The stress hormone, also known as Cortisol, is produced by the adrenal glands, essential to support the body to deal with various stressful situations. Your brain triggers the release of this hormone to respond to various kinds of stress.
But too-high cortisol levels can have serious consequences on your health, it causes disrupt sleep, reduces your energy levels, negatively impacts mood, high blood pressure, weight gain, etc.
If you’re undergoing such symptoms that may be caused by high cortisol levels, your doctor may perform some tests using cortisol EIA kit for diagnosis.
What Happens When Your Cortisol Level Is High?
Moderately high cortisol levels causes various problems such as:
- Infections: It weakens the immune system, making you more prone to infections.
- Damage Brain Function: It interferes with your memory and causes brain fog also known as mental cloudiness.
- Tiredness: It interferes with daily sleep patterns which cause fatigue.
- Weight Gain: It increases appetite and makes the body change metabolism to store fat.
- Chronic Complications: Including osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure.
In some very rare cases, higher cortisol levels can lead to a very rare but serious disease called Cushing’s syndrome. Luckily, there are different ways you can control your stress level.
Here are the 7 tips to reduce cortisol levels.
Right Amount Of Sleep
A quality sleep influences cortisol in many ways. Sleep deprivation or Interrupted sleep causes higher cortisol levels as it disrupts the normal pattern of hormones and causes fatigue and various issues associated with it.
Here Are Some Things You Can Do To Enhance Sleep Pattern:
- Take Naps: Napping can prevent a sleep deficit by reducing sleepiness.
- Limit Distractions Before Bed: By using earplugs, white noise, avoiding fluids right before bed, silencing your phone, you can limit the interruptions
- Limit Exposure To Bright Light: Try to turn off all the artificial sources of light such as TV, PC, Mobile before bedtime.
- Consuming No Caffeine Products At Night: Avoid consuming high caffeine products such as coffee in the evening.
- Exercise: keep a regular bedtime by being physically active during waking hours.
Learn To Identify Stressful Thinking
Stressful thoughts are one of the most powerful signals for cortisol release. Mindfulness is a procedure to become more self-aware of stress-provoking thoughts and replacing anxiety or worrying with a focus on emotions and stressful thoughts.
Training yourself to be aware of thoughts, heart rate, breathing, other symptoms of tension can help you identify stress.
You can become an open-minded observer of the stressful thoughts, by focusing on your physical and mental state. By recognizing the stressful thoughts, you can express a mindful and deliberate reaction to them.
Learn How To Relax
Practice general relaxation exercises to reduce your stress levels such as:
- Deep Breathing: This simple technique that can be used anywhere to reduce your stress.
- Massage Therapy: Massage therapy help you reduce stress levels
- Music: Regular listening to relaxing music helps you calm your mind and thoughts.
- Yoga, Tai Chi, and Qigong: Yoga is an ancient technique to reduce cortisol and manage stress with a series of postures or flowing movements
Have Fun And Maintain A Positive Attitude
Another natural way to control your stress is simply to be happy. A positive nature is linked with a lower stress level along with a good immune system, a healthy heart rate, lower blood pressure, etc.
Developing healthy hobbies can promote positive feelings of well-being, which results in lower stress levels.
Indulge yourself in those activities which increase your life satisfaction to improve your overall mental and physical health.
Eating Healthy Foods
One of the prime factors that can make the cortisol level better or worse is nutrition. For example, regular high sugar intakes trigger cortisol release. Also, consuming a high amount of sugar is linked to obesity.
Interestingly, in response to particular stressful events, sugar can help you reduce the amount of cortisol. That is why sweet meals are always good comfort food. But excessive or frequent sugar intake increases cortisol over time.
Some Particular Foods That Can Help You Control Your Cortisol Are:
- Dark chocolate
- Regular Water intake keeps you hydrated
- Fruits such as bananas, pears, papaya, etc.
- Green/ black tea to avoid carbonated drinks
- Prebiotics foods that include soluble fiber
- Probiotics- yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi
The high cortisol levels can lead to fatigue, diabetes, high blood pressure, weight gain, and difficulty concentrating. Make sure you try the natural lifestyle tips above to reduce your cortisol levels and improve your mental as well as physical health.