Most people these days are like busy little bees, buzzing from one place to the next; flitting from one task to another. This heightened state is commonly known as ‘fight or flight’ and in order to support the body through this ‘crisis’ state, our adrenal glands pump out cortisol.
If your cortisol levels stay high even after the crisis, they can compromise the immune system. Temporary boosts of cortisol help with long-term memory, but high levels undermine memory and may lead to permanent changes in the brain.
Additionally, excessive cortisol has been linked with major depression, osteoporosis (it extracts calcium and other minerals from bones and interferes with the laying down of new bone), high blood pressure, and insulin resistance.
In rats, high cortisol levels lead to what researchers call “food-seeking behaviour” (the kind that drives you to eat when you’re upset, angry, or stressed). The body takes those extra calories and distributes them as fat in the abdomen, contributing to weight gain and the risk of diabetes and heart attack.
Cortisol is what wakes us up in the morning.
The levels rise naturally and gradually towards the end of our final sleep cycle. However with a heightened cortisol level you’ll probably be waking in the early hours of the morning, as your natural cycle increases your cortisol level to waking point. That’s why you can’t get back to sleep!
So get yourself fit and healthy on the inside by:
- Exercising for 20 minutes when you get home from work
- Practising yoga – Try this short sequence
- Meditating – Try this 2 minute meditation
- Having a reflexology treatment – Read more here
Contact Dawn to discuss which treatment will best suit your needs.