How Hormones Affect Sleep?

Sleep Hormones

There are a number of factors that come into play when it comes to getting a good night's sleep, but your body's hormones are some of the most important. While you likely know that hormones affect things like your menstrual cycle, your skin, menopause and your fertility, you may not realize that hormones affect your quality of sleep. Here are some of the main hormones that affect sleep and exactly how they do it.

  1. Things that happen throughout the day, such as having a stressful situation at work or getting in a great run in the afternoon, affect your body's hormone levels, which also reveal themselves when you're drifting off to sleep or tossing and turning.
  2. Adrenaline is one hormone that affects your sleep quality. You likely associate adrenaline with the feeling that you get when you're afraid or ready to tackle a daunting task, but adrenaline also has negative effects if it shows up in large doses when you're attempting to fall asleep. Adrenaline as it relates to sleep quality has a lot to do with stress, which is one of the leading factors in insomnia and sleep deprivation.
  3. People with insomnia and other sleep issues also tend to have higher levels of the adrenocorticotrophic hormone, a hormone that is similar to adrenaline. Athletes also tend to have higher levels of this hormone due to their extremely active lifestyles.
  4. Many hormones are released into the bloodstream even after you fall asleep. Two of those hormones, ghrelin and leptin, balance your appetite and help to alert you when you're hungry. If you don't get enough sleep, you may feel hungrier than usual.
  5. Your body also releases higher levels of the antidiuretic hormone when you sleep, which prevents you from needing to use the bathroom like you do when you're awake.
  6. Most importantly, the hormone melatonin is the one that signals to the brain that it is time to sleep and then allows you to stay asleep for long periods of time. If you've been having a hard time sleeping, taking melatonin supplements may help.