Many people suffer from sleep disorders with in particular difficulty falling asleep and frequent awakenings during the night. We know that quality sleep is beneficial for both mental and physical health. One aspect that is often overlooked is the importance of certain hormones in regulating falling asleep and sleep cycles.
Here is the list of the 3 hormones involved in sleep with tips to influence the hormonal level.
It’s probably the most well-known hormone when we think of sleep. It is sometimes called the “sleep hormone” or the “darkness hormone”. Indeed, at the end of the day the pineal gland (epiphysis) which is located in the brain begins to produce more of this hormone which is stimulated by the absence or the drop in luminosity. A drop in melatonin levels can thus cause insomnia problems.
Where to find this hormone? How to get more melatonin?
It can be found in many plants such as rice, walnuts and hazelnuts as well as in red wine. The body can also draw melatonin from tomatoes, corn and potatoes, but the melatonin content of these plants remains significantly lower than that of the former.
Since it is tryptophan transforming into serotonin which is the source of melatonin, the consumption of foods rich in tryptophans such as parsley, pumpkin seeds, cheese, cod, parmesan, milk and soy, can promote the production of melatonin by the body.
The same is true for foods containing serotonin such as bananas, milk, plums, rice, nuts, corn and oatmeal. Finally, and in order to preserve the level of natural melatonin, it is advised to expose yourself as little as possible to excessive light at night or just before sleeping (including mobile phones) at the risk of lowering or even eliminating the concentration of melatonin.
This hormone plays a fundamental role in the level of stress during the day. A high level of cortisone increases the level of alertness and mechanically reduces the desire to sleep. It is an exciting hormone. To summarize and simplify cortisone has an opposite effect to melatonin. It is known that in people suffering from insomnia, the level of cortisol is high even during the night.
How to lower cortisone levels?
– Physical exercise significantly increases the production of cortisol, which is why intense physical exercise should be avoided after 5:00 p.m., especially if you want to fall asleep around 11:00 p.m. The practice of physical exercise is highly recommended to feel tired in the evening, but it is important to carry out intense efforts rather in the morning or before the end of the afternoon.
Another tip is to drink black tea which lowers cortisol levels in the blood. Be careful however, black tea contains caffeine and you should avoid consuming it after 6:00 p.m. in the evening. Since black tea contains less caffeine than coffee, you can consume it a little later in the day than coffee. Speaking of coffee, studies have shown that caffeine increases cortisol levels as well as adrenaline. . Two exciting and stressful hormones. We understand better why caffeine is the real enemy of quality sleep.
Adenosine is defined more as a neurotransmitter than a hormone. It plays like melatonin and cortisol also a key role in sleep. Adenosine is a substance released during brain activity that functions as a tranquilizer, allowing in particular to fall asleep. Caffeine is known to block adenosine receptors, one reason why caffeine (eg coffee) is considered a stimulant. Other neurotransmitters are involved in the regulation of sleep such as GABA or acetylcholine.
How to increase the level of adenosine?
The objective is above all to avoid blocking the adenosine receptors, which inevitably generates less of a calming effect. Thus, it will be necessary to avoid drinking substances rich in caffeine and in particular coffee after 3:00 p.m. to promote good sleep in the evening.
Some experts believe that people with severe sleep disorders should avoid consuming caffeinated beverages or products throughout the day and not just after 3:00 p.m.