We cannot circumvent many of the stressors in our lives: looming deadlines, cranky babies, debt, troubled teens, medical mayhem. (A magic wand about right now would be really nice.) But we can minimize the damage of 24/7 cortisol.
Two steps are required:
STEP 1: What are the objective realities of too much cortisol in your body?
- Are you a grouch?
- Do you have trouble falling or staying asleep?
- Are you gaining unwanted weight or can’t take off what you’d like to lose?
- Is your doctor concerned about your blood pressure, cholesterol or blood sugar?
- Are you frequently ill or fighting an autoimmune disease?
- Is joy a missing ingredient in the equation of life?
STEP 2: Name it. Claim it. And face the enemy. Cortisol.
Diminishing the cortisol overload in our body will diminish these ugly, objective realities. Is it the only answer? No. But it packs a powerful punch. Let’s begin with sleep.
Cortisol wreaks havoc on our sleep. Sixty percent of Americans wrestle with insomnia occasionally or regularly. Does the shoe fit? The lack of sleep is devastating. People who get less than six hours of sleep at night have a 50% increase of cortisol the next day. Working hard at getting seven to eight restorative hours of sleep most nights will place you light-years ahead on the road to rest and restoration.
This devotional thought is not going to go into the “how-tos” of good sleep. That information is out there for you to explore. You may even need to visit your doctor, especially if it’s a chronic issue or there is any concern of sleep apnea. Don’t brush it off. Give it the attention it deserves. Please. The goal of this chapter is for you to see the value of sleep. It is likely the most important thing you can do to reduce the damaging effects of cortisol overload in your life. If you live with little margin, taking the time to sleep is one of the most productive things you can do. It is not a waste of time as some are inclined to believe.
Prioritize sleep – for you and everyone in your family. Check out this article from Reader’s Digest, March 2015
Want to get a good night’s sleep? Here are some surprising tips.
- Wear socks.
- Go screen-free for 60-120 minutes before bed. The blue light waves dismantle the melatonin your brain is trying to pump out to prepare your body for a good night’s sleep. If you must be looking at a screen (any size), consider buying some nifty blue light shades. They are orange in color and work.
- If you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night, try eating some protein before going to sleep. If blood sugar falls too low at night, our adrenal glands pump out a little adrenaline in an attempt to wake you up … to eat (even if you don’t feel hungry.)
- Create a new sleep routine for Fido … that does not include your bed. Pet owners who sleep with their furry buddies lose more shut-eye than they may realize.
- Do a med check! Taking certain medications in the evening may set you up for insomnia. Beta-blockers are one such medication. Investigate!
- Sleep apnea. Get it checked out. Don’t delay. It can take years off your life.
- Increase your body’s GABA reception. Consider trying L-Theanine 200 mg and/or chamomile tea each evening.
- Concerned about your children’s moodiness, weight gain, school performance? Make sure they get 8 to 10 hours of sleep.
ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS
What value does sleep hold in your life? Do you prioritize it? Neglect it? Fight it?
If you were able to read the Reader’s Digest article on sleep from March 2015, what did you learn?