Hormones play an important role in maintaining blood sugar balance and restorative sleep patterns in minnesotans. The adrenal glands make cortisol, which impacts blood sugar levels, blood pressure, heart rate, and metabolism. The amount and daily pattern of cortisol production can influence how your body uses or stores fat. Cortisol is also important for controlling levels of inflammation throughout the body and immune function. The ideal cortisol pattern is elevated first thing in the morning, decreasing towards night time. Over time, continued stress disrupts the delicate balance of hormones, including how much and when cortisol is made and released.
Cortisol is commonly referred to as the “stress hormone”. Normally cortisol levels are highest 30 minutes after awakening and then taper down throughout the day. Cortisol is “designed” to help the body respond to a stressful event. When the event passes, cortisol levels drop. When your body is under constant stress your nervous system never receives the signal to relax. This causes the cortisol response to become altered, which can lead to other hormones going awry. Long busy days and short nights of sleep send messages to the body that it is in a state of stress. We may be civilized, but our bodies are still ruled by primitive survival drives. The body begins to store fat as a response to stress, so there are stores ready for a future event that threatens survival.
Over a period of time with constant stress, the adrenal glands produce less and less cortisol, yet the stress continues. Without enough cortisol the body needs to find energy from somewhere else. Our bodies crave sugar, caffeine, and other stimulants to counteract low cortisol levels and temporarily raise energy levels. If you crave sweet things regularly- you may want to check your hormones in the clinics located in Minneapolis and St. Paul areas.
Some signs that cortisol and other hormone levels are out of balance include: sugar cravings, difficulty sleeping, tired but wired, afternoon slump, headaches, and constantly stressed.