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Insomnia & Cortisol

There are many types of insomnia. Sometimes sleeplessness is due to over thinking; other times, insomnia may be caused by pain. Night sweats associated with menopause can also significantly disrupt sleep. But there are other chronic types of insomnia that seem to be unresponsive to even the strongest sleep medications. In these cases, there’s a need to look deeper.

Cortisol’s Circadian Rhythm

If your body’s normal sleep rhythm is off, getting to sleep can be difficult. You may have heard of melatonin, the naturally occurring hormone that induces sleep. Cortisol might be considered the hormone that induces ‘wakefulness’ for its ability to stimulate energy production. Each of these hormones has a natural peak during the day. Cortisol levels should peak during the morning (thus waking you up) and melatonin should peak at night, putting you to sleep. When the normal rhythm of these two hormones is disrupted, insomnia may ensue.

In my office, I use a simple saliva test to measure cortisol levels at four different times during the day. This creates a clear picture of how your body is functioning. If cortisol levels are off, there are several ways to adjust them so you can get the sleep you need.

Sleep is crucial for maintaining your good health. If you’re having sleep issues, please contact me so that I can help you figure out what kind of insomnia you have.

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