Snooze Series: How Blood Sugar & Hormones Affect Sleep
Wellnicity Team - Nov 9, 2018
It should be as simple as you're tired, and then you sleep. The reality is sleep disorders are a sneaky epidemic, and for many people, getting from point A to point B isn't as simple as laying their head on their pillow.
It's recommended that the average adult get between 7-9 hours per night, but it's estimated that every 1 in 3 Americans are getting less than the recommended amount of sleep, putting them at risk for chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and stroke. If you are having consistent nights with 4-6 hours of sleep or less, your glymphatic system (think of it likethe brain's waste disposal system) cannot detox properly. The result may include increased headaches and risk for neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer's and/or Parkinson's.
Insomnia can present with symptoms such as trouble falling asleep, waking up during the night and being unable to fall back asleep, and sleepiness upon waking. Thankfully, after finding a harmony between balanced blood sugar, and a harmony between key neurotransmitters (serotonin and GABA, we're looking at you!), you'll be well on your way to a restful night's sleep.
Blood Sugar Imbalances
Do you notice yourself waking up almost nightly at a specific time, such as 3:00 a.m. or 4:00 p.m.? When blood sugar drops too low during sleep, both stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline can be triggered, causing you to wake up. Low blood sugar during the night can be caused from eating large meals or meals that are too high in carbohydrates and/or sugar before bedtime, or from extreme blood sugar spikes and drops throughout the day. This same response can also be triggered from high cortisol levels due to emotional stress.
One of the best ways to keep blood sugar balanced throughout the day is by focusing on your diet. By choosing good quality protein, healthy fats and fiber-rich foods at all meals and snacks, in combination with eating every 3-4 hours, you can help lower your chances of waking up in the middle of the night. If you've changed your diet and are still having issues getting and staying asleep, consider a Wellnicity HbA1c at-home test kit to test your blood sugar levels and get them back on track.
Hormone changes are another big cause of sleep disturbance. For women, menstruation, pregnancy and perimenopause (the transition into menopause) can all greatly impactyour REM cycles. For men, low testosterone can impact sleep, as well as unbalanced levels of progesterone, estrogen, cortisol, melatonin, DHEA, thyroid imbalances and testosterone.
The best way to tell if hormones are causing your night time woes, hormone testing like a stress test, testosterone test or metabolism test are great places to start.
If you're still having problems with your nightly eight hours of shut-eye, Wellnicity offers free clinical guidance that can help you narrow down what's really preventing your beauty sleep. Chat with a clinician today!