Top 10 Tips To Help You Sleep Like a Baby – The Cortisol and Melatonin Dance

There are only 2 things you need to worry about when you want to get a good night’s sleep and that’s…

  1. reducing cortisol
  2. ramping up melatonin

And every sleep tip out there basically focuses on doing one, or both, of those things without, usually, even knowing it! We’re going to unpack this in an easy way that you will understand and then give you our Top 10 Tips To Help You Sleep Like a Baby.

Top 10 Tips To Help You Sleep Like a Baby – The Cortisol and Melatonin Dance
Top 10 Tips To Help You Sleep Like a Baby – The Cortisol and Melatonin Dance

First what are cortisol and melatonin? They’re both hormones. What are hormones? They are chemical messengers in the body that provide instructions. A little bit like a project manager on a building site. Project managers instruct the workers to do work. The project manager, cortisol, instructs the body to get wound up ready for action and is highest first thing in the morning, when you’re exercising, and when you’re stressed. The project manager, melatonin, tells the body to wind down, get ready for bed, and let the healing begin. It peaks in the evening and is lowest first thing in the morning.

Waiting for cortisol or melatonin to tell them what to do
Waiting for cortisol or melatonin to tell them what to do - hopefully they won't get 2 orders at once!

Usually when melatonin is high, cortisol is low and conversely when melatonin is low, cortisol is high. They are night and day, loud and quiet, fire and water, yin and yang.

What is Cortisol

Your adrenals glands create cortisol which...

  • increases blood sugar
  • suppresses the immune system
  • suppresses inflammation
  • sends blood to periphery 
  • suppresses melatonin
  • wakes you up
  • catabolic / destructive / yang

What causes high cortisol?

The following are the big drivers of high cortisol...

  • low blood sugar
  • morning / circadian rhythm
  • physical stress
  • poor health
  • lack of sleep
  • exercise
  • mental and emotional stress
  • current lifestyle stressors
  • repressed emotional stressors

What is Melatonin

Your pineal gland creates melatonin which...

  • controls circadian rhythm
  • controls blood pressure
  • antioxidant
  • helps fight bacterial infections, viruses, cancer
  • makes you sleepy
  • anabolic / building & repair / yin

What Causes Low Melatonin?

There are only 2 things that cause low melatonin...

  • high cortisol
  • sunlight / blue light


So to get a good night’s sleep you want cortisol at it’s lowest when you get into bed and melatonin at it’s highest. Sure you can pop a bunch of melatonin pills but if cortisol is high at the same time you now have 2 project managers screaming at your body. Project Manager Cortisol is saying, “Get to work, do something, get cracking, get a move on.” and Project Manager Melatonin is saying, “Put everything away, go to sleep, relax.” The result? Confusion and imbalance.

The Cortisol and Melatonin Dance
The Cortisol and Melatonin Dance


Top 10 Tips To Help You Sleep Like a Baby Hormonal Effect
1. Avoid late night exercise READ MORE raises cortisol
2. No caffeine after 3pm READ MORE raises cortisol
3. No evening alcohol READ MORE raises cortisol
4. No sugary foods (particularly in evening) READ MORE raises cortisol
5. Lifestyle coaching (to reduce stress or anxiety) READ MORE lowers cortisol
6. Reduce environmental toxicity (mold, aircon, pollution, lack of oxygen) READ MORE raises cortisol
7. Avoid evening laptops, PCs, phones, TV, ipads, strip lights, street lights, house lights etc. READ MORE suppresses melatonin
8. Take tryptophan, magnesium, zinc, omega 3s rich foods boosts melatonin 
9. Avoid Wi-fi, EMF, MF, dirty electricity particularly at night READ MORE suppresses melatonin
10. Try evening meditation (start with 3 to 5 mins on Headspace app) READ MORE lowers cortisol

To Your Health, Happiness and Longevity


The Levitise Team


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