Sleep is so important that each year conferences are devoted to the subject. Sleep is something we all need to help ensure blood sugar regulation, mood stabilization, and hormonal health. And today there are millions who don’t get enough of this important repair time for our bodies.
How many of us have skipped sleep thinking it was frivolous or that we knew more than our body. Most of us are guilty of giving up the sleep we so badly need. Work, stress, and poor sleep hygiene lead to late nights and early mornings without much rest in between.
That means boosting pro-aging cortisol, suppressing anti-aging melatonin, and a world of regret.
Sleep hormone imbalance
Sleep disorders inhibit daily function and have detrimental effects on health and longevity, including increased risk of hypertension, diabetes, obesity, depression, and heart disease.
If you have chronic fatigue and are having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, you may want to talk to your doctor about possible sleep dysfunction.
Today we are going to offer you some ways to improve your sleep and get your rest and energy hit so you can get some good cellular repair.
What hormones affect sleep
Even short-term sleep restriction can lead to extreme health deficits, including:
blood sugar dysregulation
Blood sugar regulation is the secret to hormonal balance, and for many people, poor glucose control is the gateway to chronic disease.
If you’re getting too little sleep, it can affect your blood sugar level and cause your insulin to spike. Blood sugar problems can cause elevations in hormones that affect sleep.
Did you wake up early in the morning? That may mean you need some carbs with dinner or a formula to calm your adrenal glands before bed to help normalize your hormones and get a full night’s sleep.
Problems with your weight? That lack of sleep is making you eat more.
Leptin is a hormone that, among other things, helps regulate how much you eat and how much fat you store by sending a signal to your brain that you’re full. Leptin also has other functions related to fertility, brain function, and immunity.
It is also a hormone that regulates sleep. Less sleep associated with reduced leptin and elevated ghrelin, can result in increased fat storage and increased hormonal imbalance.
Increased circulating cortisol and activation of your sympathetic nervous system
This is your body’s fight or flight response, which leads to increased heart rate, higher blood pressure, excessive weight gain, and hormonal dysfunction.
Increased systemic inflammation
A growing body of research shows that low-grade chronic inflammation is at the heart of nearly every chronic disease, from rheumatoid arthritis to diabetes to depression.
Elevated risks of heart disease
Poor sleep quality is associated with coronary heart disease, which may have something to do with increased activity of the sympathetic nervous system.
Less sleep has also been associated with higher mortality from other conditions such as cancer and stroke. Other related factors, such as stress and smoking, cause low levels of natural production of the hormone melatonin.
7 natural ways to improve sleep
Support your lifestyle with these simple, natural ways to improve your sleep:
Optimize sleep hygiene
Sleeping in a cool, quiet room that is completely dark is essential for a good night’s sleep. Put all screens away at least two hours before bed and dim the lights in your house.
Support blood sugar
Regular balanced meals with lots of protein and healthy fats will help balance your blood sugar. Ditch the sugar, soda, and excess processed carbs for high-quality animal proteins and legumes (if your gut can handle them).
Mindfulness and meditation improve sleep quality, and a growing body of evidence shows that mindfulness is a preferred intervention for chronic insomnia.
Regular and acute sessions of exercise have positive effects on the quality and quantity of sleep.
Supplements that help sleep
The following supplements can be of great support when going to sleep.
Magnesium is a calming mineral that you can use at night to help nourish your nervous system and adrenal glands to help relieve anxiety, fear, nervousness, restlessness, and irritability. About 200 mg of magnesium at bedtime may be enough.
Passionflower is a known sedative and helps treat mild anxiety. It is good if you feel tense, restless or irritable at night. Take 1 or 2 droppers filled with passionflower glycerite 30 minutes before bed.
In summary about the hormones that are affecting your sleep
Meeting with a doctor qualified in naturopathy or functional medicine, engaging in talk therapy, nutrition or life coaching, and even taking a good friend out to lunch can help ease anxiety around sleep disorders.
Working with a qualified healthcare professional to help balance your blood sugar, hormones, and treating any underlying conditions can get your body back to a place where it can relax.
Joining a yoga group or hiring a personal trainer can help with responsibility and relieve stress, which tends to exacerbate insomnia and other sleep disorders.
If you have difficulty sleeping more than 7 hours a night, examine your sleep hygiene and hormones. They go hand in hand and one cannot be tackled without the other.