How Fasting Can Help Improve Your Sleep
While I was doing my backwards walking down the streets of Tampa last Thursday afternoon, a bit of research I was listening to made me have an a-ha moment.
I’ll get to that ‘a-ha’ in a few moments while you wait with baited breath.
However, cortisol, that nasty hormone that you see on late night infomercials, is indeed, terrible for you, except for when it’s great for you.
Yup, cortisol is terrible except for when it’s great.
Well, cortisol really isn’t terrible for you at all. Cortisol is just a stress hormone. Excessive cortisol is caused by excessive stress.
Cortisol is actually a very beneficial hormone as all hormones in the human body are. Do you think we were given hormones that had no purpose?
Yes, our hormonal systems can get out of rhythm, but that doesn’t mean they are bad.
All of the hormonal rhythms in the body come down to a trickle effect of the ‘big 3’: cortisol, estrogen and insulin.
Back to cortisol…
Cortisol should peak in the morning. It, being a hormone of alertness, should peak slightly before we wake up. The normal rhythm for the human body is 10PM-6AM.
In a normal, healthily functioning body, this means that cortisol should peak around 6AM.
Since we are going from an unconscious to a conscious state, we need this hormone early in the waking hours to help tune our brain into the station of the day.
Very few people in the larger population have a normal cortisol curve. It should peak early and start to decline in the later afternoon as our body preps for bed time sleep.
Many people have trouble waking up in the morning and they have trouble falling or staying asleep at night.
Cortisol in layman’s terms is a hormone of the sympathetic nervous system (recall: freeze, flight or fight). Sleep is a product of being in the parasympathetic nervous system.
Are you starting to connect the dots?
How can you correct this cortisol flip if you happen to be one of the many people that have this problem? Well, there are supplements that can help such as magnesium and other adaptigens (cool stuff that I will cover next month) but there is one simple thing you can do….
Fast throughout the morning.
I’ve never heard of another person making this connection so I was quite thrilled when I was able to connect the dots.
Think of it this way, if you have trouble waking up in the morning and trouble falling asleep, you need to find a way to ‘heal’ your cortisol curve.
The problem is that most people wake up in the morning and eat a breakfast, which causes and insulin spike. A spike in insulin causes cortisol to go back down.
So the little cortisol that most people are producing in the morning compared to what they should be producing is getting jammed back into the whack-a-mole hole.
If you let it rise in the morning, you are more likely able to ‘fix’ the curve so that later in the day it begins to dip, which will start to allow you to have a better night’s sleep.
Sleep is, after all, the best diet in the world. Sleep is KING for a plethora of reasons.
I’ll leave you with this so you are armed to make the case against anyone out there that starts touting how bad cortisol is for you.
Cortisol controls blood pressure management.
Cortisol can reduce inflammation.
Cortisol can strengthen your immune systems.
Cortisol itself doesn’t cause fat gain around the belly, stress is the culprit. Read this trice and thrice so you have a firm grasp of the principal, your very health depends on it.