Cortisol and the last 2 hours of sleep

What is cortisol? When your body is under stress it releases a steroid hormone produced in the adrenal cortex.

Here’s the downside to increased cortisol:

  • causes your body to store fat in your abdomen
  • increases blood sugar as your body is struggling to adapt (not great if you’re trying to lose some fat or flatten your belly)
  • suppress the immune system
  • aid in the metabolism of fat, protein, and carbohydrates
  • prolonged stress can lead to wasting away of muscle

Check out the video below to see how cortisol and the last two hours of sleep are related along with a few tips:

Here are some other ways you can help reduce cortisol levels:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish oil or flax oil)
  • Music therapy (I love the Pandora app and created a few anti-stress channels:  my go-to if I’m crazy stressed is Native American Flute Radio or Piano Sonata No. 14, yoga, vibration and others are Portishead, Sade, chill out radio; Some standards – Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, & Sammy Davis, Jr., Glen Miller Orchestra radio, Harry Connick Jr., India Arie, jazz essentials, and Lana Del Rey).
  • Meditation:  our brain works overtime all the time… monkey brain…teach it to be still and content
  • Massage:  (it just so happens we have our very own massage therapist here at Energy Fitness!)
  • Black tea:  This one won’t work for those that don’t tolerate caffeine so this might actually stress you out.

Here are 4 of Tonya’s tricks to help you sleep better so you can get the
full benefit of those last two hours:

  1. Chamomile tea – relax with a nice hot cup and maybe a good book. 
  2. MyoCalm from Metagenics – this is a specialized formula that supplies bioavailable forms of calcium and magnesium that play a role in muscle contraction and relaxation.
  3. Stretch – get down on the floor and do some mild stretching right before bed. It helps with the transition into sleep.
  4. Find a great mattress – I’ve been loving my Sleep Number bed and discovering that what I think I have always liked (a hard mattress) isn’t what my body likes as my body is ever changing and sometimes my body likes 30%, 60% or 90% firmness. A handy sleep IQ app gives me a score to prove it along with how long it took me to get to sleep and if it was restful or not.

One big “No-No” before bed… checking email or social media. Don’t do it. Not only does the blue light emission affect your ability to fall asleep, but it can often raise your cortisol levels if you’re reading certain things. And let’s face it… there’s plenty on social media that can keep us up at night!

Bottom line… relax… be present… be in the moment.

Find what’s healthy and works for you and your waistline!

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