The Cortisol Awakening Response
From the moment you open your eyes, the brain signals the adrenal glands to produce cortisol. This surge occurs for about 30 to 45 minutes before gradually declining as the day goes on. Scientists refer to this phenomenon as the cortisol awakening response (CAR).
Cortisol is the body’s natural alarm system. It’s essential for day-to-day functioning, but elevated levels can deplete your resilience to stress and lead to insomnia, depression, anxiety, inflammation, and even an increased risk of autoimmune disease.
While good quality sleep is important to achieving balanced cortisol, a consistent, gentle waking routine is equally important to help you feel and function at your best. This is particularly true for those prone to stress, as even the sound of the alarm or the simple act of checking your phone can send cortisol soaring, sabotaging your intentions for the day.
A morning ritual – whether that’s taking a few moments to stretch, journal or meditate with aromatherapy – can help to keep stress in check and transform your day into a productive one.
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