March 10, 2023

Do you sleep enough? If not, your cortisol levels might be affected. Cortisol is a hormone that our bodies make naturally, and is sometimes called the "stress hormone" because it's released when we feel stressed or anxious. It is made in a small gland in our brain called the hypothalamus, which tells another gland called the pituitary gland to release a hormone called ACTH (Adrenocorticotropic hormone). This hormone then signals our adrenal glands, which are small glands that sit on top of our kidneys, to release cortisol into our bloodstream.

Our bodies need cortisol to function properly. It helps us respond to stress, regulates our blood pressure, and helps to balance our blood sugar levels. Cortisol also plays a role in our immune system, helping us fight off infections and inflammation. However, too much cortisol can be harmful. Chronic stress, such as ongoing worry or anxiety, might cause our bodies to produce too much cortisol, which can lead to health problems like weight gain, weakened immune system, and trouble sleeping. 

With the shift to working from home, the issues with supply chain, and labor shortages over the last few years, it’s no surprise that people are stressed. We looked to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) for some recommendations on how to deal with stress. 

  • Accept your needs. Recognize what your triggers are. What situations make you feel physically and mentally agitated? Once you know this, you can avoid them when it's reasonable to, and to cope when you can't.
  • Manage your time. Prioritizing your activities can help you use your time well. Making a day-to-day schedule helps ensure you don't feel overwhelmed by everyday tasks and deadlines.
  • Practice relaxation. Deep breathing, meditation and progressive muscle relaxation are good ways to calm yourself. Taking a break to refocus can have benefits beyond the immediate moment.
  • Exercise daily. Schedule time to walk outside, bike, or join a dance class. Whatever you do, make sure it's fun. Daily exercise naturally produces stress-relieving hormones in your body and improves your overall physical health.
  • Set aside time for yourself. Schedule something that makes you feel good. It might be reading a book, going to the movies, getting a massage or taking your dog for a walk.
  • Eat well. Eating unprocessed foods, like whole grains, vegetables, and fresh fruit can be the foundation for a healthy body and mind. Eating well can also help stabilize your mood.
  • Get enough sleep. Symptoms of some mental health conditions, like mania in bipolar disorder, can be triggered by getting too little sleep.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs. They don't actually reduce stress: in fact, they often worsen it. If you're struggling with substance abuse, educate yourself and get help.
  • Talk to someone. Whether to friends, family, a counselor or a support group, airing out and talking can help. 

With all the stress going around, it’s important to find ways to manage yours so the cortisol levels in your body don’t get out of control. Spend some time with the people you love, get enough nutrition, hydration, and exercise, and do your best to get consistent sleep. Please reach out if you have questions about cortisol or it’s effects on your body, or about how much exercise and nutrition you need. 


Ask us about Creatine next time you are in the PPC office, we carry a brand called Core Nutritionals.

Peak Performance Care

in Sonora CA

13949 Mono Way

PO Box 4143

Sonora, CA 95370


(209) 532 1288

Fax: (209) 230 9529

Monday/Wednesday: 8am-5:30pm

Tuesday/Thursday: 6am-5pm

Friday: 6am-2pm

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