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The Essential Connection: Sleep, Hormones, and Women’s Health: A Comprehensive Guide and Expert Advice

 

If you are a woman who struggles with sleep and has given up, DON’T. Getting a good night’s rest has dramatic impacts on your hormones and well-being. Burning the midnight oil, drinking wine before bed to “wind down,” skipping meals or eating a large meal before bedtime, stress, and more are all deleterious to a woman’s health. And if you are a woman who is struggling to lose weight and you aren’t getting enough quality sleep, fixing that is step number one!

Sleep and women’s hormones are intricately connected. Hormonal changes that occur during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause can have a significant impact on a woman’s sleep patterns and quality of sleep.

  1. Menstrual Cycle: During the menstrual cycle, hormone levels fluctuate, particularly estrogen and progesterone. These hormonal changes can affect sleep by causing symptoms such as insomnia, restless sleep, or increased sleepiness. Some women may experience difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep in the days leading up to their period.
  2. Pregnancy: Hormonal shifts during pregnancy, particularly increased levels of progesterone, can influence sleep patterns. In the first trimester, many women experience fatigue and may need more sleep. However, as pregnancy progresses, discomfort, frequent urination, and hormonal changes can lead to disrupted sleep, increased awakenings during the night, or difficulty finding a comfortable sleeping position.
  3. Menopause: Menopause is characterized by a decline in estrogen and progesterone levels. These hormonal changes can disrupt sleep by causing hot flashes, night sweats, and increased instances of insomnia. Many women going through menopause report experiencing sleep disturbances, such as difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up too early.

It’s important for women to prioritize good sleep hygiene and self-care practices to support their overall sleep health. Here are some tips:

  1. Stick to a regular sleep schedule: Try to go to bed and wake up at consistent times, even on weekends.
  2. Create a sleep-friendly environment: Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, cool, and comfortable for optimal sleep.
  3. Practice relaxation techniques: Engage in activities such as meditation, deep breathing, or gentle stretching before bed to promote relaxation.
  4. Manage stress: Find healthy ways to manage stress, as high levels of stress can negatively impact sleep. Consider activities like exercise, journaling, or talking to a therapist.
  5. Limit stimulants: Reduce or avoid consuming caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol, especially close to bedtime, as they can interfere with sleep.
  6. Regular exercise: Engage in regular physical activity, but try to complete workouts several hours before bedtime as exercising too close to bedtime can be stimulating.
  7. Seek medical advice: If sleep disturbances persist or significantly impact daily functioning, consult a healthcare professional for further evaluation and guidance.

Understanding the relationship between hormones and sleep can help women navigate the changes that occur during different stages of life and make informed decisions to improve their sleep quality.

For my recommendations for supplements to support sleep, check out the protocol I created in FullScript here and get 30% off your order.

If you are struggling with your hormones and sleep, I can help! I am a nurse practitioner with a Doctorate in Nursing Practice in WA state. I use an Integrative Medicine approach to women’s health and hormone optimization from pre-, peri-, to post-menopause.

“When women take care of their health, they become their own best friend.” – Maya Angelou 

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