Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Feeling Moody? It Might Be Hormones. Let’s Get Those Babies Under Control.

We all have good days and bad days. Sometimes, you just wake up in the morning ready for anything; other times, you wake up and just want to stay in bed. What’s the reason? Certain life situations may alter our general outlook on life, but sometimes there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason why we’re feeling moody.

The truth is, it might be hormones.

While we tend to experience the greatest hormonal imbalances during puberty, the end of our teen years doesn’t mark the end of those shifts. As adults, there are plenty of dirty little habits we can fall into, all of which can cause our hormones to get out of whack, causing that unwanted moodiness.

For example, foods with lots of added sugar, like oh, I don’t know, chocolate bars, not only help us put on a few pounds—but when eaten too often, they also increase our bodies’ resistance to insulin, make it harder for our cells to get enough energy, and put us at risk for type 2 diabetes.

Not giving yourself time to relax before bed can also cause hormonal imbalances. Levels of stress hormone cortisol naturally drop just before we get some shuteye, but working late at night increases stress—and cortisol levels. Cortisol also pushes our blood sugar levels up, making us crave more junk food. The overall result is that it becomes more difficult to sleep well and eat healthy, and our stress levels stay sky high.

Late afternoon coffee runs may sound like a great idea to get you through the day, but take a moment to consider whether or not you really need the boost. While caffeine gives us extra energy, it also boosts cortisol levels, making it (again) harder to sleep and inducing anxiety. Try to get your two cups in before 3 p.m. to avoid messing with your body’s natural cycle.

As tired as you may feel after a long day at work, chances are that if you start going to the gym regularly, you’ll have a lot more energy. Without regular exercise, our bodies don’t get critically important endorphins, those lovely mood-and-energy-boosting chemicals in the brain. Endorphins also help our immune systems stay strong.

In short, try and skimp on sugar, relax before bed, get enough sleep, don’t overdo it on the Starbucks, and get regular exercise! It’s simple enough, though that doesn’t mean it will be easy. But you’ll consistently feel better without hormones jumping all over the place.