How Poor Sleep Can Disrupt Your Hormones and What You Can Do About It

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Sleep is one of the body’s most important restorative and regulatory processes. As such, it should not come as a surprise that inadequate sleep and poor sleep quality can lead to major health issues.

This is in part due to the fact that sleep has notable influence on the body’s ability to regulate and produce hormones. Below we will discuss the importance of sleep, how it relates to hormone activity, and ways to support both sleep quality and hormone function.

The Important Role of Sleep

Sleep is a key component of overall wellness. This is because sleep affects several important elements of health including, but not limited to, memory, weight, immunity, mood, cognitive ability, heart function, and physical ability. As such, a lack sleep or low-quality sleep can result in widespread dysfunction throughout the body. Sleep is able to affect such a large collection of functions because it has notable influence over hormones.

Learn more about the importance of quality sleep here.

Sleep Quality and Hormone Function

Hormones are chemical messengers that relay information and facilitate numerous processes throughout the body. A lack of sleep and poor-quality sleep can contribute greatly to hormone imbalances, malfunction, and irregularities. Interestingly, hormones also wield significant control over sleep quality and duration. The mutually influential qualities of sleep and hormone activity means that disruption of either often results in the decline of both.

The relationship between sleep and hormone function is a deep and complex topic. However, we can gain a strong understanding of it by examining the connections and interactions between sleep and specific hormones. Some of the most influential hormones directly affected by sleep quality are the sex hormones, ghrelin and leptin, cortisol, and human growth hormone.

The Sex Hormones

Most are familiar with or have at least heard of the major sex hormones; estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. In addition to regulating important functions such as mood, energy level, and libido, the sex hormones also impact sleep. A lack of sleep can cause sex hormones to act irregular or fall out of balance. Such an occurrence can trigger sleep-disrupting symptoms including hot flashes, night sweats, depression, and anxiety.

Ghrelin and Leptin

Ghrelin and leptin are hormones responsible for regulating appetite. Ghrelin encourages hunger while leptin suppresses it. Studies show that poor sleep quality causes an escalation in ghrelin and reduction of leptin. This can dramatically increase one’s appetite, encourage hunger during the middle of the night, and promote weight gain. Each of these factors contribute to reduced sleep quality.


In response to any sort of physical or mental stress, the hormone cortisol is released to trigger the appropriate bodily reaction. Cortisol is also responsible for maintaining the circadian rhythm wherein the body is energized in the morning and relaxed in the evening. Poor sleep quality and lack of sleep are stressors that can dysregulate the production of cortisol. The irregular release of cortisol, specifically during the evening, can lead to various issues including insomnia, sleep disturbances, and unrefreshing sleep.

Human Growth Hormone

During sleep, human growth hormone (HGH) is released into the bloodstream to stimulate cell healing and production. These processes support metabolic function, physical ability, and tissue building. It is believed that most of the body’s HGH is released during sleep with much of it being employed during the initial stages of deep sleep. Sleep disturbances and low-quality sleep can disrupt sleep cycles thereby interrupting and impeding the release and utilization of HGH.

How to Improve Sleep Quality

To effectively treat sleep disruptions or hormone imbalances, it is important to consider the mutual impact of each. Ideally, treatment of these problems involves improvement and correction of each simultaneously. Below are some ways to encourage better sleep quality and hormone balance.

Limit Stress

Stress is a major contributor to sleep disturbances and hormone imbalance. If you experience chronic stress, take time to identify major sources of stress in your life and do your best to limit or remove them. Additionally, try to make relaxation a priority and practice stress relieving activities like yoga, meditation, reading, or drinking tea.

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Regularly engaging in light to moderate exercise provides significant stress relief, improves hormone balance, and supports better sleep quality. Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day. Activity can be as simple as walking around the neighborhood, riding a bicycle, or stretching.

Practice Good Sleep Hygiene

The environment in which we sleep greatly influences sleep quality. Make your sleeping area as dark and quiet as possible. The temperature should also be maintained at a comfortable coolness. These qualities help the body fall asleep and stay asleep through the night.


Taking sleep-supporting supplementing may provide a boost to sleep quality while also improving hormone activity. Two supplements that may prove to be exceptionally helpful in restoring sleep quality and hormone balance are HoltraCeuticals’ Sleep Tight and Melatonin.

HoltraCeuticals’ Sleep Tight contains collection of sleep-supporting substances that can improve an array of sleep related factors. Natural ingredients found in Sleep Tight like GABA, valerian root, chamomile, and other herbs that encourage relaxation, reduce anxiety and stress, and quell nighttime fidgeting or jitteriness. Improvement of these areas can notably increase sleep quality.

Taking a supplement like HoltraCeuticals’ Melatonin before bed can help move the body into a more relaxed and sleep-ready state while also supporting immune function and sleep quality.

Similar to cortisol, melatonin is a hormone employed to regulate the body’s sleep cycle. Melatonin is released as it gets darker. The elevated values of melatonin tell the body it’s time to start readying itself for sleep.

Regain Wellness by Encouraging Better Sleep and Hormone Balance

Sleep is an essential regulator of numerous bodily functions. Perhaps one of its greatest responsibilities is safeguarding and maintaining healthy hormone activity. Inadequate or low-quality sleep can encourage hormone imbalances that may lead to widespread bodily dysfunction. Worse still, hormone irregularities can create sleep issues or feed into existing sleep problems thereby creating a continuous cycle of decline. To overcome such a situation, try out the sleep-supporting tips mentioned above and speak with your doctor about other improvements you can make to restore sleep quality and hormone balance.

At Holtorf Medical Group, our physicians are trained to provide you with cutting-edge testing and innovative treatments to find the answers you deserve and a treatment plan that is personalized to your specific condition. If you’re experiencing sleep disturbances and believe your hormones are to blame, give us a call at 877-508-1177 to see how we can help you!


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About Holtorf Medical Group

The Holtorf Medical Group specializes in optimizing quality of life and being medical detectives to uncover the underlying cause of symptoms, rather than just prescribing medications to cover-up the symptoms. We are experts in natural, prescription bioidentical hormone replacement and optimization, complex endocrine dysfunction, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and Lyme disease.

We’ve dedicated our practice to providing you the best in evidenced-based, integrative medicine that’s not only safe and effective, but provides measurable results.