Sleep Your Way to More Balanced Hormones
If you’ve ever wondered if your sleeping habits are connected to the high levels of stress, anxiety and hormonal concerns you’re dealing with, you’re onto something. Our circadian rhythms, which are intricately linked to our sleep cycle, controls much more than just sleep. It also affects our mood, weight, energy levels, thyroid and adrenal health, fertility, and so on. Let’s look at some of the ways sleep can impact our hormones.
Sleep Restriction Leads to Insulin Resistance
Sleep has an incredible effect on insulin, which isn’t just important for preventing diabetes, but is an essential part of having balanced hormones and a healthy metabolism. Studies have found that just one week of inadequate sleep can make a person approximately 30% more insulin resistant, meaning their cells don’t respond properly to the same hormonal signals. In a recent study done in healthy men who were sleep restricted (with less than 50% of normal sleep), they found that they became insulin resistant in only two days. A hormone-friendly diet and fasting are two tools we often use to help people gain better control over their insulin.
Reduce Stress & Balance Mood
If you’re trying to lower stress and anxiety and desire calm, stable moods, sleep must be a priority! If you’re not sleeping well, this puts your body into a state of fight-or-flight, making you moody, irritable, anxious and unable to cope with daily stressors as well. The right amount of sleep, between 7-9 hours, and getting to bed before 11pm is critical for improving mental health and lowering stress. Having a sleep routine and practicing good sleep hygiene will help.
Sleep to Improve PMS
If you’re not familiar with estrogen dominance, it’s when we have too much of the hormone estrogen in comparison into progesterone, and it’s the main reason we get PMS. Symptoms like mood swings, anxiety, depression, bloating, cramping and fatigue with our periods are NOT normal. Getting to the root cause of PMS, balancing estrogen, progesterone and testosterone and supporting the gut and liver through diet, supplements and lifestyle — including sleep — are the way out of debilitating PMS symptoms.
Sleep for Thyroid Healing
If you’re trying to heal your thyroid, but you’re not getting consistent sleep, you’re not going to get very far. Good quality sleep is essential for balancing thyroid hormones because of the impact our circadian rhythms have on our hormones. Also, remember that fight-or-flight we talked about? The excess production of cortisol from being in a constant state of fight-or-flight is only going to work against your thyroid, because your body will prioritize making cortisol over converting thyroid hormones. Reducing stress and getting quality sleep are important areas to start with!
Get To Sleep for Better Gut Health
Lastly, sleep largely impacts our digestive health and gut microbiome, which is a key area to address if you’re struggling with your thyroid, adrenal function, inflammation and other hormonal issues. On the other side of the coin, if your gut is imbalanced, you won’t be able to make adequate levels of melatonin needed for sleep, feeding the vicious cycle. The microbes in our gut are strongly impacted by stress, sleep, diet, medications, etc., and working on improving this area of our health can result in significant improvements in our hormones, energy levels, sleep and mood!
Can’t sleep? Let us help! A combination of diet, lifestyle factors and targeted supplementation can make a world of a difference. Email us today at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.
Registered Holistic Nutritionist™
Why We Get Sick by Benjamin Bikman, PhD