Thursday, 15 August 2019

August 2019

Hello there.

A quick update, and a conundrum. I went for my Endo checkup recently and all is well, I had the normal raft of blood tests done beforehand plus a few extra and all of them came out within normal ranges. Even my growth hormone, but more on that later....

Over the last few months, as I've reported in the blog before, I have had more instances of Cortisol crashes for no obvious reason. I had explained this in a previous Endo appointment and the doctor suggested upping my morning dose from 10mg to 15mg, which I did. It definitely did help and it appears I am one of those people who burns more Cortisol (Hydrocortisone in my case) in the morning, as I stuck to my normal 5mg lunchtime and 5mg teatime dosage. So largely the problem was fixed, but still those annoying crashes would appear.

I knew already, but I was reminded at my recent Endo appointment, that replacing Cortisol with Hydrocortisone is never going to be perfect. I can never know exactly how much Cortisol my body will need and when, and although I try and mimic the correct dosing I am going to get it wrong from time to time. Coming back to that growth hormone subject though, this is monitored regularly because GH is a hormone that can tail off in time with some people with Adrenal Insufficiency and cause similar symptoms to a lack of Cortisol. However, it appears that my growth hormone is in the upper zone of the normal range.

So I got to thinking what else could be at play, and I had an idea. This is the part where I need an expert to chime in, because the idea is a bit 'out there'. Like many people I wear a fitness tracker, an 'Amazfit Bip'. The Bip tracks steps, heart rate, sleep patterns and has GPS know, all the regular fitness tracker stuff. I have had it since last March and I have been very pleased with it, in fact it has hardly ever been off my wrist since. It is the sleep tracking in particular I noticed, it tracks total sleep per night and the amount of that sleep that is 'light sleep' and 'deep sleep'. Now, I don't honestly know how it determines 'deep sleep', I can only assume that it is a combination of movement (or lack of it) and my heart rate that makes it determine how deep my sleep is. It seems I go in and out of deep sleep during the night. I've done a graph below of my averages per month since I've had the tracker.

You can see that I am one of the lucky people that gets between 7.5 to 8 hours sleep per night, and the orange line shows the percentage of this sleep that is deep sleep. The deep sleep peaked in June to August 2018 and has been steadily coming down ever since. But then in July this year, I noticed my deep sleep shot up, some nights it was up to 40 to 50 percent of my total sleep per night. It has tailed off a bit this month as you can see.

My Cortisol crashes had been on the increase throughout 2018 and into 2019. But in the last 6 weeks, I don't think I have had one crash, not one! This coincides with me getting a lot more "deep sleep", is this a coincidence, is there any science that would correlate here??

My lifestyle is pretty constant throughout this period, a job on the same days doing the same thing, some days out at dog shows being very active and on my feet, walking the dog, same diet etc. No real change in what I'm up to to suddenly make me get more deep sleep.

Because I can't find anything on the Amazfit website that specifically states how the gadget measures "deep sleep", I can't really hand on heart say that this may be the cause, can I? Not unless my deep sleep tails off and the crashes start again. If this is in any way related, am I just in fact bog-standard knackered due to a lack of deep sleep, nothing whatsoever to do with my Hydrocortisone/Cortisol hilarious would that be!!

But anyway, there is my theory for what it is worth, I'll leave it with you!

One thing I can say for sure, is that I am very much enjoying my lack of crashes.


  1. You're enjoying the lack of crashes, and I'm loving the graph! Can't beat a bit of dataviz to try to identify the pattern... To which: can/do you measure/track crash incidents? An XY chart mapping no. of crashes per month vs %age of deep sleep (or maybe even hours of deep sleep) would help to identify the level of correlation between the two. The closer points are to the line of best fit the more accurate your hypothesis might be.

    Happy statting!

  2. Thanks, the dataviz was definitely something I wanted to get right in the story. I have total sleep in hours/minutes as well as light/deep sleep in hours/minutes - all at a daily/weekly/monthly frequency. I created the percentage. Of course I haven't had a crash for weeks, but agree it would be useful to record these to see what else I can discover.