Sleeping is one of the most basic processes that the human body needs in order to stay healthy. Sleeping helps form new pathways in your brain, while allowing your mind and body to rest after a long day. Poor sleep can have a significant negative effect on your physical and mental health, but it’s not always easy to achieve good sleep.
There are many factors that can affect the quality of your sleep, including your hormone levels.
What’s the relationship between hormones and insomnia? Can hormonal imbalances cause sleep problems? Read this article to find the answers to these questions and many more.
Can hormones affect sleep?
Yes. In fact, hormones can affect practically every process in your body, and sleep is no exception.
What hormone causes sleepiness?
Melatonin is the main hormone that triggers sleepiness in humans. According to the Mayo Clinic, the release of melatonin is linked to the time of the day and sunlight exposure. Our melatonin production decreases as we get older.
Your body releases melatonin as the day goes by, and higher levels at night promote sleep and help you get ready for bed. Excessive exposure to screens, among other factors, can alter this cycle and impact your sleep.
Hormone imbalances and sleep
There are different hormones that play a role in sleep regulation, and hormone imbalances can lead to insomnia. Le’ts take a look at some of the hormones that can impact the quality of your sleep.
Cortisol is known as the “stress hormone”, so it probably won’t come as a surprise to learn that excessive cortisol can affect your sleep.
Cortisol puts your body in “fight or flight” mode, which makes it harder to fall asleep. According to a study published in the journal Sleep Science, patients with high levels of cortisol are more likely to have insomnia.
Thyroid hormones regulate many processes in your body. According to the Sleep Foundation, hyperthyroidism frequently leads to insomnia and restlessness. This can be caused due to increased nervousness, irritability, night sweats, frequent urination, and muscle weakness.
People with hypothyroidism can also have trouble sleeping due to different symptoms. An underactive thyroid can lead to cold intolerance, a longer sleep onset, shorter sleep duration, and joint and muscle pain that causes discomfort.
According to Yale Medicine, the female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone may protect women from sleep problems. However, this protection decreases after menopause, and many women refer insomnia during menopause. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) could have a beneficial effect on sleep quality.
Testosterone, on the other hand, could impact sleep for men. According to a study published by the Asian Journal of Andrology,low testosterone levels may impact sleep quality. Taking excessive testosterone supplements can also cause sleep disturbances.
Hormones for sleep quality
As we mentioned above, many hormone imbalances can affect the quality of your sleep. If you’re suffering from insomnia, your doctor could order different tests to assess your hormone levels and find the cause of the issue. If you have a hormone imbalance and sleep problems, treating the underlying condition will likely help you sleep better.
According to the Mayo Clinic, taking melatonin to improve your sleep quality is generally safe for short-term use. However, melatonin supplements can interact with other medications or cause mild side effects, such as headaches or drowsiness. You should always consult with a healthcare provider before taking a new supplement, including melatonin.
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Melatonin - mayoclinic.org
Thyroid Issues and Sleep - sleepfoundation.org
Women, Are Your Hormones Keeping You Up at Night? - yalemedicine.org
The relationship between sleep disorders and testosterone in men - ncbi.nlm.nih.gov