the saying goes, keep your friends close and your enemies closer., this is exceptionally true for cortisol, as too much or too little can have adverse effects on your health.
Your cortisol levels determine whether or not you have the energy to bounce out of bed in the morning, or if you have to literally drag yourself up at the sound of your alarm. If you are suffering from insomnia, most likely this guy is to blame as he blocks the production of melatonin - your sleep hormone, BUT.... before you get too cranky at him, he is also the guy who controls your immune system, reduces inflammation, stops you feeling pain and buffers the amount of insulin allowing you to maintain stable blood sugar levels and burn fat for fuel. Yep he also controls your weight so be nice to him.
He can however be rather sinister and mess with your sex hormone production decreasing your libido and your mood. Yep that's right sista he may also be the reason you are wearing your cranky pants a lot and are not getting any action in the bedroom. Basically you need this bad boy for your survival
Cortisol has a natural cycle that is in tune with your circadian rhythm. Normally he rises around 6am and peaks about 8am and gradually declines throughout the day, apart from stepping in from time to time to assist you with challenges in your day. By evening cortisol should be at his lowest, allowing you to wind down and rest.
With Adrenal Fatigue morning cortisol levels tend to be low making it difficult to get up out of bed. By mid afternoon cortisol is very low, which sends you on the hunt for something sweet or more caffeine for a burst of energy to get through your day. Usually your cortisol levels will start increasing around 6pm and peak at 10pm, giving you a second wind but making you tired and wired and unable to sleep until levels decrease again around 2am.
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, It is recommended to get your cortisol levels tested - the saliva test takes samples 6 times throughout the day to monitor your cortisol cycle. You can order a test here