If you’re stressed, overwhelmed, fatigued, find it difficult to get up in the morning yet can’t get to sleep at night, you could have a cortisol imbalance. Feeling ‘wired and tired’ – not able to fully relax yet not feeling energised enough to live life to the fullest – is a common issue which can often lead directly to burnout. When this is happening, our hormone levels go awry, our mood and blood sugar can be unstable, and we can also have cravings for foods that don’t exactly enhance our health and wellbeing.
Cortisol – commonly called the ‘stress hormone’ – isn’t all bad. Yes, too much of it can make us feel stressed out, but we do actually need enough of this hormone in order to function optimally. When it comes to cortisol – it’s all about right timing or your cortisol rhythm. A healthy cortisol rhythm sees a big spike or cortisol early in the morning, which is what wakes us up and gets us up and out of bed. For the first 30 minutes of the day, your cortisol levels are the highest they’ll be all day if you have a ‘normal’ rhythm. Throughout the course of the day, cortisol levels slowly decline, dropping right down at nighttime, when your sleep hormone known as ‘melatonin’ should be kicking in.
A common pattern with those who are ‘wired and tired’ however, is that their cortisol rhythms are turned upside down; there isn’t a high enough cortisol boost in the morning, so getting out of bed feels like a huge effort, and you may also feel unrested. At night time, cortisol levels can also be too high, preventing you from getting to sleep, or waking you up at multiple times throughout the night.
So, cortisol isn’t all bad! We just need to control its rhythm so it actually served us well.
There are a multitude of different things you can do to rebalance your cortisol rhythms, such as getting outside into natural daylight soon after waking, dimming the lights at night, and using specific nutrients. In this recipe, we’re using beetroot, as it works to directly reduce cortisol levels! By drinking this Spiced Sweet Beet Bedtime Latte at night, you’ll be helping lower your cortisol levels, improving relaxation and enhancing your sleep quality. Spices like cinnamon and ginger are also beneficial for the adrenal glands, which can become depleted through problems with cortisol, and vanilla extract is anti-inflammatory and calming for the nervous system too.
Give it a try and let me know what you think!
Recipe (serves 2)
- 1 beetroot, chopped into quarters
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- Seeds of 2 cardamom pods
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- Optional: 4 cloves, ground into powder & 1 star anise, ground into powder
- 1 + ½ cups milk of choice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp maple syrup to sweeten (optional)
- Add all ingredients to a blender and whizz
- Pour into a pan and gently heat
- Once warm to your liking, you can either pour straight into mugs, or pour through a sieve for a texture that is less like a smoothie and more like a tea.
More Beetroot Recipes:
Chicory & Beetroot Salad