Can't Sleep? It Could Be Your Hormones

Having trouble drifting off to dreamland lately? If that's the case, you're in good company. As we age, our bodies experience numerous hormonal changes that can significantly impact how well we sleep. These hormones, those powerful chemical messengers, hold significant sway over our body's internal clock, influencing both the quality and duration of our slumber. So, let's take a deep dive into the fascinating world of hormones and their intricate dance with our sleep. From the ebb and flow of oestrogen and progesterone to the notorious sleep interrupter—menopause—let's unravel the mysteries behind these hormonal shifts and discover natural strategies to help you reclaim those wonderfully refreshing nights of sleep.

Melatonin, the "sleep hormone," serves a pivotal role in regulating our sleep-wake cycle. Produced by the pineal gland, it cues our body that it's time to unwind and prepare for sleep as darkness falls. Melatonin levels rise in the evening, promoting drowsiness, and wane as daylight increases, aiding wakefulness.

Enter cortisol, often dubbed the "stress hormone." Its levels usually follow a daily rhythm called the circadian rhythm, peaking in the morning to keep us alert and awake. However, when stress disrupts this rhythm, elevated cortisol levels at night might hinder falling asleep or cause fragmented sleep.

In the realm of women's sleep patterns, oestrogen and progesterone play vital roles. Fluctuations in these hormone levels during the menstrual cycle and menopause can impact sleep quality. Lower oestrogen levels might cause sleep disturbances, while changes in progesterone levels can influence sleep depth and relaxation.

Understanding the intricate dance of these hormones within our bodies and finding ways to keep them balanced is key to improving our sleep patterns. So, let's explore what we can do to support our hormones and embrace better sleep naturally.

Boosting Melatonin:

While our bodies naturally produce melatonin in response to diminishing light levels, our modern lifestyle can sometimes throw a spanner in the works. To help boost melatonin, try sticking to a consistent sleep schedule and dimming lights or reducing screen time (those smartphones and computers emitting blue light) an hour or two before bedtime. And for an extra nudge, consider sipping on tart cherry juice, a natural melatonin source, which some studies suggest might enhance sleep duration and quality.

Calming Cortisol:

Those soaring cortisol levels can wreak havoc on our sleep and overall well-being. It's crucial to take daily steps to naturally reduce cortisol levels. Engage in regular exercise like walking, yoga, or moderate-intensity workouts, all proven to reduce stress and promote relaxation. Incorporating stress-reducing practices such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or using relaxing herbs like lemon balm, chamomile, passionflower, and lavender can effectively lower cortisol levels and ease stress. Consider using Calm Balm in your daily routine or giving yourself a soothing bedtime massage with Sleep Balm to absorb these relaxing herbs while you rest.

Balancing Oestrogen and Progesterone:

As we age our oestrogen and progesterone levels naturally decrease, however many modern lifestyles can lead to an excess of oestrogen and deficiency of progesterone which  can increase the severity of sleep issues. Fortunately there is a lot we can do naturally improve our hormone balance with some lifestyle adjustments. 

Eating a whole-food diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats can significantly support hormonal balance, especially in women. How? Whole foods are often packed with dietary fibre that aids in oestrogen metabolism and elimination, supporting a healthy balance. Plus, these foods offer healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish, nuts, and seeds, which are essential for hormone production and regulation. Fruits and veggies teem with phytonutrients and antioxidants that aid liver detoxification, helping eliminate excess oestrogen from the body. By steering clear of synthetic additives found in processed foods, choosing whole, unprocessed foods can also reduce exposure to hormone-disrupting substances. Eating a whole food diet will also help support a healthy weight, and reduce excessive oestrogen produced by fat cells.

Incorporating regular exercise can help to decrease excess circulating oestrogen levels, improving symptoms of PMS, menopause and other oestrogen-dominant conditions.

While a whole-food diet and exercise plays a significant role, there are also incredible herbs like Wild Yam and Chaste Berry which can support healthy progesterone levels and hormone balance. We recommend you explore herbal remedy options with a herbal medicine practitioner to find the right herbs for you.

Many individuals have discovered that by embracing these steps to support and balance their hormones, their sleep quality has improved remarkably. So, why not give it a try? Your journey to balanced hormones and better sleep could right now.

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Disclaimer: The information provided above is intended for general guidance and educational purposes only. Individual experiences with sleep patterns and melatonin production can vary significantly. If you experience persistent sleep disturbances, insomnia, or have underlying health conditions impacting your sleep, it is advisable to consult with a qualified healthcare professional or a sleep specialist. They can offer personalised advice, diagnose potential sleep disorders, and recommend appropriate treatments or interventions tailored to your specific needs. This information should not substitute professional medical advice or treatment. Always seek the guidance of a healthcare provider for any concerns or questions regarding your sleep health.