Sleep is essential for restoring our brain and nervous system to full functionality each and every night. When sleep is interrupted, it can put us in an irritable mood and throw off our entire day. If problems sleeping persist, it could open the door to larger problems with both your physical and mental well-being.
Sometimes, it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly why we are having problems with our sleep. Typically, many will tell you their insomnia is caused by stress, anxiety, depression, or some other mental illness. While this hypothesis certainly has scientific merit, there are many others that can be sometimes overlooked in diagnosis.
One of the many variables that affect our sleep patterns is our hormones. These chemical messengers are quite powerful, and have many important roles to play throughout your body. Often, the first step to getting to the root of your sleeping trouble is to understand the many hormones that may be impacting you. Read on to learn more about some of your body’s most important hormones, and how they may be related to restlessness.
The hormone cortisol is your body’s primary stress hormone. It is essential in your mind and body’s ability to recognize and defend itself against threats during the activation of your flight-or-fight response.
However, what many don’t realize, is that cortisol acts in direct opposition to melatonin, the body’s main sleep hormone. In an effort to maintain your personal circadian rhythm, cortisol levels rise overnight to peak in the morning, then drop throughout the day until you begin to feel tired.
Sometimes, this cycle can be thrown off due to chronic stress, which causes overly high levels of cortisol release. Therefore, when many say that stress or anxiety is causing their issues with sleep, this corresponds with high cortisol levels.
Various lifestyle changes, such as limiting food and drug intake, exercising, and eating healthier can help reduce stress and may help to compensate for and correct these irregularities.
Thyroid is a vital hormone that is mainly responsible for regulating normal body functions such as growth, metabolism, and development, In addition, it is responsible for many automatic body functions such as your heartbeat, temperature regulation, and how well you burn calories.
Both too much and too little thyroid hormone can have significant implications on how well you sleep. As one study put it: “Hypothyroidism results in poor sleep quality and architecture, whereas hyperthyroidism adversely impacts sleep by reducing sleep efficiency and duration, and increasing sleep latency.”
Proper realignment of thyroid gland requires careful treatment, but it can certainly have a positive effect on many physiological functions, including sleep.
Testosterone, the primary male hormone, is responsible for regulating bone mass, fat distribution, muscle mass, strength, and the production of red blood cells and sperm in men. In women, it works alongside estrogen to regulate reproductive tissue.
In a recent study conducted by Dr. Eve Van Cauter of the University of Chicago, a link between testosterone production and sleep deprivation was noted. “As research progresses, low sleep duration and poor sleep quality are increasingly recognized as endocrine disruptors,” Van Cauter stated.
Some men have even reported improvements in sleep quality following testosterone replacement therapy!
Estrogen and Progesterone
These essential hormones are particularly important in female health and development. In women, they are responsible for regulating the menstrual cycle and developing secondary sexual characteristics such as breasts and endometrium. In males, they are responsible for the maturation of sperm cells and the maintenance of a healthy libido.
Estrogen and progesterone have the potential to impact sleep throughout your life, but especially as it pertains to sexual development. During pregnancy, these hormonal changes support a growing fetus, but can also significantly affect sleep.
The greatest risk of hormone-related sleep disruption, however, typically occurs during perimenopause and menopause. While this alone can affect sleepiness, it can also cause symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats which can also drastically affect your sleep.
At Renewed Vitality, we specialize in estrogen and other hormone replacement therapy. This can help rebalance your hormones, thereby eliminating symptoms of perimenopause and menopause that can compromise sleep.
Over the years, we’ve studied hormonal imbalance in many different forms, and we’ve worked alongside the medical community to develop many different treatments that can keep your body’s vital chemistry in-line.
For more information on Renewed Vitality and what we could do to help, don’t hesitate to contact us today. We look forward to helping you get back on track!