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The constant barrage of inputs that we are asked to react to and handle is keeping us in the fight-or-flight mode too much, too long and too often. We need to find ways to shut down, to disengage and allow the body to repair in the rest-and-digest mode. If we don’t, the background levels of cortisol continue to build.
Do you remember what I wrote about the importance of resting and sleeping recently? I want to give you a little more information on this topic. One of the big health issues that develop with inadequate rest is a build-up of cortisol.
Why should you care about the build-up of cortisol?
An excess of cortisol often leads to a progressive loss of muscle and bone mass through increased calcium excretion and lower calcium absorption. Cortisol causes a redistribution of body fat: your arms and legs lose fat and muscle, and your trunk and face become fatter. In other words, the look of aging, and the dreaded osteoporosis.
Cortisol causes sodium retention which could raise your blood pressure. It also causes potassium excretion, which will, among other things, make you feel tired and sleepy in the evenings. Prolonged high levels of cortisol can throw the immune system into chaos and really wreck your body. Recent research is confirming that many of the worst, and least-curable diseases are linked to or even caused by high cortisol levels.
You can get rid of cortisol by relaxing and not stressing out about things. The best practice will include meditation, evening walks in nature and taking a nap whenever you get a chance. Get adequate sleep every night. Sleep is crucial to the recovery and recuperation process. Go to bed early. Sleep in a completely darkened room. Get rid of your alarm clock (if you can) and every other electronic gadget in your bedroom.