2

votes

UPDATE: Has anyone successfully reduced nighttime cortisol?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 21, 2013 at 9:17 PM

I haven't gotten the $100+ cortisol test, but feel I know my cortisol levels

Morning: Somewhat low (I have trouble waking up and lay in bed for a while before I get up)

Afternoon : Normal

Evening : Elevated (Can't sleep if I'm even somewhat hungry, feel "tired but wired", if I have something stressful the next day it takes me longer to go to sleep)

Has anyone successfully lowered night time cortisol?

ANSWER: I try to get a high protien/low starch breakfast and more starches at night before bed, it really helps me sleep. For instance if I just have a steak and rice for dinner rather than just a steak it helps me sleep better

705e66484ed64fe8e188123de398413e

(1013)

on May 21, 2013
at 04:26 PM

I like the solution. Helps shift your circadian rhythm which then effects cortisol rhythms. Doubt either of those 2 things has a direct effect on cortisol though.

705e66484ed64fe8e188123de398413e

(1013)

on May 21, 2013
at 04:24 PM

He said "nighttime" which means "the time between evening and morning". I still think reducing normal cortisol during that exact time period is not the right goal.

705e66484ed64fe8e188123de398413e

(1013)

on May 21, 2013
at 04:23 PM

I meant rising overnight with a peak in the early morning, doesn't change the rest of the advice.

Cf938ac46500e200c97f6adbb3365f64

(324)

on May 18, 2013
at 12:53 AM

the day and fasting evening/night

Cf938ac46500e200c97f6adbb3365f64

(324)

on May 18, 2013
at 12:52 AM

what i just posted above i noticed something interesting. since i do intermittent fasting throughout the day and eat ALL my carbs late at night i bet you i am defying this "supposed" cortisol peak. because the only reason i would believe cortisol to be elevated in the morning is due to an overnight fast. then when people eat carbs in the day cortisol drops and then as they taper off their calories towards the evening cortisol increases and this progression continues until the futhermost point in the fast, the early morning at which point cortisol hits its peak in line with the eating carbs in

Cf938ac46500e200c97f6adbb3365f64

(324)

on May 18, 2013
at 12:49 AM

Normally, the highest cortisol secretion happens in the second half of the night with peak cortisol production occurring in the early morning. Following this, cortisol levels decline throughout the day with lowest levels during the first half of the night.[5] wiki but there is references on this entry

1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3

(6719)

on May 06, 2013
at 01:05 PM

+1 for carbs and protein/fat before bed. Works like a charm

7d9eab7a32a8294ca252b2dfc608b919

(20)

on April 08, 2013
at 06:53 AM

Forgot to mention going off the Cortisol Calm. I only took it nightly for 2-3 months. Seemed to help get me back in a healthy rhythm. Sleep hygiene is good practice, but in my experience it's no match for elevated cortisol.

19acef0aed67ef8dc1118d8e74edb349

(2954)

on April 08, 2013
at 04:54 AM

I had the same solution as you, I found it by accident. I eat a big protein/fat breakfast as soon as I wake up. My body starts winding down at 8pm in the winter and 9pm in the summer, I get sleepy and go to bed without effort. It works even better if I eat no dinner. Only breakfast, and lunch around 2pm. Though it doesn't mean I'm starving (I still feel satisfied in the morning) but I guess my body wakes me up expecting food? In the summer my body wakes me up at 6am sharp. In the winter it wakes me up around 7. I don't even *need* to wake up, since I don't work outside the house... :O

19acef0aed67ef8dc1118d8e74edb349

(2954)

on April 08, 2013
at 04:48 AM

I had the same solution as you, I found it by accident. I eat a big protein/fat breakfast as soon as I wake up. I guess my body wakes me up expecting food. It works even better if I eat no dinner. Only breakfast at 7am, and lunch around 2pm. But when I wake up I'm still satisfied, not starving at all.

A5127d60bca783084f191f38ffa357a6

(687)

on April 05, 2013
at 09:57 PM

Sorry man, but cortisol is not supposed to peak at night, but in the morning. Everyone knows that, look at any circadian chart/paper/study.

A5127d60bca783084f191f38ffa357a6

(687)

on March 22, 2013
at 07:55 PM

Yes I do, I walk around campus. I have a condition that causes me to get tendonitis everywhere so I'm limited. But believe me if I could I would work out everyday

A5127d60bca783084f191f38ffa357a6

(687)

on February 22, 2013
at 07:41 PM

I honestly eat well, don't have any stresses at the moment. Stressful events the next day happen like once a month. I dont drink coffee or alcohol (for a couple months now). I don't workout

07243c7700483a67386049f7b67d90a4

on February 22, 2013
at 06:21 PM

Salt and sugar worked for me. Salty Bone broth and dried dates being a tasty option.

Cfec3fb17e6d06f984ffedc2aae54920

(150)

on February 22, 2013
at 12:51 AM

I too feel "wired| when my carb levels are too low (could be b/c I work out & may need more carbs). Melatonin which is the sleeping hormone goes up with increased carb intake. Try eating 1-2 tsp of PB or other nut butter before bed. My naturopath says to add carbs at dinner and eliminate them for earlier meals.

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11 Answers

1
138be7a21edcd70c350bdebfd05948db

on February 22, 2013
at 07:16 AM

I highly recommend the book "The Mood Cure" by Julia Ross. Here is an excerpt about night time cortisol and insomnia. http://www.moodcure.com/pdfs/Townsend-Letter-NNTI%20article.docx.pdf

0
Cf938ac46500e200c97f6adbb3365f64

(324)

on May 18, 2013
at 12:38 AM

ketogenic diets definitely increase cortisol. carbs lower it. for sure. ketosis to me is like a stimulant expresso coffee everyday diesel fuel. and what raises cortisol? coffee and stims which have a similar affect as fasting and low carb (both of which mimmick each other.

I used to be high strung/stressed every night before bed in an extremely ketogenic states in my ultra low carb days. I assume it must be from high cortisol and low carbs affect on the cns (Central Nervous System)

then i started targeted ketogenic diet eating my carbs before workout but would would burn them up quickly re entering ketosis mid to late afternoon becoming extremely wired by nighttime

I am now eating any amount of carbs I wish before bed. I fall asleep like a baby every night and am well rested in the morning every time.

I just do a fasted workout in the morning and I feel like I am in ketosis all day within an hour following my workout similar in feeling to the targeted approach I explained above. requires fasting after workout however.

bottom line: if you can eat carbs and want to reduce nightime cortisol, eat them at night. if you can't eat carbs or must eat low carb for whatever reason, try eating them at night anyway and doing a fasted weightlifting seesion or cardio session the next morning to re establish a low carb state

0
7d9eab7a32a8294ca252b2dfc608b919

on April 08, 2013
at 06:46 AM

Right, cortisol shouldn't peak at night. Mine used to, and I had insomnia for 6 years. I had a complete cure by cutting out gluten, milk and refined sugar and by briefly taking a supplement given to me by a naturopath (Cortisol Calm - took one each night at 9 pm). Within 3 months I was sleeping like a baby every night and not even waking up to use the restroom. That was almost 4 years ago. Very occasionally, if I eat a bunch of sugar or stay up too late, I'll be wired and take one of the leftover supplements and that allows me to get to sleep. What a relief!

7d9eab7a32a8294ca252b2dfc608b919

(20)

on April 08, 2013
at 06:53 AM

Forgot to mention going off the Cortisol Calm. I only took it nightly for 2-3 months. Seemed to help get me back in a healthy rhythm. Sleep hygiene is good practice, but in my experience it's no match for elevated cortisol.

0
81feb1022a28f534867616b9316c7aa4

on April 08, 2013
at 06:12 AM

Yes I have! Well I think I have,,,, I used to wake up every single night and eat at 1-2am. It was the most annoying habit ever. I also could not fall asleep if slightly hungry! For me it was definetly related to blood sugar issues. Sorting them out helped alot. (PS. I have diabetes so it may not be the same for you)

0
Cc69a51b427eaad36251cce9dcca4d3a

(1074)

on April 08, 2013
at 05:19 AM

I've successfully been able to sleep well and on time now. In the past my cortisol peaked at night (I was restless, insomniac, nighttime cravings) and i was dead by morning for school. It turns out the key for me wasn't cutting out carbohydrates but ridding myself of several ingredients: ALL fructose (not just sugar, but also including fructose-heavy fruits and vegs, and avoiding fructan sources), dairy (I'm intolerant) and grains/grain alcohol.

Other than that I eat a lot of meat/fat, and safe starch (white potato, white rice mainly). Very little vegetables (1-2 servings/day)

0
4886d3390cb1de913ecc198e72cc072c

on April 06, 2013
at 05:02 AM

You might want to listen to this recent webinar - they talk about cortisol & adrenals levels:

www.fdnmanager.com/paleohacks

It's Sean Croxton from undergroundwellness.com and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition founder Reed Davis.

0
3e3b1b75cb414c5c3dbed53e3c42edfa

(220)

on April 05, 2013
at 11:38 PM

Phosphadidtylserine (soy-free) at 7 pm worked like a charm for me!

0
F02990386b12528111740ad6279ba29d

(1363)

on April 05, 2013
at 09:02 PM

I got that 4 point ASI test done, I had high night and morning, but normal during the day. Which is weird, why would it elevate only at night?

So I've been experimenting with some different things. I think it at least partially has to do with habits around bed time. Among other things:
1) Worry (I tried meditation in the past for this, but have had more success with an emwave2)
2) Not getting to bed on time: I feel like if I don't head towards bed when I start getting tired my body goes into stress mode as if we need to get some stuff done and kick up the cortisol...which is alright, but usually I'm just doing something unimportant.
3) Undereating at times. I think I've been undereating, particularly on workout days and especially when the workout is at night. Fat makes me feel fully, but I've experimented with basically forcing myself to eat more and it seems to help me relax.

Among other things.

0
944c4a63c90e49a0219df10b495ec06e

on March 22, 2013
at 07:40 PM

While you do not work-out do you at least go for daily walks. My sister and I have both dealt with elevated Cortisol not just at one time of the day but often throughout. My sister has it worse than I do (medically so...where mine are just "above high normal"). We both found that walking outside, in nature not near a road, brought about a huge change. My sister has numerous other issues but as long as she can handle going outside for a walk she does because it tends to...decrease the "buffalo hump", decrease water retention, and in general bring down stress hormones. Sometimes there are things that stress us that we are not aware of - be it dietary, allergens at different times of the year, people in our lives, and many other factors.

A5127d60bca783084f191f38ffa357a6

(687)

on March 22, 2013
at 07:55 PM

Yes I do, I walk around campus. I have a condition that causes me to get tendonitis everywhere so I'm limited. But believe me if I could I would work out everyday

0
7d46edca72c2f8347f65d7b734d1f1eb

on February 22, 2013
at 03:21 PM

I would suggest that it would be better to focus on mitigating stressors that elevate cortisol overall than just at night. Diet, over training, general lifestyle,sleep or lack there of, to much coffee, emotional/mental stress, etc. Everything is connected in your life, in your day, and within your body. Easy example would be drinking to much coffee in the morning. You may think that if you stop drinking before noon it isn't impacting cortisol and stress but it is indeed a stressor in many different ways. It can then impact your sleep at night even though the caffeine is technically out of your system (I recently limited myself to 2 cups down from about 6ish with some great improvements to my sleep and energy levels). Over training can do the same thing as another example. Or how about not putting your iPhone down and getting that stressful work email right before you TRY to go to sleep and now you can't go to sleep. Stress can come from many different places and absolutely amplify each other.

A5127d60bca783084f191f38ffa357a6

(687)

on February 22, 2013
at 07:41 PM

I honestly eat well, don't have any stresses at the moment. Stressful events the next day happen like once a month. I dont drink coffee or alcohol (for a couple months now). I don't workout

-1
705e66484ed64fe8e188123de398413e

on April 05, 2013
at 09:53 PM

Cortisol solutions don't really involve reducing it at night - that's when it's supposed to peak.

The problems you're describing sound like normal insomnia for me. Any advice about good sleep hygiene is going to help. Make sure you have a pitch black room to sleep in. Turn your electronics off at 9pm. Get to sleep by 10PM. If you're awake past 10 then you risk riding the natural and healthy cortisol wave that is about to come - former "night owls" like myself see it as a second wind but you don't want it. Meditate to handle stress better.

There are also some things you can do during the day to make sure you get good sleep at night. You say you don't exercise: do. Make sure you are doing something mentally challenging during the day so your brain wants to rest at night. Get natural sunlight in the morning or the early afternoon.

A late night snack might help keep your blood sugar from dropping too low overnight, but the problems you're describing getting to sleep don't sound like that is the problem.

A5127d60bca783084f191f38ffa357a6

(687)

on April 05, 2013
at 09:57 PM

Sorry man, but cortisol is not supposed to peak at night, but in the morning. Everyone knows that, look at any circadian chart/paper/study.

Cf938ac46500e200c97f6adbb3365f64

(324)

on May 18, 2013
at 12:53 AM

the day and fasting evening/night

Cf938ac46500e200c97f6adbb3365f64

(324)

on May 18, 2013
at 12:52 AM

what i just posted above i noticed something interesting. since i do intermittent fasting throughout the day and eat ALL my carbs late at night i bet you i am defying this "supposed" cortisol peak. because the only reason i would believe cortisol to be elevated in the morning is due to an overnight fast. then when people eat carbs in the day cortisol drops and then as they taper off their calories towards the evening cortisol increases and this progression continues until the futhermost point in the fast, the early morning at which point cortisol hits its peak in line with the eating carbs in

Cf938ac46500e200c97f6adbb3365f64

(324)

on May 18, 2013
at 12:49 AM

Normally, the highest cortisol secretion happens in the second half of the night with peak cortisol production occurring in the early morning. Following this, cortisol levels decline throughout the day with lowest levels during the first half of the night.[5] wiki but there is references on this entry

705e66484ed64fe8e188123de398413e

(1013)

on May 21, 2013
at 04:23 PM

I meant rising overnight with a peak in the early morning, doesn't change the rest of the advice.

705e66484ed64fe8e188123de398413e

(1013)

on May 21, 2013
at 04:24 PM

He said "nighttime" which means "the time between evening and morning". I still think reducing normal cortisol during that exact time period is not the right goal.

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