Spurting around your body from your adrenal glands (atop the kidneys), cortisol is an important hormone which helps control blood sugar levels, regulate metabolism, spark up the immune system and reduce inflammation. Cortisol is infamously branded the ‘stress hormone’ because it also controls blood pressure and races around the body in times of anger or upset.
Far from being totally negative, the c-hormone helps us get out of bed and ready for the day each morning. In times of danger, a cortisol boost revs your energy, reduces the amount of pain you feel and sharpens your memory. By late evening, cortisol is much lower, enabling you drift off into slumber.
If cortisol levels are way off the charts, however, you could quickly find yourself seriously unwell. Aside from rare health conditions, chronic stress can lead to frequently high cortisol levels and leave you experiencing mood swings, a growing beer belly and a lower sex drive.
Cortisol needs to reduce in the body for long enough to allow its batteries to recharge. Great ways to encourage optimum c-levels include regular physical activity (including sex), as well as listening to music or writing about your feelings.