Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands that helps regulate activation of thyroid hormone, bone resorption, muscle strength, energy production, resistance to infection and cancer, resistance to autoimmune diseases, and intensity of allergic reactions. Cortisol is a strong determinant in how rejuvenating sleep will be. Cortisol is produced in cyclic patterns with the highest levels being released in the morning and the lowest at night. When there is a disruption in this rhythm the symptoms include fatigue, low sex drive, infertility, mirgaine headaches, adult acne, abdominal bloating, and either low or high blood pressure. When there is a disruption of cortisol levels at night this will affect the quality of sleep. If the cortisol level is high during the night, an individual will have disrupted rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and will wake up not feeling refreshed, no matter how many hours of sleep they get. If you want to have rejuvenating sleep it is essential to have a normal cortisol level at night. Implementing lifestyle changes such as daily exercise, a Mediterrean diet, and meditation are some of the ways to balance cortisol levels.
Info provided by: Well Being Journal, "Eat Your Way to Better Sleep," by Pauline Harding, MD
In good health,