You know cortisol is your main stress hormone and you know stress is a trigger for your menopause symptoms.
Let’s explore how it’s specifically connected to your waistline, your sleep and your thinking and what you can do about it.
Cortisol and menopause weight gain
How’s your waistline? Are you bursting out your work clothes? One of the key indicators that your cortisol levels are out of control is the old muffin top.
That’s right, your menopause weight gain is a direct result of your stress response.
When you’re stressed, when your body perceives you to be in danger, your adrenal glands pump out cortisol to give you the energy to run or to stand and fight.
But if you’re stressed out by an email, a traffic jam or even an annoying colleague you’ve got nowhere to run to and you’re certainly not going to start a fight – well probably not anyway!
The energy that cortisol gives you is provided in the form of sugar but if you’re still drinking coffee at your desk, stuck on the M25 or locked in a meeting for the afternoon you’re not going to burn that sugar off.
Your body still needs to do something with that sugar so insulin is released to get it out of your blood stream.
And here’s the thing, it’s the combination of cortisol and insulin together that means the main location for sugar storage is around your menopause middle.
Cortisol and sleep
How did you sleep last night? Were you awake every 90 minutes or so bathed in sweat, desperate for a pee or worrying about work stuff? Did you have to drag yourself out of bed when the alarm went off this morning?
What cortisol should do is give you a burst of energy first thing to get you out of bed and then levels continue to rise throughout 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.
So if you’re waking frequently throughout the night that’s another indicator your cortisol levels are out of whack.
And here’s the real rub, if your sleep is disturbed that’s another form of stress that will throw your cortisol levels out further. You get stuck in a viscous sleep cycle.
Cortisol and brain fog
How’s your memory? Do you find you can’t recall information as quickly as you used to? Have you forgotten a colleague’s name, lost your thread mid presentation or thought you’d lost your phone only to realize you’re speaking on it – I actually did that!
High cortisol levels have been linked to changes in the landscape of your brain, – specifically the shrinking of the hippocampus where your memories sit.
Research has also shown that when you’re very stressed and you’re operating in survival mode the creative part of your brain powers down.
You become reactive rather than proactive. You act in the moment rather than plan for the future. How can you possibly make strategic business and career decisions when you’re stuck in survival mode?
The good news of course is that cortisol is one of the easiest hormone imbalances to address.
You can learn to manage your stresses both internal and external, through the way you eat and drink, the way you exercise, your menopause mindset and by reducing your exposure to toxins
A fun, easy 10 day challenge that will get you cooler, calmer and mentally sharper so that you actually wake up each morning ready to deal with whatever the day brings.