Although our bodies are remarkable in what they can do in such critical, stressful moments, it doesn’t mean that they are doing us a favor by doing so in the long run. The chronic stressful situations are repeated responses in our bodies that send messages to our brain as if we were in life-threatening situations which, sooner or later, result in burning out.
To simplify it, when we are in stressful situations, our adrenaline and cortisol levels, produced by an adrenal gland, spike up. This is comparable to the life of our ancestors, the cavemen. They would build shelters and pick up food, but every once in a while, they would expose themselves to danger. While they were being hunted by a wild animal, those two hormones made it possible for them to think quickly on their feet, to escape or to hide. Once the danger was gone, their levels automatically lowered. When we feel stressed, our hormonal reaction is exactly the same; yet we somehow just cannot seem to escape a stressful situation like we would escape a wild beast. Our levels are constantly imbalanced.
The stress hormone, known as cortisol, is the metaphysical transmitter between the body and the mind. Cortisol has a bad rep of being the “stress” hormone, but it is also our survival hormone. Our feelings are translated into the language of cortisol, and the digital signals of our thoughts and emotions get transmitted into cortisol levels of our blood, saliva and urine, measurable by numbers.
When in balance, cortisol can help you maintain energy, concentration and focus.
The levels of cortisol are connected to our daily routine; cortisol wakes us up in the morning, which is when we experience its highest levels, and gradually decreases throughout the day, aiming to be low in the evenings so we can have a good night’s rest.
By disrupting this natural cycle, we can experience sleepless nights, morning fog, low focus and even weight gain. Besides affecting how we respond to stress, cortisol affects our immune system, our hormones, blood pressure, and even how we metabolise. Therefore it is vital that it works for us, not against us.
But how can we control our cortisol levels?
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Conventional medicine usually mentions either cortisol deficit or its hyperproduction, but rarely addresses the gray area, which involves the majority of people battling cortisol imbalances.
We need to understand how Cortisol works. It’s highest level is in the morning and it is partially responsible for waking us up. During the day, its levels lower, that is why we feel less energetic and focused in the late afternoon. Our bodies are ready for rest. In the evening, the level of cortisol is low, as it is being replaced by melatonin while we sleep. Having our level of cortisol low in the evening is vital, as it allows for our rest and renewal.
This is cortisol’s natural daily cycle. But when stress becomes a part of our daily life, we are unable to control the levels of cortisol, as they are constantly too high for the body to receive proper rest. Our bodies will maintain in such a state until the adrenal glands become overworked, which is followed by a fall of cortisol levels and burning out. Working late at night at the top of our strength may make us feel like we are invincible, but it inevitably disrupts our cortisol balance. Such lifestyle soon becomes faced with a fall of cortisol; low energy, concentration and motivation. Although you are going to bed early now and even resting during the day, you don’t feel energized or rested. Your immune system is weakened and your hormone, designed to help you wake up, is too low to do its job right.
Cortisol imbalances can be responsible for causing
- Weight gain: High cortisol levels can shift the metabolism from burning fat to storing fat, despite eating healthy and getting some workout in. It is most commonly stored in our belly fat.
- Insomnia and chronic fatigue: Our cortisol levels are the highest in the morning and the lowest at night. This allows for the release of melatonin, the sleep hormone, to help you get your rest and rejuvenates your body. If the cortisol levels are consistently high, the work of melatonin is compromised, which can lead to sleepless nights and, consequently, insomnia.
- Compromised Immune System: when your body is attacked by a pathogen, your body activates its immune system. Our bodies translate such attacks in the form of a sore throat, runny nose or a fever. Inflammation is a needed response of our immune system to the pathogen, but needs to be regulated, as it can turn into chronic inflammation.
- Emotional Irritability: When we are under stress, we trigger the “fight or flight” response, which can cause fear, anxiety, mood swings and irritation. Even when we feel happy and joyful, we can experience triggers that can throw you off, no matter how miniscule they seem.
- Bad Digestion: In the “fight or flight” response, our entire energy is focused on our muscles, so the body can react to the sensor. The digestive system comes to a halt, waiting for the brain centers to communicate that the stressor has passed. If the parasympathetic nervous system does not receive such a signal and is unable to regenerate the body, the digestive system is also compromised, resulting in bowel pain, diarrhea or gas.
How to regulate cortisol levels naturally
- Get up before 7 am. Although you may not feel rested at first, the cortisol hormone is responsible for waking you up and will do so naturally. Using your NeoRhythm in the morning with an Energy and Vitality session can get you going.
- Don’t use the snooze button. Get up with the first alarm. By dozing off to sleep, we are sending our brain mixed messages and the high level of cortisol, ready to wake you up in the morning, constantly decreases and increases by falling back to sleep.
- Do all your work and physical activity during the day. Don’t work all day just to save your workout for the evening; your cortisol levels are already low and although we may feel like we are “exhausting” ourselves before bed with an evening workout, we are sending an opposite signal to our brain, resulting in higher cortisol levels. Workout during the day and allow yourself to relax in the evening. Run a Deep Relaxation or Pain Control session to rejuvenate and recover after a busy day.
- Cut out carbs and fruits in the morning. We want the level of cortisol to be high in the morning, but we don’t want to necessarily spike it – when cortisol spikes, blood sugar spikes as well. Fat and protein such as eggs, avocado, even a chicken breast are great breakfast foods. Keep healthy carbs for lunch and dinner.
- Don’t drink your coffee on an empty stomach. Another way of spiking your cortisol levels is by having your coffee first thing in the morning. It’s best to drink coffee with your breakfast or after you are done eating.
- Sleep is a number one priority to get your cortisol in check.
- Avoid eating or drinking (especially alcohol) close to your bedtime.
- Best time to get in bed is at 10 pm.
- Avoid blue screens for at least an hour before bed.
- Run an Improve Sleep session for 20 minutes before bedtime.
- Eat seasonal food: Your diet has a lot to do with balancing your cortisol. Make sure that processed foods, sugary drinks and snacks aren’t the basis of your menu.
- Meditate: We naturally lower our stress by meditating or reading; anything that takes us out of our thoughts and into a mindful state is good practice for lowering your cortisol levels. Take some time for yourself and meditate; you can deepen your meditation practice by using the Meditation for Calm & Sync or Theta Meditation on your NeoRhythm.
PEMF cannot directly influence hormones, but it can help you balance your daily routine and your sleeping cycle. Aligned with the suggestions above, PEMF can get you focused when needed and help you relax in the evenings. Keeping your cortisol levels in check with a healthy and steady routine and PEMF is a guaranteed success.
PEMF can help you fall asleep with Delta and Theta frequencies, the lowest two brain waves. By introducing them into your routine in the evenings, Theta can help you unwind and relax, while Delta is present in and can deepen our restorative, dreamless sleep.
Theta is also suggested to enhance your deep meditation practice. If you are having trouble disconnecting from the hectic day-to-day activities, giving yourself 30-40 minutes of a Theta cycle a day, with or without meditation, can greatly improve your sleep and consequently, the productivity of the day after.
In the morning, Alpha and Beta brain waves are naturally present in our brain. Depending on your routine and the focus it requires, it is advised to choose between the two. If you meditate in the morning, Alpha waves promote mindfulness and calmness, whereas Beta is used to enhance focus and cognitive abilities. Since cortisol levels are naturally high in the morning, following up with Beta will amplify the focus and physical drive you already have within you and through regular use will become natural to your body and mind.
With a PEMF device you can function to your highest physical and mental potential throughout the day, and save your evenings to relax and prepare to sleep. With more energy, we are able to perform better and faster, without imposing thoughts and a crowded mindset. With proper routine, you will find that the evening relaxation comes naturally and staying awake, tossing and turning in bed will become a thing of the past. By choosing PEMF, the cortisol levels will become balanced again and you will reap the benefits of the energy your body naturally produces without any chemical substitutes.
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EKO Škrnicelj. Tihi Stres – Zdravje.Eko-Škrnicelj.si. [online] Available at: LINK
- Harvard Health. Understanding the Stress Response – Harvardheatlh.com. [online] Available at: LINK
- Toljan, Sanja. Čudežna moč hormonov, 2017. Futuristic Life.
NeoRhythm has not been evaluated by the FDA. These products do not claim to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any medical conditions. Always consult your medical doctor regarding any health concerns.