WHAT DOES CORTISOL DO TO YOUR BRAIN?
I want to go a little bit further and talk about the breakdown of the brain as I’d mentioned earlier. Because our cortisol rhythm is ultimately determined by our brain, our brain signals down and says okay, let’s produce cortisol. When cortisol is chronically elevated, it actually causes a part of our brain known as the hippocampus to shrink.
The hippocampus is responsible for learning and memory, so when people are chronically stressed, they start saying:
Man, I just feel like my brain’s not connecting right. I’m having conversations with people and I feel dumb because I know what word I want to say but yet, whenever I’m ready to say it, it just tends to slip from my mind and I can’t find it.
I feel like my memory is going downhill. I’m walking into rooms and I don’t remember why I did.
I put my keys somewhere and honestly, it takes me 5 to 10 minutes to even find them.
This is because of the negative effects that too much cortisol has on your brain.
DOES CORTISOL IMPACT MY WEIGHT?
Outside of the brain, it does also impact weight and you can get a redistribution of weight specifically within your abdomen.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO EVALUATE THE ADRENALS?
When we’re looking at evaluating the adrenals the best way to really evaluate is using a salivary cortisol test. This tells us what’s happening within the rhythm. It’s not always just you’ve got too much or you’ve got too little. It’s that you don’t have the right balance and rhythm for what you should have throughout the day. This is going to impact a lot of things and make you feel off. So you want to look for salivary cortisol testing.
WHAT ARE SOME TIPS TO IMPROVE ADRENAL FATIGUE?
Typically if you’re having a morning crash and you just can’t start the day or having an afternoon crash, exercising during that time, even for 10 minutes, is a really good idea. Odds are you’ve got a low cortisol curve at that point in time and exercise is one of the best ways to get it back up.
Take time for yourself to de-stress, let things calm down, and settle. You weren’t meant to be under constant pressure all the time. In the past it was, okay we need to kill an animal to eat. That takes a period of time, but outside of that, then you have a true down period of time. But in our current society because of technology, jobs, and so many other things that we try to do for our kids. With what we consider being excellent parents, we’re actually tearing down our bodies because we’re doing too much and there’s too much constant pressure. I can’t state that one enough, because this one makes or breaks people.
Make sure that you’re getting up in the morning, going out, and getting some sunlight to let your body know this is morning. Also, on the other end of the spectrum, go to bed at a good time. Turn off the electronics because the electronics and the blue lights are going to cause an increase in your cortisol which can impact your ability to sleep. This will cause your mind all of sudden to start racing even though you’re dead tired and ready to go to sleep