When we sleep, the body heals itself, and the brain wipes clean the slate of memory. It prepares itself for the morrow’s work. The brain and body use hormones for these duties.
The body systems interact with each other, such as blood getting oxygen from the lungs before it’s pumped through the heart. Hormones are the same. For example, the hormone cortisol, which appears when you’re stressed, will affect how you sleep or if you sleep.
To understand why you can’t sleep, it makes sense to go directly to the body’s messenger system. Let’s examine how hormones affect our sleep.
What hormones do in your body?
Our body produces about 50 hormones that circulate throughout the body. Each hormone does a different job. Some affect:
- growth and development
- sexual function and fertility
- mood and emotions
There are almost as many ways hormones affect your sleep.
How stress can affect your sleep?
Stress is a killer. Some things, like the fight or flight impulse we feel with a rush of the hormone adrenalin, are momentary. The body floods with the hormone, and then it’s over.
Other things are long-lasting, such as weeks, months, and sometimes years of a chronic illness, financial troubles like foreclosure, or emotional trauma like divorce. It’s times like these that the hormones cortisol and cortisone are released from the adrenal glands.
We all know how this affects our sleep. Insomniacs seem to have higher levels of these hormones than do good sleepers. Experts think stressors contribute to their lack of sleep.
What does growth hormone do during sleep?
Human growth hormone is released during sleep in everyone from birth to death. It’s released by a growth hormone-releasing hormone during the first stages of sleep. The hormone puts you to sleep. As the body ages, this hormone decreases severely as does the first stage of sleep.
Growth hormone deals with muscles mass, lean muscle, belly fat, fatigue, depression, lack of stamina and strength, and more. Also, in adults growth hormone deficiency is associated with sleep disorders and decreased quality of life. In such cases, the doctor will write a prescription for HGH therapy to bring your hormone levels back to normal. Well-tailored HGH therapy can do much more benefits for adults with growth hormone deficiency than just reverse sleep disturbances and daytime sleepiness.
How brain hormones affect sleep
Hormones released by the brain during sleep regulate many of the body’s systems and responses. For instance, the brain releases an antidiuretic hormone to prevent you from waking in the night for a potty break. You’ve read how growth hormone is released by the brain during sleep. Others are:
- Melatonin. Released in the brain as the day morphs into night, it sends a message of sleep.
- Prolactin. Released during sleep, this hormone regulates the immune system, metabolism, plus over 300 other bodily operations
- Oxytocin. Released during sleep, it could involve the content of dreams, it regulates social behaviors and childbirth
- Estrogen, progesterone, and thyroid hormones. When you don’t sleep well or at all, cortisol is released into the body due to the stress. This interferes with the body’s hormones in preventing them from working. All this slows down the thyroid and the metabolism.
- Hunger hormones. Poor or no sleep interrupts the operation of insulin, leptin, and ghrelin. These regulate hunger. Disruption of their operation leads to overeating, possible insulin shortage, and fat buildup around the middle. Lack of sleep or no sleep affects blood sugar levels, so watch your eating late at night.
How hormones released in the body affect your sleep
Every hormone your body makes does an important job of starting or stopping certain biological functions. When imbalanced, they can wreak havoc on your moods, affect sexual drive, weight management and more. Three major hormones that affect your sleep are:
- Estrogen. This hormone isn’t just about menstruation. It helps the body process the feel-good hormone serotonin. It helps process bone formation as well as aiding the skin. One of the most important factors in sleep is magnesium which estrogen helps to process
- Progesterone. This goes hand in hand with estrogen and not only as of the female sex hormone. It helps to metabolize allopregnanolone or a calmative substance. A decrease in progesterone, such as occurs with menstruation or menopause, affects sleep
- Testosterone. The hormone isn’t exclusive to men. Women have a little less than men, but the hormone affects sleep whether you’re male or female. It combines with estrogen to affect social behaviors, bone mass, and the optimal health of the reproductive system. In men, a testosterone decrease affects muscle mass as well as sleep. Replacement therapy is available to aging men whose levels are decreasing.
Other daytime hormones released by the body are described above. Cortisol is the main stress hormone released during the day, which messes with all the other hormones and affects sleep.
In order to get refreshing sleep, our hormones need to be under strict control. See your doctor for any therapies or tips for getting a good night’s sleep.
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