Did you know that your hormones can affect the quality of your sleep? If you have symptoms that relate to poor sleep, then you may want to consider easy techniques to improve sleep. But when those options do not work, it is typically the endocrine system that is not in balance which can contribute to sleeping difficulties. This means that hormones are playing a role in sleep quality and since sleep quality affects hormone output as well, it can be a vicious cycle!
Here are 5 ways to help balance hormones to improve sleep
- Reduce stress in your life and practice stress management techniques. Stress can come in many forms, such as unhealthy food choices, daily obligations, planning events, meeting deadlines, and more. Our bodies handle stress by producing cortisol. Cortisol is produced in our adrenal glands and the precursor to making it is progesterone. That means we use up our progesterone under stressful circumstances to make cortisol. Balancing stress reduces this and creates more hormone balance.
- Consume healthy fats We need fat to make our hormones because the synthesis of hormones in our adrenal glands starts with cholesterol, which comes from fat. Ideas of healthy fats include avocado, seeds (flax, pumpkin, hemp, chia, etc.), nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans, macadamia, etc.), oils made from avocado, macadamia, coconut, and olive.
- Improve melatonin production at night by reducing bright light exposure, especially from electronics. Late evening and early morning exposure changes melatonin secretion, thereby affecting the circadian rhythm. Melatonin production is stimulated by darkness and peaks at night to improve the quality of our sleep. Its production is reduced by exposure to bright lights. Diming lights, using blue light blockers or electronics that emit blue light will help. Avoiding electronics 2 hours before bedtime and before 5:00 am will help with this as well.
- Get some fresh air and move in the morning hours. Movement (or exercise) creates circulation and modulates hormone output by reducing excess levels of estrogen and testosterone. Movement also encourages cortisol output. Since we want our cortisol high in the morning and low at night, morning movement can help to rebalance the system when we are stressed and not sleeping well. Doing exercise in the evening hours, however, can encourage endocrine dysfunction.
- Avoid exogenous estrogens (estrogens from the environment). We are exposed to these types of estrogens on a daily basis. Exposure to these types of estrogens can affect hormone balance and eventually interrupt hormone production and function, eventually affecting sleep quality. Take control and avoid them when you can by choosing to use glass instead of plastic and purchasing organic to avoid herbicides and pesticides. More ways to reduce these and other chemical exposures can be found here.
Feel free to contact me for a complimentary 15 minute phone consultation if you are interested in if you have questions about my services and the labs that I offer to help determine underlying causes for sleeping difficulties and hormone imbalance.