Sleep is a basic need of every human being. But the fact is your survival literally depends on your ability to sleep. Cortisol, a hormone released during stress has a very powerful influence on sleep and waking in an individual. Cortisol interacts with our circadian rhythms and sleep cycles.
What is Cortisol?
It is a stress hormone produced by the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA). HPA includes the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and adrenal gland. For the production of cortisol, the hypothalamus sends signals to the pituitary gland which in turn releases a substance known as corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH). CRH sends another hormone into your bloodstream that is adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). ACTH travels through blood and cues the adrenal glands to produce cortisol. It is a complex and sensitive feedback loop and it has a profound effect on our body, mind, and sleep.