In previous blog posts, cortisol has been mentioned in relation to what elevated levels can to do the body long term. But did you know that cortisol can affect your sleep patterns as well.
It’s estimated that as many as 1 in 8 people have trouble sleeping on a regular basis.
Due to high stress lifestyles, many people are in a constant state where they feel ‘switched on’. This is there body staying in the flight or fight response or the sympathetic nervous system, which is good in small amounts. But when we have this constantly. One of the main results is sleep deprivation or poor levels of deep sleep.
Due to this our body will struggle to receive the deep levels of REM sleep that we need which is generally between 7-8 hours a night. Cortisol in short, limits our ability to become well rested. Another sign is broken sleep or waking up feeling exhausted.
One of the common misconceptions is that alcohol ‘improves sleep’. While alcohol may give you this inclination as a matter of fact it is quite the opposite. Alcohol will raise your cortisol levels and prevent your body from getting into the deep REM sleep. This means that you will wake up feeling exhausted. There are healthy ways to lower cortisol levels and improve your sleep. These will lead to longer lasting effects and a deeper sleep overall.
Ways to lower cortisol to improve sleep patterns include:
#4: Breathing techniques
#5: Improvement in nutrition
#6: Lowering alcohol levels
#7: Going to bed an hour earlier