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High Night-time Cortisol Levels & Insomnia?

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Old 11-30-2006, 06:18 PM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: australia
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cathydownunder HB User
High Night-time Cortisol Levels & Insomnia?

For the last 2 years or so I've had increasing trouble falling and staying asleep. I put it down to hormones ( Im perimenopausal),back pain ( had back surgery in July) and hyperactivity (I'm never tired, even after surgery)!
My pain management doc, who likes to treat the whole person, not just pain, ordered a series of salivary hormone tests which showed my cortisol (stress) hormone is extremely high in the evening and at night.
He tried me on Melatonin (didn't work) and has me taking a herbal drug called Phosphatidylserine which works on the nervous system. So far ( a few weeks) there's been no improvement. I don't even get much help from Valerian! I'm very frustrated and constantly irritable!
Has anyone else with insomnia been tested for high night-time cortisol? What did you do to lower it?

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Old 12-12-2006, 04:15 PM   #2
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 132
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crowgirl HB User
Re: High Night-time Cortisol Levels & Insomnia?

Your high cortisol levels might well be due to the pain, so you might not be able to lower them properly until you get your pain under control.

That said, can you do any form of exercise? Exercise can be very helpful in lowering stress hormone levels, even if it's only for a couple of hours. You may want to your doctors about the best kinds of exercise for your condition, though.

How about a hot bath or a visit to the sauna? A relaxation technique, perhaps? Stress management, so that stressors from the outside don't aggravate the problem? Anything that helps to combat stress might help lower your cortisol levels as well.

Valerian doesn't do anything for me, either. My pharmacist said that it has a paradoxical effect on some people, making them wide awake instead of sleepy. I take hops instead when I need something to help me sleep.

All the best!!

Last edited by crowgirl; 12-12-2006 at 04:17 PM.

Old 10-21-2007, 10:29 PM   #3
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Marin, California, USA
Posts: 24
jinxie1 HB User
Re: High Night-time Cortisol Levels & Insomnia?

licorice extract, GAC (ONLY), reduces corisol as does Phosphatidylserine and the cheaper version, Phosphorylated serine.

I have objectively confirmed sleep disorders, including apnea and alpha intrusions, the latter of which is certainly caused in part by the cortisol. I am about to begin treatment for the cortisol issue, and I use a CPAP machine.

I'd recommend a full lab work up as well as a sleep study. Hang in there.

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