Hormones play a crucial role in regulating many physiological processes in the body, including sleep. While many factors can affect sleep, including stress, diet, and environment, hormonal imbalances can also disrupt the sleep-wake cycle.
Here are some of the hormones that play a role in sleep:
- Melatonin & Serotonin Relationship: Melatonin is a hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. It is produced by the pineal gland in the brain and is released in response to darkness. Melatonin levels typically rise in the evening and fall in the morning, helping to promote a natural sleep-wake cycle. Serotonin is a pre-cursor for melatonin, meaning the brain requires serotonin to make melatonin. Serotonin increases melatonin production, which in turn regulates the sleep-wake cycle.
Cortisol: Cortisol is a stress hormone that can disrupt sleep when levels are too high. Cortisol levels typically peak in the morning and decrease throughout the day, but high stress levels can lead to an increase in cortisol levels at night, making it difficult to fall asleep.
Growth hormone: Growth hormone is produced by the pituitary gland and is essential for growth and repair of the body's tissues. It is released primarily during deep sleep and can be disrupted by sleep deprivation. As we age, the pituitary gland slowly reduces the amount of human growth hormone it produces, decreasing protein production and stabilization in our tissues known as fascia..
Estrogen and progesterone: These hormones play a role in regulating women's sleep patterns, particularly during the menstrual cycle. Fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone levels can lead to insomnia, particularly during menopause.
It's important to remember that the body is a whole, inter-connected system. So any imbalance between these hormones can lead to a variety of sleep problems, including insomnia, sleep apnea, and restless leg syndrome. For example, low levels of melatonin can lead to insomnia, while high levels of cortisol can lead to disrupted sleep.
Here are some tips for promoting healthy hormone levels and improving sleep:
Maintain a regular sleep schedule: Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day can help regulate the sleep-wake cycle and promote healthy hormone levels.
Practice relaxation techniques: Stress can disrupt hormone levels, so practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and yoga can help reduce stress and promote healthy hormone levels.
Create a sleep-conducive environment: Keep the bedroom cool, dark, and quiet to promote healthy melatonin levels and a restful sleep environment.
Avoid stimulants: Stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol can disrupt hormone levels and lead to disrupted sleep.
- Sleep in a completely dark room- try blackout shades or an eye mask (trust us, you'll thank us later)
- MELT an hour before you go to bed. Try out our new MELT for Sleep Map that was just released as part of our Hormone Balance Collection on MELT on Demand with Maggie Yu.