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If you’ve ever had a shock and felt the adrenaline surge in your body then you’ve felt cortisol. It’s a wake-you-up, get-you–ready-for-action hormone.
It really is. It hits its lowest point around midnight, so you can go to sleep, and then peaks again about an hour after you’ve gotten up in the morning, getting you to wake up and get ready for the day.
It’s nick-named the “stress hormone” because it’s released in moments of stress. So in a dangerous situation, or if you get scared suddenly, you’ll feel it.
But… when we have too-high levels of cortisol for too long, it can make us feel stressed… even if we have no reason to be.