Hormonal? It Can Help Your Brain

Research tracks level changes throughout the day

Hormones shouldn't control anyone's life. But for those who what to look for, and when, hormones may give their brain an boost for whatever they do.

The latest research is tracking hormonal levels throughout the day, NBC5's Nesita Kwan reported on Wednesday.

They can be different for every person, but in general, the hours between 7 and 9 a.m. are highest for Oxytocin, which some scientists call the love hormone.

"We probably are feeling very loving, very amorous toward the husband or the boy friend or whoever," says Chicago neuroscientist Leonard Cerullo. It's also a time you'll want to give your kid an extra hug, and kiss the spouse off to work.

After 9 a.m. the stress hormone cortisol kicks in. People are alert, sensitive and at their most creative, which makes it a good time to brainstorm with colleagues.  After 11 a.m. people are fully awake, because their sleep hormone, called melatonin, is slowly draining away, which is when it's best to take on challenging conversations, or tackle that endless list of emails. By 3 p.m., energy levels may be at their peak as melatonin levels bottom out. It's an ideal time to exercise.

To determine the best mix, health psychologists suggest people keep a diary of moods and energy for at least a couple of weeks, then use their notes to build their own hormonal schedule.

 "The most important thing is to become aware of, and sensitive to how you feel, which is a reflection of the total number of hormones reacting in all the cells of the body," Cerullo said.

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