When your cortisol levels are in balance, you feel calm, cool, and collected all the time," says gynaecologist Dr. Sara Gottfried in an interview with WellandGood.com for a feature on getting cortisol levels back on balance
"You sleep well, and are able to manage stress without it overcoming you. Your blood pressure and blood sugar levels are normal."
In her New York Times bestseller, The Hormone Reset Diet
, Dr. Gottfried explains that most of us get a natural cortisol spike in the morning, which is why we have more energy then, and it declines in the afternoon (hello, naptime!) and evening. Some night owls also get a spike in the evening.
But generally, the highest levels are made in the morning, less is produced during the day, and very little in the evening. Only minimal amounts of cortisol are produced while you sleep.
'The hormone’s levels should bottom out around midnight, while you’re asleep,' explains Dr. Gottfried. That’s when your cells can perform their greatest repair. “If your cortisol levels are still high while you’re sleeping, your body can’t do the healing it needs. As a result, you wake up feeling fatigued, like you want coffee - which raises cortisol - and perhaps you have trouble recovering from exercise.”