Insomnia is one of the most common complaints among women. Discover why hormones of sleep play an important role in sleep disorders and how to treat them naturally!
Hormones of Sleep
Hormones are the key to controlling so many functions in your body. They affect your mood, energy levels, appetite, and sleep patterns. Hormones also influence your ability to cope with stress. In this post I’m going to talk about the different types of hormones that regulate sleep and how to use natural remedies for insomnia.
Why do we have insomnia?
Insomnia is defined as difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. It affects approximately 30% of people at some point during their lives. Unfortunately, us women tend to suffer more than men because of hormonal changes associated with menstruation and pregnancy. As if we didn’t have it tough enough already right!?
Which hormones can affect sleep?
Melatonin is a hormone that helps to regulate your sleep patterns. Your bodies natural levels of melatonin rise as the evening comes on and the night gets darker. It doesn’t necessarily make you sleepy but it helps to relax you making it easier to fall asleep when the time comes.
In addition to being a hormone that controls menstruation and pregnancy, oestrogen plays a key role in regulating your sleep patterns. When you ovulate, oestrogen levels rise dramatically, causing increased wakefulness. This is followed by a drop in oestrogen levels after ovulation, leading to decreased alertness.
Progesterone works in a very similar way as Oestrogen when it comes to our sleep. Just before you get your period the progesterone levels in your body drop and this can make it difficult for you to get to sleep before and during your period.
In an article written by Dr. Liji Thomas, MD she explains that our bodies experience “a peak cortisol level early in the morning, immediately after waking, causing alertness in readiness for the activity of the wake cycle.” The release of cortisol is blocked by sleeping at night. If your sleep pattern is disturbed, for example if you work nights, this can trigger your body to release incorrect quantities of cortisol making it harder for you to fall asleep when you need to.
If you are feeling that your hormone imbalance is affecting your sleep then talking to your doctor may help. There are also natural ways to help you drift off.
Treating Insomnia with Herbs
There are several herbs that can help regulate sleep cycles. Chamomile tea has been used as a natural remedy for insomnia since ancient times. It contains chamazulene, a compound that promotes relaxation and helps induce sleep. Valerian root is another herb that can help promote restful sleep. It contains valepotriates, which act as sedatives and relaxants.
If you like the idea of trying sleep teas as an option have a look at this post I have written called How to fall asleep faster : Incredible sleep teas where I think you’ll find some great suggestions. I use sleep teas most nights and I find they work very well.
Natural Ways to Relieve Stress
Stress can also be a reason why you are struggling to sleep at night. If you suffer from stress, there are some simple things you can do to help you unwind. Try taking a warm bath before bedtime. This will help reduce anxiety and tension. You can also try using essential oils such as lavender oil, eucalyptus, peppermint, rosemary, and lemon balm. These oils contain compounds called terpenes, which have relaxing properties.
For more tips on stress relief have a look at this post I’ve written 35 Positive Affirmations for Stress and Anxiety Relief
Hormones of sleep – Final Thoughts
Your body is a wonderful piece of kit and is very complicated. Hormones of sleep are an integral part of our amazing human system and when they are all doing what they are supposed to things feel great. But the human body is programmed to regulate itself due to changes for example during menstrual cycles, sleep patterns and even the aging process. When this happens hormones will fluctuate making it harder for you to sleep.
Contacting your doctor is a sensible thing to do if you have any medical questions or concerns but there are also natural ways you can help your body to function properly such as herbs and stress release techniques.
Try different methods to see what works for you and hopefully you’ll be back to your old self in no time at all.