In a nutshell here’s how it goes:
1. The body is a magnificent interconnected design. Small Changes = Big Impact
2. Cortisol is meant to do miraculous things in the body. Too much of a good thing [cortisol] isn’t a good thing.
3. Healthy cortisol regulation is vital for good sleep.
4. Breakfast with quality protein and healthy fat supports healthy cortisol levels (and more).
5. Little tweaks make ‘Good Baby’ sleep a lifestyle.
Read on for the lowdown on how to make it happen in your life….
The human body is a miraculous manifestation of nature and nurture. Infinite wisdom directs the body to constantly seek a relatively stable equilibrium. This ebb and flow of function responds to input of stimuli from our food and environment.
This adaptation of physiological processes is homeostasis. When the body senses the slightest change in its environment, homeostasis sparks a reaction in the body. The slightest change could be as seemingly minor as a slight breeze or temperature change. Most of the reactions resulting from the body’s quest for homeostasis are unnoticed by the senses. Big stimuli such as the perception of stress create a chain of adaptive responses in the body.
According to the US National Library for Medicine National Institutes for Health, the reported total cells that make up a human being ranges between 10(12) and 10(16). Complex interplay among the cells sends signals for hormones to regulate metabolic function; electrical communication; energy creation from nutrition; and an indescribable number of other automatic actions and reactions the body performs to keep us breathing and upright.
When we make happy healthy choices for the body and mind, the human system is rewarded with a plethora of benefits. Alternatively, stressful choices of the body and mind counteract the system with negative ramifications. The body can only do so much. When chronic stressors are being re-balanced, function becomes stressed. Simply put, something has to give.
Cortisol, released by the adrenal glands, is known as the stress hormone. Cortisol has many important functions in addition to triggering fight, flight or freeze when stress is perceived. It also aids with:
· Healthy blood glucose levels
· Blood pressure
· Cardiovascular and Central Nervous System health
· Sleep cycles
Cortisol is intended to down regulate at night, giving the body a chance to recover, rest and rejuvenate. When over excreted in our modern world of stress, cortisol doesn’t down regulate as the body was designed to function. Chronically high cortisol may result in more stored fat, slow wound healing, poor bone density, blood sugar imbalances, disrupted thyroid function and brain fog. The adrenal glands can become stressed, resulting in health issues. For women, the adrenals are of particular importance because at menopause, when the ovaries stop making estrogen, the adrenals take over estrogen production. Stressed adrenals struggle to support more function when already burdened.
The importance of good quality and quantity of sleep cannot be overstated. Adequate sleep:
· Promotes a healthy heart
· Reduces inflammation
· Boosts mood & helps us feel bright and perky
· Helps with healthy weight
· Increases reaction time
· Boosts immunity
· Improves concentration & cognitive function
· Promotes a better sex life
· Aids muscle recovery & coordination
· Boosts pain tolerance
· Rejuvenates the body
· Encourages happiness & healthy relationships
Healthy cortisol levels support better sleep because blood sugar stabilization is supported. Energy is sustained. We snack less. Mood and attention are better throughout the day. We don’t perceive so much stress and are more inclined to make stress relieving choices and have happier relationships.
Eating a breakfast with quality protein and healthy fat supports healthy cortisol levels. The adrenals aren’t triggered to release cortisol as often by the small change of eating a quality breakfast. Cortisol levels are inclined to naturally fall as we approach bedtime promote restful sleep. Fueling ourselves well for the day ahead after a restful sleep promotes a repeat and reinforcement of more good sleep.
Mindfully wind down with evening and bedtime habits that promote relaxation and healthy cortisol levels. Here are tips that work for me:
· Turn off devices an hour before sleep time.
· Make a peaceful place to put the day to rest.
· Let go of stress with a salt bath for body or feet.
· Brew a cup of herbal tea.
· Read something for fun (no work reading).
· Dim the lights.
· No night time snacking helps the body focus on sleep benefits and not digestion.
Find out how much sleep you need on a day off work, sleep as long as you are able without alarm. Try this over a few days off work to find your optimal groove. For most adults the ideal number of hours is 7 to 9. If we are recovering from adrenal fatigue, the number could be 10–12. Supporting recovery is a wonderful way to care for you. When we care this deeply to figure out how to make ourselves a priority we have much more to give others. A long term strategy for wellness is to be honest with yourself about what is right for you and take action. It’s time to move away from a deprivation model of life and love you more. Sweet Dreams
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. This article has not been reviewed by the FDA. Always consult with your primary care Physician or Naturopathic Doctor before making any significant changes to your health and wellness routine.
Originally published at medium.com