Updated: Jun 30
A good night’s sleep plays such an important role in managing our happiness, energy levels, and overall well-being. Getting enough sleep can truly determine whether your day will be “productive and a breeze” or “I have to drag myself to work” kind of day… we’ve all been there.
Sleep and hormone regulation go hand in hand. Without quality sleep, our bodies are unable to regulate hormones properly which leads to fatigue, weight gain, increased hunger, and anxiety.
At the same time, certain hormones interfere with sleep. It’s a double-sided arrow.
So where do we start? Let’s jump right in and discuss hormones.
Hormones that interfere with sleep
There are four main hormones that play an important role in sleep:
cortisol, estrogen, progesterone, and melatonin.
Cortisol levels are supposed to be at their highest in the morning and gradually drop throughout the day until bedtime, this is when they are at their lowest. This allows your body to ease into relaxation and promotes quality sleep.
When having trouble sleeping, it can be because cortisol is high and low at the wrong times. Often this means levels begin increasing at night instead of in the morning. This can be caused by caffeine and alcohol intake, late-night exercise, anxiety, and stress or can be the result of a hormone imbalance.
Since estrogen helps to promote sleep, low estrogen makes it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. You might also experience hormonal symptoms like night sweats that wake you up. There are many causes of low estrogen, some include stress, poor diet, and over-exercising. Learn more about low estrogen in my previous blog here.
Progesterone and cortisol go hand in hand. Often, when progesterone is low cortisol is high. Progesterone aids relaxation and promotes quality sleep. Managing cortisol levels is the best way to also manage progesterone.
This is the most popular hormone when discussing sleep, and for good reason. When balanced, melatonin allows our body temperature to decrease and our eyelids to feel heavy. This creates the perfect feeling of relaxation which helps us fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up rested.
Melatonin is produced naturally by our body when in balance. It has a close relationship with our body’s circadian rhythm. This is our 24-hour internal clock which signals when we rise with the sun and sleep when it sets. This can be disrupted during daylight savings time or when we travel in different time zones. During these times, melatonin is out of balance which affects sleep. Often, people will supplement with melatonin to help. But this is just a temporary solution for a hormone imbalance issue.
Lifestyle Tips to Support a More Restful Sleep
Reduce caffeine and alcohol intake. Avoid caffeine after 1 pm.
Follow a consistent sleep schedule. Wake up and go to sleep at the same time every day.
Get morning sunshine to help boost your energy and support your circadian rhythm.
Create a bedtime routine: Avoid technology at least 1 hr before bed, take a warm bath with Epsom salts, meditate, read, drink warm sleepy tea etc.
Supplements to Help with Sleep
Magnesium has a calming effect on the body. This essential mineral is needed for many functions in the body and many of us aren't enough. When choosing a magnesium supplement to help with sleep I suggest going with glycinate, You can learn more about the various types of magnesium supplements here,
Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb most often used to support adrenal health. It helps calm anxiety and improves memory and sleep and it helps to stabilize mood and manage stress.
This herb helps to calm anxiety and promote sleep. You will often find it in nighttime tea blends or you can try lemon balm tea on its own.
Another herb that helps to calm the nervous system and promote sleep.
L-theanine is an amino acid that helps to promote sleep, ease stress and has a calming effect on the body.
Passionflower is a herb that is known to help you fall asleep and promote calm. You can enjoy it as tea. This is one that I love and recommend often to clients who struggle with sleep.
With regular use, reishi mushrooms can help with sleep by promoting calm and supporting your body's stress response.
A good night’s rest plays such a crucial role in our lives. Give these tips a try to help balance your hormones and have a more restful sleep.