Feeling tired? Not getting quality sleep can impact your lifestyle and overall health. According to the CDC, adults need at least 7 hours of sleep per night for the best health and wellbeing. However, at least 30% of adults report sleeping less than 7 hours per 24-hour period.
Harvard Health explains, “Sleep serves to “restore” what is lost in the body while we are awake. Sleep provides an opportunity for the body to repair and rejuvenate itself. This is further supported by findings that many of the major restorative functions in the body like muscle growth, tissue repair, protein synthesis, and growth hormone release occur mostly, or in some cases only, during sleep.”
Because sleep plays such a vital role in restoration, getting quality sleep is one of the top ways to prevent disease.
Poor Sleep Increases Risk for Disease
If one in three adults has poor sleep, then one in three adults also has an increased risk for…
- Heart attack
- Coronary heart disease
- Kidney Disease
It’s not just the hours that matter. Sleep efficiency or “quality sleep” refers to the amount of time you spend asleep in bed as opposed to lying awake. According to Sleep.org, “Quality sleep means that you typically fall asleep in 30 minutes or less, sleep soundly through the night with no more than one awakening, and drift back to sleep within 20 minutes if you do wake up.”
Quality Sleep Improves Health
In order to feel your best, focus on both sleep quantity AND quality. Efficient sleep provides the following health benefits:
- Strengthen Immune System: Sleep can help support immune cells and proteins in fighting bacteria and releasing toxins.
- Prevent Weight Gain: Sleep can reduce production of ghrelin, a hormone that boosts appetite.
- Increase Productivity: Sleep is linked to improved concentration and higher cognitive function.
- Improve Memory: Sleep gives your brain time to process and consolidate memories from your day.
4 Hormone Hacks to Improve Sleep Quality
1. Enjoy Daylight to Balance Serotonin Levels
Serotonin is a calming hormone that regulates circadian rhythms and digestive cycles. The brain relies on environmental stimuli such as daylight to regulate those processes. The brain releases serotonin to help us feel more focused and grounded. The pineal gland in the brain converts serotonin into melatonin which is the sleep hormone.
A 2008 Research Study reported that “The melatonin precursor, serotonin, is affected by exposure to daylight. Normally produced during the day, serotonin is only converted to melatonin in darkness. Moderately high serotonin levels result in more positive moods and a calm yet focused mental outlook.”
The key to balancing serotonin levels is to expose yourself to natural daylight regularly. “The light we get from being outside on a summer day can be a thousand times brighter than we’re ever likely to experience indoors,” says melatonin researcher Russel J. Reiter of the University of Texas Health Science Center. “For this reason, it’s important that people who work indoors get outside periodically, and that we all try to sleep in total darkness. This can have a major impact on melatonin rhythms and can result in improvements in mood, energy, and sleep quality.”
2. Avoid Blue Light to Balance Melatonin Levels
Watching TV, playing video games and using a mobile device can make it significantly more difficult to fall — and stay — asleep. Electronic devices emit blue light which suppresses the hormone melatonin. Because serotonin is highly affected light, try to avoid exposure to synthetic blue and fluorescent lights before bedtime. Turn off overhead lights or use warm, low light bulbs. Avoid looking at your phone, computer, or TV at least one hour before bed. If you have to look at a screen, turn down the brightness and wear blue light glasses. The darker you make your environment, the easier it will be to fall asleep.
If you absolutely need to use electronic devices close to bedtime, consider wearing blue light-blocking eyeglasses or a screen filter. You can also download apps such as f.lux to block blue light on your laptop or computer.
3. Reduce Stress to Balance Cortisol Levels
Cortisol is the stress hormone that influences our fight or flight response. When the body experiences anxiety, cortisol causes the heart rate and adrenaline levels to increase. Cortisol is produced by a complex network known as the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis. The brain, bloodstream, kidneys and adrenal glands all play important roles in regulating cortisol levels. Like serotonin and melatonin, cortisol production also depends on circadian rhythms.
If you’re constantly stressed out and in fight-or-flight mode, your body will keep increasing cortisol and reducing serotonin. High levels of cortisol can lead to insomnia and sleep apnea. A 2005 Study from The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism explored how the HPA axis affects the sleep disorders. “In insomnia, we discuss how HPA axis hyperactivity may be partially causal to the clinical syndrome. In obstructive sleep apnea, we discuss how HPA axis hyperactivity may be a consequence of the disorder and contribute to secondary pathology such as insulin resistance, hypertension, depression, and insomnia. Mechanisms by which cortisol can affect slow wave sleep are discussed, as is the role the HPA axis plays in secondary effects of primary sleep disorders.”
To reduce cortisol levels, take a break and slow down. Try to find a quiet room where you can breathe deeply for a few moments. Try any of the following mindfulness tools to reduce anxiety.
- Try the Box Breathing Technique
- Write down your thoughts in a journal
- Express yourself with creativity
4. Try Natural Sleep Supplements to Balance Sleep Hormones
If you’ve tried all of the above and are still not experiencing quality sleep, try testing out a natural sleep aid supplement. Choose a supplement with all-natural ingredients to avoid side effects. Supplements with magnesium, 5-HTP, melatonin and GABA can help calm your nervous system, support relaxation and balance hormone levels.
If you’re not getting enough sleep, your body doesn’t have time to detox both physically and mentally. Support your healthy sleep habits with natural melatonin. Melatonin helps regulate circadian rhythms and your body’s natural sleep cycle.
5-HTP can support relaxation and help you feel more rested. The brain uses 5-HTP to produce serotonin, a calming hormone. Serotonin regulates sleep, appetite and temperature, sexual behavior, and pain sensation. 5-HTP can balance serotonin levels by helping you feel more calm, focused and grounded.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is an active ingredient in cannabis derived from the hemp plant. It can help treat conditions like pain, insomnia, and anxiety by increasing serotonin levels.
Natural Bio Health offers a variety of all-natural sleep supplements to support you in calming your body and mind.
Contact Natural Bio Health Today
Our team is dedicated to helping you understand the numerous factors that may be preventing optimal health. Learn more about taking control of your health. Join the wellness journey to achieve optimal health, fight disease and boost immune health to combat viruses. Visit naturalbiohealth.com.
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