If there is one thing we know as women, it’s the strength hormones have on how our body functions. Hormones can influence your mood and your appetite, but did you know it can also affect your sleep? A good night’s sleep is crucial to fuel your day, empowering you to be the best version of yourself.
According to Yale Medicine, insomnia is more common in women than men, caused by psychological, social, and physiological reasons. Understanding our hormones is critical to managing and navigating them. So, what are hormones anyway?
Say Hello to Your Hormones
The human body circulates approximately 50 different hormones, mostly produced by the endocrine system. The endocrine system is a series of glands that create and secrete hormones. Each hormone contributes to a different type of function. Below is a list of what hormones are associated with sleep.
Cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, is responsible for controlling blood sugar, regulating metabolism, and reducing inflammation. When cortisol levels are too high, it can increase blood pressure, anxiety, and ultimately your ability to fall asleep.
At first glance, it doesn’t seem like a hormone that regulates blood sugar would have much to do with sleep, but blood sugar is incredibly important to staying asleep. If too many sugars or carbs are consumed before bed the body can excrete too much insulin and, by way of an overreaction, accidentally remove too much blood sugar. This becomes a major issue for the body, and results in cortisol, your stress hormone, to be released.
Hypoglycemia tends to happen when blood glucose levels are abnormally low – too low for the body to function properly. When looking at sleep, Nocturnal hypoglycemia is a low nighttime blood glucose level that can potentially affect your quality of sleep. A common sign of nocturnal hypoglycemia can be an intense dream that wakes you up with a rapidly beating heart. To avoid waking up, it is recommended that you stay away from eating carbs or sugars at least an hour before bed and instead eat protein or healthy fats, which digest slower and don’t cause a blood sugar spike while you are asleep.
Melatonin is a hormone that regulates sleep cycles. Exposure to light stimulates your body to produce stimulating hormones like cortisol and suppresses your melatonin production. This allows you to feel awake during the day. When it gets dark, your body produces melatonin and suppresses cortisol, making you sleepy and ready for bed.
Sex HormonesThere are other hormones associated with sleep: meet estrogen and progesterone, the two major female hormones!
EstrogenEstrogen is the primary female sex hormone. Its principal function is to help control your monthly menstrual cycle. Estrogen is produced in a woman’s eggs, adrenal glands, and fat tissue. There are three types of estrogen that can change throughout each stage of your life: estradiol, which is prevalent in child-bearing women, estriol, which is prevalent during pregnancy, and estrone, which is commonplace after menopause.
ProgesteroneProgesterone helps maintain pregnancy. It is produced in a woman’s eggs, adrenal glands, and placenta. Progesterone is also known as the “relaxing hormone” as it contains slightly sedative effects.
Hormones and SleepThese two primary female hormones, estrogen and progesterone, shift throughout different stages in your life, affecting your sleep in different ways. Let’s explore how your hormones fluctuate and how this is connected to your sleep quality.
The Menstrual Cycle
With the start of your period comes a cycle of fluctuating hormones. Let’s take a walk down memory lane and revisit the basics for health class, but this time with a look at your sleep problems.
The week before your period, your progesterone levels will rise to prepare for a potential pregnancy. When there is no pregnancy, your progesterone levels will drop dramatically, causing your uterine lining to shed. This is, you guessed it, your period
This progesterone dip is why you may find it hard to get a goodnight’s sleep while on your period. What hormone promotes sleep? The answer: progesterone, as it has slightly sedative effects. With lower levels, sleep problems occur. Your progesterone levels will slowly rise after your period, allowing your sleep to shift back to normal.
Hormones During PregnancyWe were all warned about “crazy” hormone levels during pregnancy, but no one said anything about sleep problems. Both progesterone and estrogen levels shift through your body to support the fetus during pregnancy.
Progesterone levels rise exponentially during the first trimester to help the uterus relax and boost your immune system. On top of this, estrogen levels rise. Yale Medicine found that women produce more estrogen in one pregnancy than in an entire lifetime! In the first trimester, women report feeling drowsy due to high estrogen levels, taking more naps than usual. During the third trimester, progesterone and estrogen levels should even out.
MenopauseMenopause is a natural process that is a part of a woman's aging. As women approach menopause, the two major female hormones spiral once again. This causes night sweats and hot flashes, waking you up during the night. Menopause lowers levels of progesterone, making it harder for you to relax.
Take ControlThere is no clear way to control your hormones, but knowing how they work can help you manage their ups and downs. We put together some tips to regulate your sleep cycle, so you can focus more on your day and not on your rough night.
Get ActiveMake sure to exercise during the days following and during your period. This will tire your body, so you’ll knock out when bedtime rolls around.
Try HerbsMany women are turning to herbal remedies for hormonal support, as they are a natural way to treat an imbalance. Here are a couple of our favorite herbs.
Chaste Tree BerryChaste Tree Berry or Vitex, has been recognized for its improvement of menstrual and menstruation-related disorders. People have noticed chaste berry has reduced some symptoms of PMS, especially breast pain or tenderness, edema, constipation, irritability, depressed mood, anger, and headache.
Black CohoshBlack Cohosh is an herb that has recently gained attention for its hormonal effects. Many women have noticed black cohosh can improve menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats, and irritability.
To destress your day and prepare for a restful sleep we suggest trying our Happiness Soft Gels. Happiness is uniquely formulated with hemp-derived CBD plus it contains both chaste tree berry and black cohosh extracts to support women in balancing out their hormones. Pro-Tip: Take this CBD pill daily with breakfast, lunch, or dinner for best results!
Reduce Screen Time Before BedCut off Netflix about an hour before your bedtime. And, yes, your phone counts too! The light from your screen can suppress your melatonin levels and increase your cortisol levels, making it harder for you to catch those Z’s.
DestressThis might sound obvious, but a little self-care before bed goes a long way! Whether it is a cup of tea, meditation, or a massage - these little things make a huge difference.
You can also try relaxing with Winged Sleepy CBD Gummies. These gummies are made with melatonin to help support your sleep cycle. Plus, they contain primrose oil for hormonal support. Sleepy is free of herbal sedatives that may cause drowsiness, making you wake up feeling rested and ready to conquer your day!
Make a RoutineOur bodies love to follow their circadian rhythm. A circadian rhythm is our internal clock that controls how our body functions throughout the day. Your cognition, metabolism, and sleep-wake cycle follow this clock. Therefore maintaining this rhythm is essential for a consistent sleep cycle.
Try to wake up and go to bed at around the same time every day to stay on track with your internal clock. This is easier said than done. This is where sleep apps like Sleep Cycle can come in handy. Sleep Cycle analyzes your sleep and wakes you up at the most ideal time. When you are asleep you go through phases of light and deep sleep. Sleep Cycle gently wakes you up in the lightest phase of your slumber so you can get up without hitting snooze!
Wake Up ReadyThe quality of your sleep can have a strong influence on the quality of your day. Knowing the relationship between a lack of hormones and rest can help navigate how you can fall asleep easier, empowering you to take on your day.
Winged is a CBD product line formulated specifically for women. Our products push women to take control - harnessing the power of cannabinoids to take flight. Lack of sleep shouldn’t get in the way of your big goals. Take charge and sleep easy!