Most of us think of sleep as a way to decompress from a long, often hectic day. We can rest our bodies and clear our minds in an effort to be ready to start all over again the following day. This is true in part, as we do need to rest our bodies, but did you know that when you sleep your body is hard at work? In fact, that is when our bodies and mind do the most beneficial work for our wellbeing.
Healthy sleep is as imperative to our existence as air, food and water. Good quality sleep, meaning uninterrupted, refreshing sleep, has such an amazing effect on our bodies and mind. Among the benefits are:
- Helps you live longer
- Enhances Memory
- Improves Intellectual Function
- You will look and feel better
- Feel Happier
- Lowers cravings and helps you maintain good body weight
- Heals wounds
- Boosts immune system
- Detoxes your mind
In addition, good sleep helps prevent disease and other unwanted physical conditions, including Cancer, Alzheimer’s, colds and flu, heart attacks and strokes, Diabetes, depression and anxiety.
How do hormones effect sleep?
Our hormones play a major role in your quality of sleep. At our clinic, we are acutely aware of the vital role our hormones play in maintaining a healthy body and mind, and thus use diagnostic tests to see if your hormone levels are operating at their optimum level. As we age hormone deficiencies impact many areas of overall health, so it is important to have levels checked and maintained regularly.
Estrogen is an important reproductive hormone that effects sleep in both men and women. It is more important for our sleep than you might think. Healthy estrogen levels allow us a good night’s sleep by:
- Increasing REM sleep cycles and deep sleep.
- Decreases sleep intermission and reduces awakenings.
- Increases the length of uninterrupted sleep.
- Regulates the core body temperature. We can sleep when our body temperature lowers, and it increases when it’s to wake up.
- Estrogen affects the stress hormone cortisol and that way indirectly affects sleep.
Progesterone is considered our calming, soothing hormone. It helps us to sleep because it makes a metabolite (or by-product) called allopregnanolone which interacts with GABA receptors in the brain. GABA is a calming neurotransmitter. In perimenopausal or menopausal women progesterone drops, sometimes sharply, because of decreased ovarian function. Replacing progesterone with bioidentical hormones can often help restore sleep.
Melatonin, often called the sleep hormone, is produced by the pineal gland, it is released in a steady cycle, with more produced at night when light entering your eyes start to fade. It is essential to signaling the relaxation and lower body temperature that help with restful sleep. Levels of melatonin are higher at night, alerting the body that it is time to rest.
Magnesium, while not a hormone, is an essential mineral which is key to helping the body run well while both awake and asleep. It is a part of the vital processes that allow your body to produce estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Healthy magnesium levels often lead to deeper, more sound sleep. It plays a role in supporting deep, restorative sleep by maintaining healthy levels of GABA, a neurotransmitter that promotes sleep. In addition, magnesium plays a key role in regulating our stress response system. Magnesium deficiencies are linked to heightened stress and anxiety levels, and well as adverse gut health.
Most of us know when we are not sleeping well, and often discount it as a result of daily stress, demands on our time, or any number of other things that make up our lives. We hope that you will take a moment to address this for yourself or family members as a vital need for a long healthy life. We are here to help with hormone therapy. We will work with you to determine any underlying causes or deficiencies that may be contributing to your sleep problems. We understand how vital healthy sleep is and we will work with you to help you achieve hormonal balance to aid in the restorative sleep you need!