Even though you are sleeping, your body is very active!
Your amazing body creates balance through a system called HPA axis (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis). Research has shown that there is a connection between the hormone cortisol, HPA axis and sleep.
During sleep, your cortisol levels begin to rise, believe it or not. Sounds crazy, because you are sleeping, but they rise until the morning when you wake and begin to move.
The problem! We never stop!
A problem arises when cortisol is high through the day and night! Never giving the adrenals a break. And when the adrenal glands never get a break, the body never gets to recover. This becomes detrimental to health after years of this taking place.
Ever left something out in the yard for an extended period of time? It is gets faded, brittle, weak, and unable to serve it’s purpose.
This is what happens to humans…..they become
- tired, can’t go to sleep but then can’t wake up
- unable to recover from exercise
- low blood pressure
- hair loss
- skin discoloration
- sugar cravings
This is all to say that it is so important to support HPA axis function as well as optimal cortisol production and rhythm.
Once of the best supplements to help with this is Ashwagandha. This herb is an adaptogen that has been shown to reduce cortisol levels in stressed individuals. A study reported in the 2012 Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine reported that participants taking ashwagandha had significantly lower stress scores than those of the control group.
L-theanine is an amino acid that also has been shown to help balance the HPA axis. In a study featured in the 2016 journal Nutrients, L-theanine significantly decreased salivary cortisol response three hours after taking it. The interesting part is that it didn’t show up in the saliva within the first hour after ingestion, but three hours after, but against the placebo group, the stress response showed up as a decrease within one hour after taking it. In people that took it that were relaxed, had a alpha waves show up, it seemed to promote an alert state of relaxation.
Rhodiola is a root that has been shown to help with anxiety, decrease cortisol levels, improve exercise performance, and many other symptoms.
Other supplements that help with stress and recovery are ginseng, GABA, licorice, and holy basil (tulsi). A combination is always a good choice when addressing cortisol management.
Know as sleep yoga, it is a great way to bring down cortisol levels as well. It is a guided meditation that has been shown to relax and quiet the mind. According to Siddhartha Bhushan one hour of yoga nidra is equal to 2-3 hours of restful sleep.
Try them out! Let me know what you think.
If you need supplements, order them here. Items with the golden seal are highest quality and you don’t have to take as many!
Need help? Let’s chat and see what we can do together.