Salimetrics has launched an add-on stress assessment to its home sleep test, allowing salivary cortisol, a well-known stress hormone, to be measured alongside melatonin for a more comprehensive evaluation of a patient’s circadian rhythm. 

The + Stress add-on is available for all three Circadian Phase Assessments: dim light melatonin onset, dim light melatonin offset, and the 24-Hour Circadian Phase Map. 

“By measuring both cortisol and melatonin at the same time, it is possible to gain more insight into the body’s internal 24-hour ‘clock’ that regulates many physiological processes, including sleep and wakefulness, hormone production, and metabolism,” says Steve Granger, PhD, chief scientific officer at Salimetrics, in a press release.

Measuring melatonin and cortisol levels simultaneously over multiple time points can help check for disruptions to the normal circadian rhythm, which may indicate certain sleep disorders, depression, or chronic stress, according to a press release by Salimetrics. 

“While the production of melatonin is controlled by the body’s internal clock in response to light and darkness and is highest at night to promote sleep, cortisol is released by the adrenal gland in response to stress and is typically highest in the morning and decreases throughout the day,” says Granger in the release. “When cortisol levels are elevated due to stress or other factors, it can interfere with the production and regulation of melatonin, the hormone responsible for promoting sleep. In effect, elevated cortisol around bedtime means your body is physiologically heading in the opposite direction when you are trying to fall asleep, stay asleep, or obtain restorative sleep. Additionally, cortisol levels that are too low can also impact sleep quality. Therefore, maintaining normal cortisol levels is also important for overall sleep health.”

While melatonin testing was central to the initial circadian phase assessment, Salimetrics says it worked quickly to add the stress component as an optional add-on. 

“While we recognize the importance of the cortisol/melatonin relationship, our initial launch goal was to keep pricing as low as possible,” says Granger in the release. “However, the potential of this relationship is often invaluable in treating sleep-related disruptions, so we worked quickly to make it available as part of our online test menu.”

Sleep medicine providers can use the community-driven tool to aid in the management of circadian rhythm sleep-wake disorders, which can be utilized to first establish a baseline understanding of an individual’s physiological rhythms and, secondly, to focus on specific targets for treatment.

Photo credit: Salimetrics