Is your Sleep Destroying your Hormones?Mar 19, 2022
Just one imbalance within your hormones and there is easily a cascade of effects throughout your body. And, since I am a big believer in knowledge giving us the power to make better decisions, I had to learn more about how sleep affects our hormones. We have already learned how sleep affects our gut health and how important it is for our bodies to heal, and now it is time to see how this beautiful thing called sleep plays a role in our hormones.
Sleep Affects Everything
We all know hormones are a part of us, but do we actually know what they do? Hormones are a class of signaling molecules produced by our glands. The endocrine glands, specifically, secrete hormones internally through our bloodstream.
Hormones play a big role in our life. When our hormones are off, everything seems off – for both men and women. So, let’s talk about the main hormone that seems to be a big influencer in all of the other hormones: LEPTIN. Leptin is the master hormone that controls the action and release of all other hormones made in the brain, the adrenals, thyroid gland and in the gut. Leptin also has a high degree of influence on other hormones that play a role in our biological functions like fat-burning, metabolism and weight. It is also the conductor of the energy metabolism process. When we restore our Leptin levels to balance, we heal, rejuvenate and transform our health. It plays a role in our energy levels, hair, skin, eyes, nails, etc…
Poor sleep can play a role in excess amounts of Leptin – which is called Leptin Resistance because Leptin is in all of our fat cells.
Leptin Resistance alters our brain messaging system. This affects our perception of hunger, what we crave, our energy levels – even our perception of how much sleep is enough for our self. If Leptin is unable to enter the brain, our perception of our own needs become distorted. People with leptin resistance think their sleep is adequate, only to exhaust their bodies over time due to on-going sleep shortage.
Sleep is where a lot of the anti-aging process, called Protein Synthesis, takes place. This is closely connected to the concept Autophagy which is the body’s way of recycling all of the proteins we use during the day.
Sleep deprivation blocks the elimination of waste and recycling of our proteins and this increases our levels of inflammation and simultaneously lowers our DHEA hormone levels.
Decreased sleep also blocks the secretion of growth hormones at night, which leads to increased accelerating aging, loss of bone density, decreased lean muscle mass and impaired digestion.
It’s a slippery slope because lowered growth hormones then leads to high nighttime cortisol release. Cortisol is supposed to spike in the morning when we wake up, not during the night time when we are sleeping. If our cortisol levels are constantly high during sleep, it not only affects our ability to get to sleep, and stay asleep, but it also impairs gastric acid production and overall digestion.
This is because cortisol stimulates the release of Ghrelin, another critical hormone.
Ghrelin is an appetite stimulant and increases our drive to eat. It is usually high when we wake up or when the cortisol spike is too high. Elevated cortisol, often caused by stress, makes weight loss nearly impossible. High cortisol during sleep is an issue because when Ghrelin levels increase a lot, this drives up late night sugar cravings while decreasing leptin uptake in the brain by about 50%.
This is why hormones are so important. Just one imbalance and there can be a cascade of effects throughout your body. When you optimize your hormones through sleep, you improve your body’s ability to function as nature intended. Make sleep a priority; try with 7-8 hours each night and watch improvements made to you mind, body and energy levels. Something so easy is worth a try.
Write below and share how sleep has impacted your daily living for the better. Each positive step leads to the next on our journey in life. The small ones count because every small step we take in life leads us to the big goal. Make sleep a step in a healthier direction today!
In love and gratitude,