Do you have trouble staying asleep?
Maybe you wake up once, maybe multiple times, but always seems to be the same pattern. Chronic sleep problems are very common, affecting approximately one-third of the population. The good news is that there is usually a number of effective strategies that can help to resolve your sleep problems once you know the cause. Four of these causes are hormone related and can be corrected by healing that particular hormone imbalance.
1. Blood Sugar Drop
When there is a drop in blood sugar level, it results in a release of hormones in order to regulate it. This sends a surge of adrenaline and cortisol from the adrenal glands and cause you to wake with a start at around 3am. This problem isn’t as easy to fix as simply eating a snack; it takes stabilizing blood sugar and cortisol levels all day in order to stop the drop at night.
2. Low Estrogen and Progesterone
When a woman is close to menopause, fluctuating hormones can make it challenging for her to stay asleep. Low progesterone levels can make it difficult for some women to relax therefore causing issues with falling asleep and staying asleep. Once Estrogen drops as well, it is not uncommon for women to wake in the early morning hours, completely soaked with sweat. Unfortunately, night sweats such as these are also coupled with adrenaline spikes that make it challenging for her to get back to sleep.
When it comes to our biological clock, it is not just Melatonin that is in control, Cortisol plays an equally important role. When there is a long period of stress, your cortisol clock shifts to wake you up earlier in the morning, long before you are ready to get up. This spike will often happen around 2-3am, ready to start your day and therefore impossible to get back to sleep.
There are several causes of sleep disturbance, but each of these listed above result in increased cortisol levels during the day. Increased cortisol levels during the day results in more waking at night, perpetuating the problem and leading to more severe insomnia. Therefore, healing the adrenals and dealing with cortisol levels during the day is an important part of any treatment plan for insomnia.
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Dr. Lisa Maddalena, ND