Summer is on the way and with it come changes in how we function, including Cortisol production. Cortisol is a hormone that regulates many aspects of your health, such as metabolism, immune system, blood pressure, and mood. Cortisol is also known as the “stress hormone” because it is released in response to physical or psychological stress. However, cortisol levels are not only influenced by stress, but also by the changes in seasons.
The changes in the 4 seasons affect your cortisol production output in two ways: through the amount of sunlight exposure and the temperature variations. Sunlight exposure affects your circadian rhythm, which is your internal biological clock that tells you when to sleep and when to wake up. Sunlight exposure also affects your melatonin production, which is a hormone that helps you fall asleep and regulates your immune system. Melatonin and cortisol have an inverse relationship: when melatonin levels are high, cortisol levels are low, and vice versa.
The amount of sunlight exposure varies depending on the season and your geographical location. In general, during the winter months, there is less sunlight exposure than during the summer months. This means that your melatonin levels are higher, and your cortisol levels are lower during the winter. This can lead to symptoms such as fatigue, low mood, reduced motivation, and increased appetite. On the other hand, during the summer months, there is more sunlight exposure than during the winter months. This means that your melatonin levels are lower, and your cortisol levels are higher during the summer. This can lead to symptoms such as insomnia, anxiety, irritability, and decreased appetite.
The temperature variations also affect your cortisol production output by influencing your metabolism and your thermoregulation. Metabolism is the process of converting food into energy for your body. Thermoregulation is the process of maintaining a stable body temperature despite the external temperature changes. Both metabolism and thermoregulation require energy and therefore increase your cortisol production output.
The temperature variations depend on the season and your geographical location as well. In general, during the winter months, the temperature is lower than during the summer months. This means that your metabolism and thermoregulation must work harder to keep you warm and therefore increase your cortisol production output. This may lead to symptoms such as increased blood pressure, inflammation, and weight gain. On the other hand, during the summer months, the temperature is higher than during the winter months. This means that your metabolism and thermoregulation may need to work harder to keep you cool and therefore increase your cortisol production output as well. This may lead to symptoms such as dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, and heat exhaustion.
As you can see, changes in seasons may have a significant impact on your cortisol production output and consequently on your health and well-being. Therefore, it is important to be aware of these effects and take measures to balance your cortisol levels throughout the year. Some of these measures include:
– Getting enough sleep and following a regular sleep schedule is so important to face the world in a consistent manner.
– Exposing yourself to natural light during the day and avoiding artificial light at night, especially blue light on your phone
– Eating a balanced diet that includes complex carbohydrates, protein, healthy fats, and antioxidants. It also matters when you eat, early consumption of dinner before bedtime gives your systems a chance to process nutrients. Otherwise, it works late into the night and increases blood sugar levels along the way.
– Drinking plenty of water and avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and sugary drinks
– Managing stress through relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, or hobbies
– Exercising moderately and regularly
– Seeking professional help if you experience severe or persistent symptoms of cortisol imbalance as well as sleep problems.
We always look at a bigger picture of your health, lifestyle, diet etc. but by following these tips, you may help yourself cope with the changes in seasons and maintain a healthy cortisol production output throughout the year and seasons of change.
Happy Health from SIE Medical, LLC
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