Sleep is Critical for Hormone Balance and PCOS

Sleep is Critical for Hormone Balance and PCOS

Hormone imbalance can cause devastating symptoms like weight gain, hair loss, facial hair growth, acne, depression, anxiety, infertility, hot flashes, low libido, and so much more. In fact, it causes a low-grade inflammation that persists causing a feeling of un-wellness.

But what if there was a magic bullet to fix all this?

Sleep might be that magic bullet. Think about how you feel after you’ve had a good night’s sleep. Amazing, right? Feelings of happiness wash over you, and you might even feel like you can accomplish anything.

Getting enough quality sleep is vital to looking and feeling fantastic every day.

What promotes quality sleep? Here are some guidelines:

  • In bed and asleep before 11pm (by 10pm is optimal)
  • 8-9 hours of sleep during the fall and winter, 7-8 during the late spring and summer
  • No sleep medications – the use of medicine whether prescribed or over the counter will not allow the body all the cycles of sleep so it won’t be restorative – and that includes antihistamines that act as a band aid to make you drowsy
  • Completely dark in your bedroom
  • Anything that’s plugged in is at least 6 feet away from your head
  • Everything turned off/unplugged as much as possible
  • Cell phone on airplane mode
  • Use earplugs if noise bothers you
  • Uninterrupted sleep – no waking up during the night for anything – but if you do easily falling back to sleep
  • Hydration – make sure to drink at least 8 – 8 ounce glasses of water or herbal tea daily
  • Magnesium – minerals are vitally important to a good night’s sleep. Try some magnesium before bed if you are having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Eat a high protein breakfast within an hour of waking to set your circadian rhythm for the nighttime.
  • Make your bedroom a sanctuary that feels like it’s giving you a hug everytime you walk in.
  • Save the bedroom for two things: sleep and sex (i.e. NO TV in the bedroom)

When you get enough quality, un-medicated sleep, inflammation decreases.  The body produces more growth hormone, and stress hormones are metabolized. Sleep can lower blood sugar levels and cravings may go away completely! This is so important if you have PCOS, because having high blood sugar can make your symptoms worse.  In addition, the body heals and restores everywhere.  The brain works like a computer shuffling all the information from the day, discarding some and systematically storing other information.  The immune system regenerates and makes natural killer cells for the next day’s adventures. The pineal gland makes adequate amounts of melatonin protecting the body from disease, regulating reproductive hormones, and setting the body’s circadian rhythm….sleep is so important!  When you have PCOS, getting enough sleep is crucial overcoming your symptoms.  Your body is working to balance itself while sleeping and without the proper rest, symptoms of hormone imbalance only get worse.

Here’s what all of this means….

You’ll feel like you’ve had a good workout because your body burns fat and builds muscle.  It’ll be easier to button your pants in the morning because you’ll be feeling a little more sleek and sexy. Cravings go away and moods lift – say goodbye to depression and anxiety! Hormones become more balanced naturally. The immune system will be much stronger and feelings of stress much lower or non-existent.  You will have crazy amazing energy that may surprise you. And one more thing….wrinkles actually disappear when you’ve had a good night’s sleep.

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After our growth years, sleep truly is beauty rest, inside and out. What’s happening on the inside manifests on the outside.

I was invited to an open house put on by a plastic surgeon I knew. He was sharing some of the aesthetic work he does. One of his patients stood up to show her beautiful face that he had treated with Botox, fillers and who knows what else. She pointed to her face and said, “doesn’t it look like I’ve had a good night’s sleep?”

There are so many wonderful things that happen to improve the symptoms of PCOS and hormone imbalance when we get a good night’s sleep. We actually accumulate sleep debt, so you do need to catch up. And during the winter when the days are shorter, you’ll need 8-9 hours of sleep per night. Think hibernation. Wintertime is when your body heals and restores for the longer days of late spring and summer.

One of my colleagues says that nothing really good ever happens after 9pm anyway. And he’s right. I love all the sleep sayings, like “the early bird gets the worm”, “early to bed early to rise makes a woman healthy, wealthy and wise”. But my favorite is: “Let her sleep, for when she wakes she will move mountains. Wishing you sweet dreams and a restful night’s sleep for tomorrow will be amazing!

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Robin is an Integrative Clinical Nutritionist, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition. She comes to Insulite Health with a passion for helping women live vibrant, passionate lives. Robin had her own struggles with health. As a teenager she suffered from digestive disorders, weight, acne and hypoglycemia. As an adult she continued to struggle with balancing blood sugar, adult acne, mood swings, weight gain, arthritic conditions in her hands and chronic inflammation. Robin understands first hand how symptoms of poor health can keep us from living the life we dreamed of.

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