Time and Energy
It’s hard to escape stress, and in fact, manageable doses of stress help us become stronger and more resilient. It’s when demands and challenges overwhelm our capacities, whether those challenges are physical, cognitive or emotional, that stress becomes detrimental to our health and well-being.
Cortisol is a critical hormone produced by the adrenal glands that helps the body cope with stress. In health, cortisol is released into the blood in a 24 hour cycle that gradually rises through the night until a peak upon waking in the morning then gradually declines over the day until its lowest level at night when the body prepares for and enters sleep. It’s normal to have spikes in cortisol release during the day in response to hard physical work or negative emotions, however excessive stress disrupts the cyclic peak and valley in cortisol release and results in elevated cortisol during early sleep. This in turn disrupts early night time slow wave sleep which is important to feeling rested in the morning. Light at night can cause elevated night time cortisol and slow wave sleep disruption too.
Understanding and synchronizing our schedules with the body’s cyclic peaks and valleys in coping, stamina and cognitive speed can increase our energy and remove excessive stress. Our daily schedules and routines affect when, how much and what kind of light we get, food we eat and activities we do, and these same factors shape the peaks and valleys of our energy and capacity to cope with stress.
Using published research data on how light, food, temperature and activity cycles affect stress and energy, we at AuraViva are building mobile web applications to help you synchronize your circadian cycles with your daily demands so that excessive stress is reduced and your energy is increased. We are targeting mid-December to launch the first application. If you want us to let you know when the application launches and receive a 2 week free trial, sign up for our newsletter. Want to learn more about the science relating stress, circadian rhythms and health? Then check out the circadian rhythms section of the website.