Many people know about cortisol which peaks in the morning to wake us and then dwindles as the day progresses. Melatonin on the other hand wanes in the morning and creeps back up to its peak in the evening allowing us to go to sleep. Both ideally and theoretically. Melatonin and cortisol are not the only peaks and valleys in the system but without getting them back in step you won’t be able to correct other hormonal imbalances.
Experts put cortisol dysregulation at 92% of the population. We don’t live in a primal world. Some people never see the sun, let alone feel it on their skin. We can do anything we want whenever we want. We aren’t active throughout the day, but instead exercise in spurts. 90 cents of every dollar we spend on food is thrown away on processed garbage which dismantles our internal clocks through blood sugar spikes, insulin surges, and food sensitives/allergies.
Most of our lives are not ideal, and thus theoretically most Americans do not have intact circadian rhythms (internal clocks) causing some sort of “Adrenal Fatigue”. For most people, adrenal burnout or fatigue is likely brain based. The adrenal glands are just hormone factories doing what they are told to do.
To fix the problem you have to change the message to and from the brain. Ultimately you have to change the message to the brain by breaking the stress response and telling the body there is not a charging animal and a five alarm fire around every street corner.
This again is highly individual and you have to figure out what your stressors are: environmental, over-exercising, under-exercising, blood sugar swings, food intolerances, and/or a combination of the above.
Example Case Study: You claim to be a night owl. You are most productive in the evening and wouldn’t dream of going to bed before midnight. You “feel” fine, but crave sugar and get irritable between meals. You also wouldn’t dream of eating a big breakfast.
The first and most common form of cortisol dysregulation is an inverted rhythm. Meaning cortisol is higher at night than in the morning. Due to this rhythm, this person feels dog tired in the morning and progressively gets more energy as the day goes on.
They may still get really tired in the afternoon if this has been going on for a long time, but then they catch a second wind and perk back up in the evening. Due to cortisol being high in the evening, they aren’t going to be able to get a good night’s rest and the horrific cycle continues…
This is because they are in a pattern of cortisol dysregulation. What they need to do is exactly the opposite of what they will want to do. They first need to reestablish their cortisol awakening response which can be done with a very short bout of exercise (a few stretches, yoga poses, etc) upon waking (talking 5-10 min), they have to eat something for breakfast that has protein and fat, and they have to control their blood sugar throughout the day.
Then they need to cover all the other aspects involved in building health: investigate underlying and unseen causes of stress, limit work and emotional stress whenever possible, move every day, get sunlight especially in the morning and unplug at night.
They may hate this for a time, but in two months when they feel better than they ever have and are sleeping like a baby from 10pm to 6am, they will so grateful for the change!!
If you are one of those “night owls”, look to implant the small changes above and not only will you be sleeping better, but you’ll see drastic changes in your weight/fat loss goals as well. : )
Committed to YOUR success,