OBJECTIVES: Diurnal cortisol secretion levels were measured and circadian cortisol profiles were evaluated in a pilot study conducted to test the hypothesis that grounding the human body to earth during sleep will result in quantifiable changes in cortisol. It was also hypothesized that grounding the human body would result in changes in sleep, pain, and stress (anxiety, depression, irritability), as measured by subjective reporting. SUBJECTS AND INTERVENTIONS: Twelve (12) subjects with complaints of sleep dysfunction, pain, and stress were grounded to earth during sleep for 8 weeks in their own beds using a conductive mattress pad. Saliva tests were administered to establish pregrounding baseline cortisol levels. Levels were obtained at 4-hour intervals for a 24-hour period to determine the circadian cortisol profile. Cortisol testing was repeated at week 6. Subjective symptoms of sleep dysfunction, pain, and stress were reported daily throughout the 8-week test period. RESULTS: Measurable improvements in diurnal cortisol profiles were observed, with cortisol levels significantly reduced during night-time sleep. Subjects' 24-hour circadian cortisol profiles showed a trend toward normalization. Subjectively reported symptoms, including sleep dysfunction, pain, and stress, were reduced or eliminated in nearly all subjects. CONCLUSIONS: Results indicate that grounding the human body to earth ("earthing") during sleep reduces night-time levels of cortisol and resynchronizes cortisol hormone secretion more in alignment with the natural 24-hour circadian rhythm profile. Changes were most apparent in females. Furthermore, subjective reporting indicates that grounding the human body to earth during sleep improves sleep and reduces pain and stress.