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Elevated Cortisol Levels Linked to Insomnia
Cortisol, a stress hormone, wreaks havoc on hormonal systems in the body when elevated. Elevated cortisol levels can cause insomnia.
Natural remedies such as a melatonin may help some people, but there are many people that simply do not respond to oral medications or naturopathic remedies.
There are variety of causes for insomnia, including chronic stress, medical conditions and chemical imbalances. Often a physician will overlook a test that may help determine which of the many causes is contributing to the insomnia.
According to Dr. Dennis Lox, a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician practicing in the Tampa Bay area of Florida, he checks his patients’ morning cortisol levels.
Cortisol is a stress hormone and when elevated wreaks havoc on multiple hormonal systems in the body, including insomnia. When the cortisol level remains elevated for an extended period, the cortisol level actually can drop and lead to what is known as adrenal burnout syndrome. With this condition, small levels of cortisol can be replaced to alleviate adrenal burnout syndrome. According to Dr. Lox, it has been suggested that some patients suffering from fibromyalgia have been noted to have adrenal fatigue syndrome, which is also often overlooked.
According to Dr. Lox, sleep apnea may also cause cortisol levels to increase, due to the stress of difficulty breathing. Elevated ACTH levels, a pituitary hormone, can increase cortisol as well.
For his patients, Dr. Lox recommends a complete hormonal lab test panel to look for possible undiagnosed pathophysiologic mechanisms that would affect sleep patterns and lead to chronic insomnia.
To lower elevated morning cortisol levels, the nutraceutical phosphatidylserine may have a positive effect, in conjunction with melatonin. Phosphatidylserine is derived from soybeans.
Additional measures that have been effective in treating insomnia include relaxation training, bio-feedback and meditation. According to Dr. Lox, often in Western society, relaxation training is often not only overlooked, but also underutilized, as Western society looks for more immediate relief.
More on Dr. Dennis Lox can be found at http://www.DrLox.com
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Dennis M. Lox, M.D. is board certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Since 1990, he has used sports medicine techiques and cutting-edge technology to help heal musculoskeletal injuries and relieve pain.