Did you know that sleep plays a vital role in hormone regulation?
Most people are aware that getting a good night's sleep is important for overall health and well-being. However, few people realise just how impactful sleep can be on hormone levels. In this blog post, we'll take a look at some of the hormones that are most affected by sleep and why proper rest is so important for keeping them in balance.
There are four main hormones that are impacted by sleep: cortisol, testosterone, ghrelin, and leptin. Let's take a closer look at each one.
Cortisol is often referred to as the "stress hormone." It's released in response to stressful situations and helps us to respond accordingly. Too much cortisol can lead to anxiety, weight gain, and other health problems. Lack of sleep can cause an increase in cortisol levels, which is why it's so important to get enough rest if you're feeling stressed out.
Testosterone is a hormone that's responsible for muscle growth and sex drive. It declines naturally with age, but lack of sleep can cause a more significant drop. If you're struggling to build muscle or you're feeling less interested in sex than usual, it could be due to low testosterone levels. Getting enough shut-eye is crucial for maintaining healthy testosterone levels.
Ghrelin is known as the "hunger hormone" because it increases appetite. Leptin does the opposite; it tells the body when to stop eating. Ghrelin and leptin work together to regulate hunger and fullness cues. When you're sleep-deprived, your ghrelin levels go up and your leptin levels go down, which can lead to increased cravings and overeating. If you're trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, getting enough sleep is essential.
During our 30s, our bodies are going through a lot of changes. Hormones are fluctuating, we might be starting a family, or beginning to experience the first signs of ageing. It's important to get enough sleep during this time so that our bodies can properly rest and recover.
Getting enough sleep is also important for fertility. Studies have shown that women who don't get enough sleep are more likely to have difficulty conceiving. This is likely due to the fact that lack of sleep can disrupt the hormones responsible for ovulation. So if you're trying to get pregnant, make sure you're getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night.
Here are a few tips to support a delightful, restful sleep:
- Make sleep a priority. Just like you would with any other important appointment, make sure to schedule time for sleep in your day-to-day life. This means setting aside at least 7-8 hours each night for uninterrupted rest. And if you have trouble falling asleep, try to establish a bedtime routine that includes winding down for up to 30 minutes before hitting the hay. Think a hot shower or bath, reading, a candle, deep breathing, a cleansing and moisturising routine. A few minutes of calm go a long way.
- Keep your bedroom dark and cool. Our bodies naturally want to sleep when it's dark outside, so make sure to keep your bedroom as dark as possible when it's time for bed. Additionally, research has shown that cooler temperatures can also help promote better sleep. So if you tend to get hot at night, try turning down the thermostat or opening a window to let some cool air in. Make sure your environment is calm, tidy, soft and cozy. Use breathable sheets to avoid night sweats and make sure your mattress and pillows are comfortable.
- Disconnect from electronics an hour before bedtime. The blue light emitted from screens can actually suppress the production of melatonin, the hormone that makes us sleepy. So if you want to fall asleep more easily, make sure to disconnect from all electronics at least an hour before bedtime. This includes TVs, laptops, phones, and tablets. Instead, try reading a book or taking a relaxing bath to help prepare your body for sleep.
Getting enough quality sleep is essential for our overall health and well-being but it's especially important for women in their 30s. Sometimes, it can be difficult to create a healthy relationship with sleep when there are always other things competing for our attention. With a little planning and prioritising, you can make sure you're getting the rest you need without sacrificing other areas of your life. If you're not getting enough sleep, it could impact your hormones and fertility. So make sure you prioritise getting a good night's rest!