If you have ever been stressed out for a while, after a while, it may seem that you just cannot think straight.
In a normal functioning person, cortisol levels should be high in the morning and low when you are ready for bed which allows for a sound sleep.
People who are constantly stressed out may have problems with sleep and are likely emotionally drained.
Their cortisol levels are likely higher than they should be at night which can affect the ability to fall asleep and then experience a deep REM sleep which is part of how the body is able to repair itself.
A recent study of 2000 people who were mostly in their 40’s found that people with the highest levels of the stress hormone, cortisol did more poorly on tests of memory, organization, visual perception, and attention.
These symptoms may be a precursor for physical brain changes leading to Alzheimer’s disease later in life.
Check out the article below which was featured in Scientific American.
“Stress Hormone” Cortisol Linked to Early Toll on Thinking Ability
The stresses of everyday life may start taking a toll on the brain in a relatively early middle age, new research shows.
by Karen Weintraub
The stresses of everyday life may start taking a toll on the brain in relatively early middle age, research shows. The study of more than 2,000 people, most of them in their 40s, found those with the highest levels of the stress-related hormone cortisol performed worse on tests of memory, organization, visual perception and attention.
Higher cortisol levels, measured in subjects’ blood, were also found to be associated with physical changes in the brain that are often seen as precursors to Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, according to the study published in October 2018 in Neurology.
The link between high cortisol levels and low performance was particularly strong for women, the study found. But it remains unclear whether women in midlife are under more stress than men or simply more likely to have their stress manifested in higher cortisol levels, says lead researcher Sudha Seshadri. A professor of neurology, she splits her time between Boston University and The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, where she is the founding director of the Glenn Biggs Institute for Alzheimer’s & Neurodegenerative Diseases.