Note: This thread has been split from the Resistant Starch thread I think I just figured out something really important that has been starring me in the face forever but I just haven't made the appropriate connections. I was reading some stuff yesterday about eating to support your circadian rhythm where the author suggested eating a lot of carbs upon waking to help blunt naturally high morning cortisol levels. Now assuming the average person goes to sleep around 11:00 pm and wakes up 8 hours later at 7am and eats breakfast around 7:45am this is what their cortisol levels will look like. Notice how cortisol levels are highest right before a person wakes up. As they wake up levels begin to drop. Eating carbs generates insulin which counteracts cortisol and helps bring that down throughout the day. This is seen as "normal" but I am beginning to wonder if "normal" is actually really screwed up from a hormonal perspective. While many things in the body ebb and flow, that is more like a massive spike similar to a huge insulin spike for someone who has poor insulin control, rather than a nice fluctuation around a homeostatic line. For as long as I can remember I have been waking up utterly exhausted usually from nightmares and it takes me all day to get my energy back. Usually I feel best between 8pm and 2am. If the above graph reflected my exhaustion levels it would be pretty darn close! Duh! The nightmares in the early morning hours make sense in that cortisol is a a stress hormone, and leads to nervous system activation. Cortisol is also catabolic leading to the breakdown of muscle tissue for energy. When you sleep your body is fasting. High cortisol also impairs your immune system and causes wounds to heal slower. Excessive cortisol also causes collagen loss from the skin and reduces bone formation. It also impairs learning and long term memory retrieval. Can't remember your dreams? I usually have woken up muscles tight and stiff, adrenals depleted, emotionally exhausted, energy depleted and no appetite to boot and then not eating which by prolonging the stress response. A lot of western breakfasts are high fat/fiber/protein such as eggs, bacon, cereal & milk. Oh and then a cup of cortisol boosting coffee. Perhaps westerners have got it all wrong and some insulin promoting carbs may be better, a potato or some rice perhaps. When I traveled to Japan I always had rice for breakfast. I don't want you to get the impression that cortisol is evil, it is naturally very good for you if your survival is threatened and your in danger and need to move quickly. However is this the case for most people between the hours of 4am and 8am?? If you remember a while back I was interested in polyphasic sleeping where instead of sleeping in the modern human contrived 8 hour time increment it is perhaps more natural/ancestral to sleep in two 3-4hr segments separated by 8-12 hours. Many animals do this already naturally, but many humans have eschewed this. When i first started taking RS it seemed to me that it was coaxing my body more towards this polyphasic style of sleeping. The natural outcome would be that I would be eating every 4 hours instead of starving myself for 8 and inducing a massive cortisol spike. Thus it seems that a person following this kind of eat/sleep schedule can completely eliminate the huge early morning cortisol spike and all it's associated negative aspects. The defining aspects of CFS/ME is fatigue! And the modern "normal" eat/sleep schedule appears to thus be very detrimental to many if not perhaps most people. I mean who purposely wants to impair their immune system, slow healing and rejuvenation in the body, enhance catabolism right when you want to be doing the opposite? Sleep is supposed to be rejuvenating! The thing is if you do it too much at once, it has the opposite effect. I suspect many people may be inducing adrenal fatigue by following the "normal" sleep/eat schedule. I suspect most CFS/ME people suffer from this. Cortisol also has consequences on your micro-biome and can increase leaky-gut. Consider the following from: http://www.ucc.ie/en/cns/news/newsarchive2012/Mind-alteringmicroorganisms.pdf Now I know many people are probably quite adverse to changing the way they have been sleeping their entire life. I now, force myself to wake up after about 4-5 hours of sleeping and eat some carbs to boost insulin a bit to dampen cortisol. If I'm still tired I will go back to bed and nap, but at least it will be more rejuvenating this way. It has been a "belief" that you need 6-8 hrs of consecutive sleep for proper rejuvenation. Many people thus will get anxiety if they think they are not getting what they are "supposed" to. Hopefully this post can change some of the psychology around this. And remember you can still get all the sleep you need, just tweak it so your cortisol doesn't spike. Eat some carbs every 4 hours. Your body, mind and microbes will thank you. Siesta anyone?