I think I don't have chronically elevated cortisol levels but its low in the morning and high in the night. Essentially I feel very sleepy during the day and fresh during the evening. So should I not try to increase my morning cortisol levels and possibly decrease the evening cortisol levels. Taking steps to just reduce the cortisol levels overall don't make sense to me. I am in my third week of Paleo but don't really feel any change in my morning-grogginess and still keep waking few times during the night (but is probably shifting towards morning hours). Any tips?
asked byIvan (361)
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on November 03, 2010
at 08:45 AM
I have this in the extreme, but then I have delayed sleep phase syndrome, but notably so does my partner (who doesn't). Both of us begin to feel far more mentally alert in the evening compared to the morning and (at least until I began cutting it out) heavily self-medicated with caffeine as a consequence. I guess none of know whether this is caused by cortisol, but it's a reasonable hypothesis.
I don't know how you'd go about trying to reduce cortisol at specific times and all the strategies for reducing cortisol in general just seem to be broad strategies for reducing stressors in general. I found Stephan's recent post in this connection, interesting, since it seems to suggest that sleep deprivation in general leads to cortisol patterns being skewed to elevation in the evening and blunting in the morning. It's also been shown repeatedly that sleep patterns are influenced by timing of eating, so it might be worth avoiding eating late, which I certainly find disturbs my sleep patterns, especially the high-protein meals which are common on paleo. One other dietary pattern relevant to sleep and cortisol levels, would be consuming at least some carbohydrate (enough to limit ketosis, as per the Optimal Diet should be enough) to reduce the increase in cortisol via gluconeogenesis. Consuming those carbs you do eat in the evening might also be relaxing: I myself started doing this, having been VLCing and subsequently started waking up at about 5am in the morning, without having had enough sleep.
on November 03, 2010
at 04:57 AM
Sounds like your sleep schedule might be out of wack. Might want to try various methods to recalibrate sleep schedule. Look at things that insomniacs do, like low light in the evening hours, avoid too much excitement, etc. Also look into your average daily magnesium intake to see if it needs improvement. If you sleep better, you will probably feel more refreshed in the morning and if your sleep schedule is more balanced, you will be able to switch to a more natural sleepiness when it is time for bed.