PM Routine is Key to Increased Health and Success
In my previous post I discussed the importance of having a quality AM routine. The AM routine is so important because healthy cortisol levels should be high in the morning and decrease as the day goes on and reach its lowest levels as you are winding down and getting ready to sleep. What I mentioned previously is that as cortisol levels are changing throughout the day an additional hormone is working in the completely opposite way by being at its lowest in the morning and its highest at night before bed. This hormone is melatonin. It is significant to keep these two hormones working in an antagonistic way so that your body can have restorative sleep and also so that you have energy to accomplish all that you have to conquer throughout your days.
Tips to help decrease cortisol and increase melatonin:
For those that begin to wind down when the sun sets and it gets dark, their bodies release melatonin more easily and in larger quantities. Getting your body in sync with the rising and setting of the sun assists in having proper melatonin levels, which leads to quality rest.
Another way to assist in increasing melatonin is to give your mind plenty of time to wind down before laying down for bed. This can be done in many ways, may it be that you turn off your cell phone an hour before bed and then spend time reading or journaling. This also ties into a healthy mental habit of using your bed only for sleep or for sex so that your mind associates your bed with winding down and/or connection.
A third way in which you can rid of excess cortisol is to exercise in a non-vigorous way before preparing for a night’s rest. Examples of this kind of movement are yoga or simply stretching. It has been studied by the Indian Journal of Psychiatry and shared by the National Library of Medicine that yoga has an anti-stress effect on our brain by decreasing cortisol levels (Thirthalli et al. 2013). Engaging in movement in which you remain mindful of your breath and truly focus on slowing down your body and mind has been suggested to reduce the stress response in our hypothalamus therefore lowering cortisol release from the adrenal glands.