One of the most common symptoms of hormone imbalance is trouble sleeping, and stress is probably the number one culprit because it sets off a chain reaction starting with increased cortisol to insulin resistance and adrenal fatigue, which then affects our sleep. We’ve talked about the two hormones that are related to sleep and weight gain in a previous issue, so today I’d like to focus on the steps you can take to improve sleep.
Making sure your sleeping conditions promote a good night’s sleep is the first step. This includes having a quiet room because if you’re woken up by sound it will disrupt your sleep cycle and make it difficult to fall back to sleep. If you live in a noisy city, consider earplugs or a sound machine. Set your thermostat to an appropriate temperature, not too hot or too cold. Keep your room as dark as possible since any light will disturb the production of melatonin, your sleep hormone. Lastly, make sure your room is comfortable and inviting.
One of the most important things about getting a good night’s sleep is making sure your blood sugar level stays stable throughout the night. If your blood sugar level drops during the night, your body interprets that as stress and releases cortisol, which wakes you up and then you have trouble falling back to sleep. Avoid eating refined sugars or drinking caffeine, especially close to bedtime. Despite popular belief that alcohol helps you fall asleep, it actually creates a drop in blood sugar during the middle of the night.
Set yourself up right by doing something relaxing before bed like reading a book, meditating or taking a warm bath. If you get up frequently in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, monitor how much you’re drinking in the evening. If it isn’t that much, speak to your physician because it could be a bladder issue or diabetes.
Finally, if you’ve followed all of the steps and you’re still having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, there are a few supplements out there you can take – 5-HTP, GABA, Inositol, Magnesium glycinate or Melatonin. I suggest checking with your physician to see if any of these are a good fit for you.