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How To Lower Cortisol And Improve Your Sleep

Today we are going to talk about cortisol and the quality of sleep that you get.

Cortisol Wave

Cortisol actually is on a circadian rhythm. You have these waves of hormones. This is the cortisol wave. Eight in the morning is when you have the highest cortisol levels supposedly. In theory, right? And then, it starts to decrease through the day. Twelve noon, four, eight, it starts coming down. 8 p.m. over here. Then, it hits its lowest between twelve and two o'clock in the middle of the night. Twelve midnight and 2 a.m. This is when we are supposed to be sleeping in deep sleep. That is the normal pattern that you are supposed to go through.

If these circadian waves are out of whack, you could have high cortisol in the middle of the night and low cortisol in the morning. That is the situation where, in the morning, that is your best sleep. Just when the alarm clock goes off, that is when you really want to go to sleep. Yet at two o'clock in the morning or twelve, you are wide awake and ready to go.

That is because your circadian waves are off. Circadian waves are influenced by a lot of different things. One is other hormones like neurotransmitters, serotonin or melatonin, which are made by the pineal gland in the brain. Now, the pineal is synced up with this tiny little clock in the hypothalamus in your brain. It is called the suprachiasmatic nuclei. Not that you need to know that, but if you are ever on Trivial Pursuit and that comes up, now you know. This gland that triggers melatonin, which helps you go to sleep, is triggered by darkness.

No lights. Ideally, before you go to bed, you should have low lights, right? You shouldn't have bright lights in your eyes because it goes right through the eyes and then triggers this cascade of hormones. Then in the morning when you wake up, you are supposed to have a light that wakes you up. The sun comes up, the light wakes you up. But because we are in rooms that are lighted all day long until we go to sleep, it can throw things off as well.

Best Time To Go To Sleep
The ideal time to go to bed would be roughly 10:30-ish. You can go a little bit earlier or a little bit later. Now, you also have other waves going on that are not directly related to cortisol. You are like your sleep waves. You go through four 90-minute sleep cycles. You go from a superficial sleep, which is the REM sleep, to a deeper sleep, which is called the Delta. There are actually 4 levels there. It is all synced with the amount of light and darkness that your eyes are exposed to.

In fact, in the morning, at five o'clock in the morning, I cannot sleep in. I am totally awake and ready to go. Now, I may take a little nap right here. A power nap. I can actually just go out within a minute, and 10 minutes later, wake up feeling refreshed. I might, maybe right around here or here, take that power nap. But I found that when you do intermittent fasting, the need for sleep goes down. You don't need as much sleep.

What Can Damage Cortisol?

There are certain things that can really mess up your cortisol. Physical stress, trauma, surgeries, emotional stress, losses. Chronic sustained stress over a long period of time can really mess up cortisol. Too much caffeine. In college, I drink lots of coffee to stay awake. Eventually, my [inaudible] started going downhill. We have sugar that can create all sorts of blood sugar problems and some resistance.

What happens when you have a blood sugar problem is that when you go to bed at night, you might wake up because of a hypoglycemic reaction when the blood sugar goes down. In this situation where you have blood sugar issues, you cannot go for a long period of time without eating.

Normally, you are eating every hour and a half or maybe every two hours because you are always hungry or snacking. When you go to bed, let's say you are going to bed at 10:30, you are not going to potentially eat for another seven hours, right? Well, what happens with blood sugar problems is you end up with hypoglycemia in the middle of the night. You have counter hormones that counter this drop in blood sugar.

Hormones And The Impact On Sleep

They are called counterregulatory hormones. The big one is adrenaline. Adrenaline releases sugar from stored sugar and even can help you make new sugar. We get this adrenaline effect, which is basically just countering the low blood sugar.
It just pops you right out of that deep sleep. This is why I recommend doing Keto and intermittent fasting to fix this right here. It is also going to help improve your digestion to the point where you are not going to get too much bloating because bloating, in general, can really interfere with your sleep cycles.

The Effects Of Electromagnetic Fields

Then we have electromagnetic fields or electromagnetic frequencies. Like this stuff right here, on a cellphone, on the computer all day long, around power cables. That can really throw off the pineal gland and your sleep cycles and increase cortisol big time. Watch my video where I talk about EMF because it is quite interesting. Overtraining with exercise can do it just with no recovery. I have had people exercise too much and their pulse rate is so high, they cannot seem to get it down. The pulse rate, in general, keeps them from getting into a deep sleep. But if you are not overtraining, a good amount of exercise can help you sleep. It really all depends on your recovery system. When you are sleeping, you are actually building up your recovery system. The key is optimizing your workouts.

Nutrients That Can Deplete Cortisol

There are certain nutrients that you can take to actually reduce cortisol. Potassium is a big one. Make sure that you have enough potassium because potassium is a physiological tranquilizer. It calms the muscles and nerves down. Also, Vitamin B1 is really good to help reduce cortisol. This one right here. You will feel it within minutes after taking B1. You will feel a sense of relaxation. This is really an important one right here because high levels of cortisol deplete your B1. They also deplete your potassium and magnesium, too. Magnesium is another one that goes along with potassium and can help calm you down and reduce cortisol. Another thing that is really good is walking for a half-hour or maybe 45 minutes. Very good for cortisol, very good for the adrenals. It gets you into another environment, and it really will help you reduce cortisol.

Those are the tips to help you reduce cortisol, so you can sleep at night. If you are enjoying this content, go ahead and share it with someone that could really benefit from it.

This content was provided by Dr. Eric Berg


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