Cortisol: Understanding the Alertness Hormone
The Dreamers Company wants to help you get your best night’s sleep. Good sleep is the foundation of great health, so we designed the DreamTech Sleep Lens. Blue light glasses that block 99.9% of artificial blue and green light allowing your body to naturally produce the sleep hormone melatonin.
Getting a good night’s sleep is an extraordinary framework for your holistic health. However, the longer you are awake the more pressure you put on yourself to sleep. While some people swear by meditation or breathing exercise right before bed, understanding where this stress comes from is the first vital step in building an effective night time routine and learning how to take control of your body's stress levels.
WHAT IS CORTISOL:
Cortisol is your body's first line of defence against danger, essentially operating as a built-in alarm system. When your brain identifies a stressor, your body is flooded with an extra burst of energy to prime it for instant action. Cortisol is often referred to as ‘the stress hormone’ but a more appropriate name would be the ‘alertness hormone’, because it has many more important functions than just putting your body under stress. It is how you remain alert and responsive while you are at school or work, it helps regulate our blood pressure, maintain our immune system, influences memory formation and, for women, helps in the development of a foetus.
The secretion of the alertness hormone cortisol is controlled by three interconnected parts of the body – the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, and the adrenal gland - or the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis (or HPA axis). The release of cortisol is a little different to either melatonin* or serotonin*. While your melatonin levels build throughout the day, peaking in the middle of the night, cortisol production is switched on and off as your brain perceives stressors.
WHY IS MANAGING YOUR CORTISOL SO IMPORTANT?
Our cortisol secretion process is similar to that of an unfamiliar shower, one quarter turn of the hot tap and the once pleasant water temperature becomes scalding hot, one quarter turn of the cold tap and you’re suddenly freezing. When we absorb blue light before bed, from watching tv, texting, or checking emails, our body is inundated with cortisol to keep us alert. Something as simple as wearing Dreamers Lucid Sleep glasses to do the same activities will stop your HPA axis from producing the alertness hormone cortisol and allow your body to naturally produce the sleep hormone melatonin.
It is important to manage our cortisol levels. Too much cortisol over a long period of time can have some damning effects such as; rapid weight gain, high blood pressure, skin changes, muscle weakness and mood swings.
Finding simple solutions to complex biological reactions can help us find the most suitable and effective night time routines. We here at Dreamers believe we all need to reclaim our right to a full night of sleep.
Link to previous blogs on melatonin and serotonin
Cortisol Effects on Body Mass, Blood Pressure, and Cholesterol in the General Population. Jun 1999 https://doi.org/10.1161/01.HYP.33.6.1364