How can sleep be affected by your hormones?
As we know, our hormones can be up, down, and even somewhere in between. It is a piece of widespread knowledge. We also know and understand that these changing levels of hormones affect different vital areas and parts of both our health and happiness. As women, we know we daily feel and live with our hormones that govern our menstrual cycle and critical roles in the reproduction aspect of life – puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. We are aware of all of this. I know that. How much do we know about how these affect other parts of life – such as sleep?
What hormones do?
Before we look further at how hormones can affect sleep, I wish us to take a few moments to learn a little bit more about hormones. Hormones’ role is of a chemical messenger. Their role is to travel around our bodies, exchanging messages with all the different organs and body parts, telling them what and how they need to change and do things differently.
For example, in females, there is a hormone named estrogen. One of its functions is to help grow the lining of the uterus (womb), which sheds as part of the period. It also has a significant role to play in our mood and mental health.
Then there is Progesterone—another one of the female hormones, which works in tandem with the hormone estrogen to coordinate the menstrual cycle (period). As well as this, it plays a crucial role in the health of women’s breasts.
These hormones not only rise and fall following a particular timing and pattern of a menstrual cycle. They also change dramatically in their levels, again in accordance, to a life stage. Below is the simple reason why they impact on our sleep.
Do you feel fatigued before your period?
Research has been carried out about how sleep is affected by the menstrual cycle. These have produced puzzling results. In most of these studies, there was no direct and clear link between the changing hormone levels and the sleep quality or quantity in healthy young women. However, when they spoke to any GP or hormone specialist, they will tell you something very different. They reported many women saying they have much greater fatigue feeling just before or during their period.
Endocrinologist Dr. Sonia Davison explains more. “Certainly, it is true, indeed common for women to experience a much more incredible feeling of tiredness in the days leading up to and during their period. Unfortunately, the research, as yet, has not been able to pinpoint precisely why. “
What we do know is for most women, progesterone levels peak before their period—dropping sharply once their period begins, with Oestrogen levels falling too. Therefore, the thought is that these significant shifts in hormones are possibly playing a part in the impact on sleep and fatigue.
Many women feeling tired, maybe have a linked associated experience of having their periods, such as period pain, migraine, or premenstrual syndrome (PMS). As you would expect, when suffering from pain and or distress around the time of your period would, of course, significantly disrupt any of your relaxation time and sleep. Again, leading to low energy and feelings of fatigue for the next few days.”
It is not only a baby that could keep you up all night
After childbirth, a woman’s sleep dramatically suffers. Of course, a lot can be due to being the primary carer with the responsibilities of feeding and caring for the new-born baby; This is a given. However, as well as this, research has shown us the hormonal changes women go through post-birth are also partly responsible too.
Progesterone is the hormone that helps us have those feelings of sleepiness by encouraging our bodies to rest and relax. After childbirth, progesterone levels fall sharply. The lack of Progesterone can disrupt our ability to nod off effectively at night-time even when we have a baby who has been well fed and is sleeping soundly.
Sleep-deprived midlife and beyond
One of the most common symptoms for women in perimenopause (the early phase of menopause), menopause, or post-menopause is their sleep problems. These include experiencing difficulty falling asleep, as well as waking early or many times through the night.
Many factors are involved here. Hormones being potentially one of them.
Estrogen levels begin falling in a woman as they reach her mid to late 40s. A dramatic reduction in hormone levels occurs around menopause. They are coinciding with the commonly experienced disruption in their sleep.
Besides, other hormone-related issues are also occurring that can impact sleep around the time of menopause. These being night sweats and mental health changes, reporting feels of increased anxiety or depression.
Read more about menopause and sleeping problems for midlife women.
Discover your rise and fall in your sleep rhythm
Of course, as we know, every woman is an individual. All our hormones rise and fall in line with our pattern or stage in our life. Many of us are now experiencing a lot on our responsibility plate; it can help us understand ourselves better. By knowing your energy levels are a bit lower at specific points or why your sleep is worse at a particular time can help you better manage your life and mental outlook on both yourself and life.
During days or stages like this in your life, allowing yourself more downtime is essential – ensure you rest and have more relaxation – and most of all, go easy on yourself. Remember, behind the scenes, your hormones and body are doing a lot right now. Therefore, when it comes to sleep and fatigue, it is not surprising it will be better to allow yourself to go with the flow than make yourself swim against the tide at this point.
I can also help you address your hormone imbalance with my personalized hormone sleep program. The program is designed with and for women who are currently experiencing issues with their hormones, as I described above. Where it is just one symptom or multiple, I can help you get your sleep back on track and your hormones level once again.
Take my test to find out now if I can help you.
Alternatively, I also offer you a 15 min introductory call where I can chat with you about your sleep and advise if my program will help you or not.