Your sleep pattern follows a bio-rhythm. You sleep more soundly when your temperature is lowest and you sleep more soundly in the wee hours of the morning. You are most likely to awaken when your temperature starts to rise around 6 to 8 a.m.
As you age, the “pacemaker“ part of your brain loses cells. Your sleep is more disrupted. You have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night because you can’t hold it any longer. You awaken early and need to nap more. Sleep deprivation causes a decrease in hormone production.
Biological rhythms also impact hormone production, specifically cortisol. (Figure 6) Here are some examples of how that happens.
Cortisol affects metabolism, regulates your immune system and normally is at its highest between 6 and 8 a.m.. It gradually declines throughout the day and is lowest around midnight, and then slowly begins to increase again throughout the night.
Changing your daily sleep schedule changes your bio-rhythm and causes you to produce the highest cortisol at a different time. If cortisol is too high at the wrong time then bad things happen. If your cortisol is too high at the end of the day you will have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. If your cortisol is too low in the morning then you will have trouble waking up and getting rolling in the morning.
Sleep triggers night time hormone production when you go to bed and Cortisol secretion peaks between the hours of 6 and 8 am.
If you are stressed out and have a chronically elevated cortisol level, there is an extensive list of things that can go wrong. Your symptoms will suggest a wide variety of developing health-related problems. If your cortisol levels remain high, you need to make changes in your life! Don’t wait! We can help!
Cliff Atwell, B.S., D.C.