Cortisol serves as the body’s natural alert system. Your body produces it as the major stress hormone. It interacts with certain brain regions to regulate emotions, drive, and fear.
Most cells in your body have cortisol receptors, which absorb and utilize cortisol in various ways. Some of the bodily processes that depend on cortisol are as follows:
- manages how your body uses proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates
- reduces inflammation
- controls the cycle of sleep and waking
- regulates blood pressure
- increases blood sugar
- gives you more energy to deal with stress, after which it helps you to regain balance
Optimized cortisol levels are essential for life and for regulating various body processes. Cortisol levels can harm your overall health if they are continuously high or low. Your brain’s pituitary and hypothalamus, both involved in cortisol regulation, can determine if the amount of the hormone in your blood is appropriate. Your brain changes how many hormones it produces if the level is too low. The ones picking up these messages are your two triangle-shaped adrenal glands above the kidneys. The amount of cortisol they release is then fine-tuned.
You may generally work to keep your cortisol levels optimized by doing the following daily routines:
- Improve your sleep quality since chronic sleep problems, including obstructive sleep apnea, insomnia, or working the night shift, are linked to imbalanced cortisol levels.
- Learn to control stress levels by being conscious of your thinking pattern, breathing, heart rate, and other tension-inducing signals. This will help you spot indications of stress early on and stop it before it gets out of hand.
- Regular exercise has been found to enhance sleep quality and reduce stress.
- Deep breathing can balance your cortisol levels by activating your parasympathetic nervous system, often known as your “rest and digest” system.
- Maintain healthy relationships with yourself and others. Tense and toxic relationships might make you feel stressed out all the time and mess with your cortisol levels.
- Take time to laugh and have fun since doing so helps to regulate cortisol and produce endorphins. Your cortisol levels are best when you engage in hobbies and enjoyable activities since they help you feel good.
While there are many ways you can do to try to reduce your stress and regulate your cortisol levels, sometimes abnormal cortisol levels are out of your control. Get in touch with your doctor if you see any signs of high or low cortisol levels, such as an imbalance in weight or blood pressure.