Can Hormones Interfere with Sleep?

Getting enough quality sleep can be difficult. Between everyday stressors, increased screen time, and the demands of professional and family life many people struggle to go to sleep at a reasonable hour. Do you regularly get less than eight hours of sleep or experience frequent insomnia? You’re probably all too familiar with the negative effects of missing out on sleep. So, how can hormones interfere with sleep?

Can Hormones Interfere with Sleep?

These effects are far-reaching but most directly damage your natural circadian rhythm and the normal release of hormones. These hormones help to regulate your eating habits, sexual appetites, stress levels, and your circadian rhythm, which is why it is so common for people to get stuck in a harmful routine.

If you find yourself trapped in one of these damaging cycles, you should talk to your sleep specialist in New York City about potential treatments. In the meantime, let’s look at the relationship between specific hormones and sleep.

Cortisol and Melatonin

Cortisol is often referred to as the “stress hormone,” but it has a variety of different functions, including those related to your metabolism and immune response. Melatonin is a hormone that your body produces in response to darkness in order to encourage natural sleeping behavior.

Cortisol works in direct contrast to melatonin. So a person with a healthy sleep schedule will have high cortisol in the morning with decreasing amounts as the day goes on. At the same time, the release of melatonin will begin to increase in the early afternoon as cortisol dips substantially. Together, cortisol and melatonin help your body know when it is time to sleep and when to wake up.

Unfortunately, many things will impede the natural production of these hormones.

  • Higher stress levels
  • Intense mental or physical activity late in the evening
  • Exposure to blue light after the sun has gone down

In particular, your body may not produce enough melatonin to encourage sleep if your cortisol levels are too high. The same if light exposure occurs too close to bedtime. This could actively prevent you from being able to go to sleep despite how tired you may feel.

Insulin, Leptin, and Ghrelin

These three are sometimes known as “hunger hormones.” They help you regulate your appetite by sending signals to let you know when you’re hungry and when you’re full. During the digestion process, they also help to determine how calories are stored. Sadly, their normal release relies heavily on a well-regulated circadian rhythm.

While these imbalances may not disturb sleep, they may result in overeating and extra fat storage. Is your goal to live a healthy lifestyle within a weight range that’s right for you? Then getting enough sleep and drinking enough water prove the first steps.

Growth Hormone

Growth hormone is largely secreted while we sleep. This means cutting sleep short could mean cutting access to growth hormone short. That might not seem like a big deal until you realize that growth hormone is essential for proper muscle development and cellular regeneration. If that wasn’t enough, growth hormone also helps to regulate your metabolism.

Hormones and Sleep Disorders

Although hormones can affect sleep, it usually works the other way around. Not getting adequate, high-quality sleep negatively affects the normal release of hormones. This can result in the formation of a cyclical pattern that undermines your body’s ability to regulate basic functions like your metabolism.

In fact, unexplained fat accumulation that occurs despite eating a reasonably healthy diet and regular exercise could be explained by a potential sleep disorder. To find out whether this may apply to you, talk to your local sleep doctor about common sleep disorder signs and symptoms. If they fit your experience, then you may benefit from a sleep study and specialized treatment. These can help get your sleep schedule back under control.

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