How to Reduce Cortisol Levels Naturally
Cortisol is the stress hormone responsible for controlling many of the body’s functions to include:
-controlling the body’s sleep-wake cycle aka circadian rhythm
-manages the body’s use of macronutrients such as carbs, fats, and proteins
-helps reduce inflammation
-controls blood pressure
-regulates blood sugar levels
Typically, cortisol should be higher in the morning and slowly decreases as the day goes on. By bedtime, your cortisol level should be low enough, allowing you to get a good night’s sleep.
Why does a dysregulation in cortisol levels matter?
Excess cortisol can cause severe stress on the body as the body never enters the parasympathetic state (when the body is calm and at rest). Rather, the body is always alert and on the go, not allowing many organs to do their job and bringing on bothersome symptoms. Cortisol levels that are too low can also cause problematic symptoms and lead to dysfunction in the body.
Common symptoms of excess cortisol are:
-high blood pressure
-flushed feeling, especially in the face
-rapid weight gain
-fatigue and weakness
-in women, irregular periods
Common symptoms of low cortisol are:
-fatigue and weakness
-low blood pressure
-low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
So what can you do to regulate cortisol levels naturally?
Reduce stress! Easier said than done, but stress is usually the number one reason for changes in cortisol levels. Find effective stress management techniques that can help you calm the mind, such as meditation, journaling, or a hobby that you like.
Eat a well-balanced, whole-foods diet. This means also reducing sugar intake as excess sugar causes inflammation in the body, not allowing it to rest and heal.
Get your sleep! Good, quality sleep is essential for hormone regulation because during sleep hours is when our body heals the most.
Exercise. Find an exercise routine that works best for you. More doesn’t always mean better. It can be as simple as a 30 minute walk every day or 10 minutes of yoga to begin.
Take supplements if needed. Supplements such as fish oil, valerian root, ashwagandha, ginseng, and B-vitamins can significantly help control cortisol levels.
Aromatherapy. Using essential oils such as lavender have been proven to help with sleep and anxiety.
Laugh! Laughter increases endorphins (hormones responsible for the feeling of pleasure or euphoria) and in turn can help with pain relief as well as increase oxygen in the body, similar to what exercise does.
Grounding helps reset the circadian rhythm which in turn helps improve sleep quality. So go out and enjoy a nice barefooted walk.
Do you suspect cortisol is to blame for your fatigue or inability to lose weight? Contact us and let us know how we can help!