10 Natural Ways to Lower Cortisol Levels: Reclaim Your Peace

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Cortisol is a hormone that helps your body cope with stress. But too much cortisol can have negative effects on your health, such as weight gain, high blood pressure, mood swings, and insomnia. That’s why it’s important to learn how to lower cortisol levels naturally and effectively. In this blog post, you’ll discover eight natural ways to lower cortisol levels and improve your well-being. You’ll also learn what causes high cortisol levels and how to avoid them. Whether you want to reduce anxiety, boost your immune system, or balance your hormones, these tips will help you achieve your goals.

The Stress Hormone: Understanding Cortisol

Dreamy man resting in hammock in woods | lower cortisol levels by sleeping | reduce stress levels by sleeping

Cortisol is a powerful hormone that affects many aspects of your health and well-being. It is produced by your adrenal glands, which are located on top of your kidneys. Cortisol helps you cope with stress, regulate your metabolism, control inflammation, and maintain your blood sugar and blood pressure levels. It also influences your mood, motivation, and fear. But what happens when you have too much or too little cortisol?

High cortisol levels can cause symptoms such as weight gain, anxiety, insomnia, and weakened immunity. Low cortisol levels can lead to fatigue, low blood pressure, and difficulty concentrating. Both high and low cortisol levels can increase your risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and depression. That’s why it’s important to keep your cortisol levels in balance. You can do this by managing your stress, eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly. You can also test your cortisol levels with a simple blood, saliva, or urine test.

How to Lower Cortisol Levels

Cortisol is a hormone that helps your body cope with stress and danger. But when cortisol levels are too high, it can cause problems such as weight gain, anxiety, insomnia, and inflammation. Here are 10 natural ways to lower your cortisol levels and improve your health.

1. Get enough sleep

Sleep is essential for regulating your circadian rhythm, which affects your cortisol levels at night. A lack of sleep can disrupt your cortisol rhythm and make it harder to cope with stress. Aim for seven to nine hours of quality sleep every night and avoid caffeine, alcohol, and blue light before bed.

2. Sync with your circadian rhythm

Your circadian rhythm is your natural body clock that regulates your sleep-wake cycle and hormone production. Studies show when you disrupt your circadian rhythm by staying up late, sleeping in, or traveling across time zones, you can mess up your cortisol levels as well. To sync with your circadian rhythm, try to wake up and go to bed at the same time every day, expose yourself to natural light in the morning avoid it at night, and avoid napping during the day.

3. Do breathing exercises

Breathing exercises are a simple and effective way to lower your cortisol levels and calm your nervous system. Several studies say deep breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which counteracts the effects of stress and cortisol. You can practice breathing exercises anytime, anywhere, by inhaling deeply through your nose and exhaling slowly through your mouth.

4. Eat a balanced healthy diet

What you eat can influence your cortisol levels and your mood. Some foods can increase cortisol, such as sugar, refined carbs, processed foods, and alcohol. Other foods can lower cortisol, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, lean protein, and healthy fats. Aim for a balanced diet that provides you with enough nutrients and antioxidants to support your health.

5. Avoid intense exercise

Moderate exercise contributes to a healthy cortisol balance, but too much of it can raise your cortisol levels and cause more harm than good. Intense exercise can put a lot of stress on your body and trigger the release of cortisol and adrenaline. To keep your cortisol levels in check, opt for moderate exercise that you enjoy.

6. Do a brain dump

A brain dump is a technique that helps you clear your mind of clutter and worries. It involves writing down everything that is on your mind, without filtering or judging it. This can help you release pent-up emotions, sort out your thoughts, alleviate brain fog, and prioritize your tasks. A brain dump can also help you sleep better by reducing the mental noise that keeps you awake.

7. Cut caffeine

Caffeine is a stimulant that can boost your energy and alertness, but it can also increase your cortisol levels and make you more stressed. Caffeine can interfere with your sleep quality and duration, which can affect your cortisol rhythm. If you are sensitive to caffeine or have high cortisol levels, try to limit or avoid it altogether.

8. Use natural supplements

Some natural supplements can help you lower your cortisol levels and balance your hormones. For example, ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that can reduce stress and anxiety by modulating the activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which controls the production of cortisol and other hormones. Other supplements that may help include magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin C, ashwagandha, and probiotics.

9. Get a furry companion

Pets can provide you with companionship, love, and support that can lower your stress and cortisol levels. Studies have shown that pet owners have lower blood pressure, heart rate, and cortisol levels than non-pet owners. Pets can also help you socialize more, exercise more, and have more fun.

10. Laugh and smile more

Laughter is the best medicine for many reasons. It can boost your immune system, improve your mood, enhance your creativity, and lower your cortisol levels. Laughter can also release endorphins, which are natural painkillers and mood enhancers that counteract the effects of cortisol. So watch a funny movie, read a humorous book, or hang out with friends who make you laugh more often.

The Healing Power of Hobbies in Cortisol Regulation

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Do you have a hobby that you enjoy? Maybe you like to paint, knit, play guitar, or garden. Whatever it is, you may not realize how beneficial it is for your health and well-being. Hobbies can help you keep your cortisol levels under control and reduce the effects of stress on your body and mind.

Hobbies are activities that you do for fun, pleasure, or relaxation. They can help you cope with stress by providing a sense of enjoyment, accomplishment, creativity, and social connection. They can also distract you from your worries and negative thoughts.

When you engage in a hobby that you love, you enter a state of flow, which is a psychological state of optimal focus and immersion. Flow can lower your cortisol levels and increase your endorphins, which are natural painkillers and mood boosters. Flow can also enhance your brain function, memory, learning, and creativity.

Hobbies can also help you build resilience, the ability to bounce back from adversity. Resilience can protect you from the harmful effects of stress and improve your mental health. Hobbies can strengthen your resilience by giving you a sense of purpose, meaning, and control over your life.

So, if you want to keep your cortisol levels in check and enjoy the benefits of hobbies, here are some tips:

  • Choose a hobby that suits your personality, interests, and skills. It should be something that challenges you enough to keep you engaged, but not too much to frustrate you.
  • Schedule some time for your hobby every week. Ideally, you should aim for at least 20 minutes a day or 2 hours a week of leisure time.
  • Find a hobby buddy or join a group that shares your hobby. This can make your hobby more fun and rewarding. It can also provide you with social support and feedback.
  • Experiment with different hobbies until you find one that makes you happy. You can also combine different hobbies or try new ones from time to time.
  • Enjoy the process and don’t worry about the outcome. The point of having a hobby is not to achieve perfection or impress others, but to have fun and relax.

Bedtime Rituals: Cortisol Management at Night

Cortisol levels naturally fluctuate throughout the day, but they should be lowest at night, when you need to relax and recharge. However, if you are stressed, anxious, or exposed to artificial light before bed, your cortisol levels may stay elevated, disrupting your sleep quality and causing other problems.

That’s why it’s essential to lower cortisol levels before bed with some simple and effective evening rituals. Here are some cortisol-reducing activities that you can incorporate into your nightly routine:

  • Turn off your devices at least an hour before bed: The blue light from screens can stimulate your brain and keep your cortisol levels high. Instead, read a book, listen to soothing music, or meditate.
  • Drink some herbal tea: Chamomile, lavender, lemon balm, and passionflower are some of the best herbs for lowering cortisol and promoting relaxation. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and sugar, as they can increase cortisol and interfere with your sleep.
  • Do some gentle stretching or yoga: This can help you release tension from your muscles and joints, improve your blood circulation, and lower your cortisol levels. Avoid intense exercise before bed, as it can raise your cortisol and make it harder to fall asleep.
  • Write down your thoughts and feelings: If you have a lot on your mind, journaling can help you process your emotions, clear your head, and lower your cortisol levels. You can also write down three things that you are grateful for, as gratitude can boost your mood and lower your stress.
  • Practice some deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation: These techniques can help you calm your nervous system, lower your heart rate and blood pressure, and reduce your cortisol levels. You can also use aromatherapy with essential oils like lavender, bergamot, or sandalwood to enhance the effects.


How can I lower my cortisol levels at night?

Practice a relaxing bedtime routine, such as reading or gentle stretching. Avoid stimulating activities and bright screens before sleep to naturally lower stress hormone levels.

How can I lower my cortisol levels during pregnancy?

Prioritize stress management through activities like prenatal yoga or meditation. Adequate sleep and a well-balanced diet also contribute to maintaining healthy stress hormone levels during pregnancy.

Does magnesium help lower cortisol levels?

Yes, magnesium plays a role in cortisol regulation. Incorporating magnesium-rich foods like leafy greens, nuts, and seeds, or taking supplements under medical guidance, can support cortisol balance.

How can I lower my cortisol levels naturally?

Engage in regular exercise, practice mindfulness techniques like deep breathing, maintain a balanced diet, ensure sufficient sleep, and manage stress through activities you enjoy to naturally lower stress hormone levels.


Mastering the art of cortisol management is pivotal for holistic well-being. From embracing quality sleep to practicing stress-reducing techniques, these natural strategies empower you to lower cortisol levels and foster a balanced, serene life. Prioritize self-care, engage in mindful habits, and embark on a journey toward optimal health and tranquility.

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