How did you sleep last night?

Did you nod off quite quickly, sleep through and then bounce out of bed this morning. Or like the majority of the population did you struggle to drop off, wake frequently throughout the night and then had to drag yourself out of bed this morning.

When it comes to sleep there’s two things you need to be aware of: stress and cortisol

What cortisol should do is give you a burst of energy first thing to get you out of bed and then rise throughout the course of the morning. As the day goes on it begins to drop off and by early evening should have dropped off enough to allow your body to produce melatonin which is a signal for your body to sleep.

When you’re stressed adrenalin and cortisol are released which in turn leads to a flood of blood sugar into the blood stream and the release of insulin. Cortisol and insulin together take excess glucose out of your blood stream and fix it as fat around your middle.

In today’s society it’s all too easy for your cortisol levels to rise too high and stay high. Stress can be relentless and comes in many forms including certain types of food, pollution, traffic jams, an overflowing in box, and even the way in which you exercise.

Cortisol dominates all your other hormones and if it rises too high it becomes toxic and that toxicity throws your other hormones out of alignment creating hormone imbalance. Ghrelin the hormone which tells you you’re hungry is produced more and leptin the hormone that tells you when you’re full is produced less.

That’s why after a bad night’s sleep you find yourself constantly craving food especially carbohydrates.

If you’re struggling with long term sleep issues that’s another form of stress that will keep your cortisol levels high and interrupt the production of melatonin. Melatonin doesn’t just act as a sleep signal it also helps with healthy weight loss as it blunts the ghrelin message and improves the leptin message so you don’t feel so hungry all the time.

Good quality sleep means producing good quality amounts of melatonin so managing cortisol is key. Next week I’ll reveal the key eating and lifestyle choices that will guarantee you less stress, a good nights sleep and healthy weight loss.