Poor sleep makes you fat.  Cortisol is at fault again.

I love homos.  Early man is so fun to study.  Habilis, Erectus

So Homo is walking around gathering his roots and fruits eating, drinking some water when he could, having sex like a madman, and sleeping.

Sleep is an interesting thing.  Now that I’m 52 I wish I could have back all those naps that I refused as a toddler.

There are five stages of sleep.  I’m not going to go in detail on all of them however one important thing to know is that we go through them sequentially from step 1 2 3 4 and 5 but then bounced back and forth between the stages for the rest of the night REM sleep the first time last about 90 minutes and then we might bounce down to stage 2 and then go through them all again.

I told you that to tell you this cortisol is at play in sleep and small amounts of cortisol stick to receptor sites and actually help with benefits at a very low level.

If homo just got chased by an animal and survived it’s going to take him a little bit to settle down before he can go to sleep.

The sapien species has a lot less being chased by animals for a few minutes, but a lot more of slamming on our breaks in traffic, people trying to merge and impossibly occupy the same space with us on the road, an asshole for a boss, 16 hour shifts… , And the dreaded night shift or shift working in general.

If your cortisol is high at the end of the evening and you go to bed you will have trouble sleeping.  then you’ll do that toss and turn thing and then beat your pillow with your fists thinking that if you tenderize it and lay your head back on it you’ll be on the fall fast to sleep.

Here’s the kicker high cortisol causes insomnia, and insomnia triggers high cortisol.

Shift workers, particularly night shift workers, have it the worst.  Cortisol is circadian and it starts raining at production around 3 or 4 in the morning and steadily increases so that it can start burning some glucose to get the body ready for wakeful hours.

So what to do again it’s about stress reduction, but there are some dietary interventions that can help with stabilizing and lowering cortisol levels.

A diet rich in B vitamins, particularly vitamin B6 and vitamin B5 pantothenic acid along with adequate amounts of vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and manganese.

Ashwagandha Indian ginseng has been shown as an adaptogen to reduce cortisol levels by up to 37%

L tyrosine  and L theanine have also been shown in studies to support the lowering of cortisol levels.

Those of you that know me well, know that I try to get everything through food.  I hate it that we have to take supplements as it is.  However, I’m considering adding the ashwagandha back to my regime and I am one of those shift workers.  It’s a bit process but not processed as like a multivitamin. I think that we should be good about to get the vitamins and minerals in food.  There may be some issue getting in the quantities of the amino acid however I have not done research on that because it’s probably not something that I would take.

I might change my mind one of you might have some fantastic information that would do that.