Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Showcase: Scott Shea from Job Sink

Impaired Cortisol Awakening Response can change your whole work day

The Cortisol Awakening Response is an increase of the cortisol levels in the blood in the first 20 to 30 minutes after waking up in the morning. The exact reason for this increase is unknown but it is theorized to be a response to the anticipated stress of the day. For those under heavy workloads or even waking up on a work day as opposed to an off day the increase is greater.

This is relevant to those of us on the ASD Spectrum when viewed in light of a scientific study published in the August 2009 issue of Psychoneuroendocrinology (by Brosnan, et al) demonstrating that adolescent males with Asperger's Syndrome presented a higher than normal incidence of impaired cortisol production. It may be that from the time we wake up we have a different response to the day's stress than the NT population.

Cortisol replacement is a difficult process. Unless a patient presents with severely impaired adrenal gland function most doctors will not prescribe cortisol replacement. Still changes like making sure to waking up in daylight, waking up earlier, selective sleep deprivation and caffeine use may fight the lack of cortisol awakening response. Investigate these and see if any make sense to try in a limited fashion.

[with apologies to Dr. Brosnan for misspelling his name the first time around]

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