Get A Good Nights Sleep
Although insomnia can be a symptom of high cortisol, it can also cause high cortisol. That is why its important to set aside enough time to rest each night. Seven to nine hours is the recommended amount of time to sleep in order for a body to function at its best. However, its also important to get good quality sleep. In order to make it easier to fall asleep and reduce the chance of waking up in the middle of the night, limit exposure to sunlight and avoid technology for at least an hour before getting into bed. Naps are also an excellent way to get a boost of energy throughout the day while also preventing high cortisol levels.
How Food Affects Stress And Anxiety
Eating foods such as processed meats, high sugar foods, caffeine and alcohol, which provide little nutritional value, have been associated with more psychiatric symptoms and can increase cortisol levelsour primary hormone responsible for stress, she said. A diet high in whole foods and low in processed foods can help maintain healthy cortisol levels.
Research has shown that increases in stress and cortisol have been linked to an increased risk of developing obesity, metabolic syndromes, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, depression and other disorders of the brain.
Certain foods may also reduce stress and anxiety. Eating a healthy diet high in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains and healthy fats can help decrease stress and anxiety and boost mood and self-esteem, Hemmes said. These foods provide your body with the nutrients you and your brain need to function properly.
Where Is Cortisol Produced
Cortisol is a hormone produced in the adrenal glands, two triangular-shaped glands, one atop each kidney. The adrenal glands release cortisol into the blood at specific times a day, in accordance with a sort of internal clock that regulates cortisol levels. These glands receive signals from the brain’s pituitary gland that tell them when to make and release cortisol.5
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How Can I Stop Waking Up With Anxiety
If you would like to stop waking up with anxiety, try getting more sleep brushing up on your sleep hygiene, establish an enjoyable morning routine and try not to set up more then 1 alarm where you have the opportunity to use the snooze button. In addition, you could try mindfulness, use positive affirmations, keep a journal to write all of your thoughts, exercise regularly, or even practice yoga.
Cortisol And Anxiety Go Hand
Cortisol regulates a wide range of processes throughout the body. This important steroid hormone is involved in many body functions, including proper glucose metabolism, the regulation of blood pressure, immune function, and the inflammatory response, among others. It also has a central role in helping the body respond to stress. Cortisol is released in response to fear or stress by the adrenal glands as part of the fight-or-flight mechanism. This causes heightened levels of breathing and an increased heart rate. These short-term bursts of cortisol are necessary to help us recover from the effects of stress. They boost blood sugar levels, providing immediate energy. They also reduce the response to pain and enhance short-term memory, helping us survive when faced with threatening situations.
A little cortisol goes a long way. The heightened state of arousal that cortisol provides as stress response to a tangible event is invigorating and helpful. Cortisol levels then return to normal upon completion of the episode. But when free-floating anxiety interferes, theres no outlet for the cortisol and it causes the fight-or-flight mechanism to backfire. Cortisol levels remain elevated, creating additional anxiety, and ultimately causing a multitude of serious health issues, including digestive disorders, immune deficiencies, heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
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High Cortisol Vs Lower Cortisol Levels
The amount of cortisol in the body generally peaks in the early morning and decreases as the day goes on. Abnormally high levels of cortisol in the body can be caused by some steroid medications or underlying health issues.
Chronic or toxic stress can also be a factor that causes unusually high levels of cortisol.
In a state of constant stress, cortisol levels remain elevated and lead to problems with anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbances among other symptoms.
These types of problems are a major reason why many people turn to alcohol or drugs to self-medicate their symptoms, which can lead to substance use disorders and the need for treatment.
Learning how to reduce cortisol levels naturally is a much healthier response than turning to substances to deal with stress ad anxiety.
How Do You Know If Your Cortisol Level Is Irregular
If youre concerned about having abnormally high or low cortisol, there are several tests that can be done to check your levels:
- Blood tests can be ordered by your doctor. These are usually done in the morning and afternoon on the same day because it is normal for levels to change throughout the day.
- Saliva tests can be purchased at the drugstores, or ordered by your doctor for more accurate testing. These tests are usually done late at night when cortisol is supposed to be at its lowest.
- Your doctor may also order a 24-hour urine test, in which case you would have to pee in a container each time you use the bathroom throughout the day.
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Cortisol And Blood Glucose
Cortisol acts as a catabolic hormone to increase glucose availability to the brain. This occurs via several pathways. High cortisol levels induce gluconeogenesis in the liver which will then be delivered into the bloodstream. The body must use amino acids to complete this process and the bodys most readily available supply of protein is skeletal muscle.Therefore, muscle tissue is broken down, glycogen stores are emptied, and the muscles decrease glucose uptake. Additionally, cortisol instructs the pancreas to decrease insulin production to keep the circulating levels of glucose higher .
What Does Cortisol Do
There are trillions of cells in your body, and a majority of them have receptors for cortisol, meaning that cortisol can bind to almost any cell and change how it functions. This is why cortisol is so importantit plays a role in essentially every system in the body.6,7
Eva Redei, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and physiology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, says that cortisol is really the water of life because, like water, cortisol goes everywhere in the body.
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Choline Bitartrate To Reduce Cortisol
Choline bitartrate is found in many foods, such as eggs, meat and dairy. The human body also produces a small amount. Even though choline is easily accessible through food, a large majority of the population is deficient in it. Choline is great for improving memory and focus, but its also great for reducing cortisol levels and anxiety.
There was a study done that tested humans with lower amounts of choline in their body during and after surgery. Those people had a greater chance of elevating cortisol, adrenocorticotropic hormone, prolactin and -endorphin concentrations. Studies have also shown that choline can reduce immune inflammation and suppress oxidative stress in patients with asthma. To make sure you arent deficient in it, take choline as a precautionary measure. The more deficient you are in choline, the more likely you have elevated cortisol levels in stressful situations.
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How To Lower Cortisol: 17 Tips For Anyone Suffering From Stress And Anxiety
Cortisol is a steroid hormone released by a bodys adrenal glands. It is commonly referred to as a stress hormone. Although cortisol is important for functioning in everyday life, its dangerous when cortisol levels remain high for too long.
To break down the process, cortisol secretion is performed by an adrenocorticotropic hormone, which is part of the HPA axis. This involves the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, and the adrenal gland. Together, they control the bodys reaction to stress and also regulate digestion, the immune system, mood, emotions, sexuality, and energy storage.
High cortisol levels can cause high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, weight gain, sleep deprivation, insulin resistance, decreased energy, heart disease, and poor memory. High cortisol could also lead to Cushings disease, which occurs when a body makes too much cortisol on its own for an extended period of time.
There is also a chance of developing adrenal fatigue. This occurs when long-term exposure to stress leads to lower cortisol levels. Lower cortisol can cause body aches, loss of hair, low blood pressure, lightheadedness, and weight loss. That is why its so important to keep the hormone in balance. Otherwise, it could have severe consequences. To stay healthy, here are a few tips on how to lower cortisol the perfect amount:
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Consume Enough Food Protein And Water
Eating enough protein and calories, and drinking enough clean, filtered water is also critical to keeping stress hormone levels low.
Studies show that severely restricting calories elevates cortisol levels .
Restricting protein and depriving yourself of the amino acid leucine can also stimulate the stress response and increase stress hormones .
Lastly, make sure you stay hydrated and drink plenty of water.
Properly-hydrated runners have noticeably lower cortisol levels than dehydrated runners .
Avoid Or Limit Alcohol And Drug Use
Too much alcohol or drug consumption is unhealthy in many ways. First, it can lead to a substance use disorder and require addiction treatment.
Second, excessive alcohol intake is known to stimulate cortisol production and can prematurely speed up the aging process in people, increasing the risk of high cortisol level symptoms.
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How To Lower Cortisol Levels Fast Naturally
If you have been experiencing any of the above high cortisol symptoms and are wondering how to lower cortisol levels fast, then one of the first things that you will have to do is to make positive changes to your lifestyle. Since the world was struck by the pandemic in 2020, a lot of things have changed and more people have reported feeling extra stressed, extra weight gain, mental health issues and more.
In fact, according to the Americans Psychological Association, nearly 1 in 4 adults has reported drinking more alcohol to cope with their stress during the coronavirus pandemic. The article goes on to further point out that three in four adults have reported experiencing high stress levels . These alarming findings were localized in the United States so one can only imagine how the rest of the world has been fairing.
If you too have been feeling like your stress levels are getting out of hand and are worried about what these extra stress hormones might be doing to your body, here are some simple tips on how to lower cortisol levels by making changes to your lifestyle.
Supplements To Reduce Cortisol: Take The Next Step
Excess production of the stress hormone cortisol can be very damaging to your brain health and mental wellness.
While theres an abundance of supplements that claim to decrease cortisol, most rely on animal studies or clinical trials using well-trained athletes to support these claims.
Only a handful of supplements have been shown to reduce cortisol in typical humans under normal circumstances.
Cortisol-lowering supplements are a diverse group that includes traditional herbs, certain fats, compounds found in specific foods, and some core nutrients.
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Mind Lab Pro is the brain supplement we recommend because, by boosting your brain health, it can help you:
- Improve your mental clarity and focus.
- Boost your memory and your ability to learn.
- Increase your capacity to think critically, solve problems, and make decisions.
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Natural Ways To Lower Your Cortisol Levels
Cortisol is a stress hormone the adrenal glands release. It helps your body deal with stressful situations, as your brain triggers its release through the sympathetic nervous system the fight or flight system in response to many different kinds of stress .
While the short-term release of cortisol can help you run quickly from danger, when cortisol levels are too high for too long, this hormone can hurt you more than it helps .
Over time, this can lead to an array of health issues such as weight gain, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, insomnia or difficulty sleeping, mood irregularities, and low energy levels (
This article discusses 11 ways to help naturally lower your cortisol levels.
Cut Out Caffeine Or Consume Less
A 2005 study in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine found that caffeine increases cortisol secretion even in people at rest. Because caffeine can stimulate cortisol production and increase blood pressure, Krista King, MS, RDN, of Composed Nutrition, offers a solution to lower cortisol: “Try doing a caffeine reset. Gradually you have each day by swapping it out for a caffeine-free or lower caffeine alternative.”
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Why Is This Blog About Morning Anxiety And Cortisol Important
As we have discussed, cortisol should not be considered harmful or damaging on its own. On the contrary, it plays an important role to help us guarantee our survival.
However, when we are exposed to prolonged high levels of cortisol it can actually get to suppress the natural and normal response of our immune system putting us at risk of infections and diseases.
However, there are ways to control anxiety and stress which can be effective in naturally lowering cortisol levels.
As we have discussed, it seems as during the first hour after waking up, cortisol levels seem to be at their peak.
This will explain why many people suffer from morning anxiety, however, it is a matter of finding ways to cope with anxiety symptoms such as getting better sleep, having a healthy diet, exercising or even going to therapy.
Please feel free to leave any comments or thoughts about the content of this article!
Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.