Women are known for carrying the day’s stressful moments to bed with them. For some it can be almost impossible to avoid becoming overly stressed, due to all their responsibilities.
Thoughts of the day’s unfinished tasks and meeting tomorrow’s expectations and deadlines all run around in their mind as they turn out the light. An inability to ‘switch-off’ makes sleep so elusive.
Adding to this already huge strain, a woman’s biological clock kicks in too. As a woman ages, her ovaries begin to produce lesser amounts of estrogen. This reduction in estrogen levels among women in their 40s affects their ability to get a good night’s sleep.
The Hormone – Sleep Connection
Prolactin, melatonin, cortisol and thyroid stimulating hormones are being regulated by the body’s circadian rhythm or the sleep-wake cycle.
The hormone levels present in the body varies within a 24-hour period. These ratios play their part in regulating cycles of alertness and restfulness. Data gathered from scientific studies suggest that the body’s hormones, temperature and other physiological rhythms largely influence a woman’s sleep pattern.
Compounding this, a lack of sleep and non-adherence to regular sleep-wake cycles can have adverse effects on a woman’s hormone production, creating a circular problem that further disrupts easy asleep.
The Crucial Role of Estrogen
The estrogen hormone strongly influences the nervous system. Estradiol, which is a type of estrogen, plays a role in triggering the release of dopamine and serotonin, which are both referred to as the ‘feel-good’ hormones. Estradiol is the most abundant estrogen hormone circulating in a woman’s body during her menstruating years.
Not having enough estradiol can mean sleepless nights for any woman. As a woman reaches her 40s, the premenopausal and menopausal years generally brings about a decline in estrogen production. This is a part of why many women in their 40s begin to complain of suffering with insomnia.
Conditions that May Lead to Reduced Estrogen Levels
Some women are just naturally predisposed to having lower estrogen levels at the age of 40. Others may have lower estrogen levels for medical reasons. Those who undergo a hysterectomy for example, are more likely to suffer from the symptoms of low estrogen levels. If you are one of these women, please be aware that there is always help available, by choosing the right foods, and if necessary, by supplementation.
Natural Ways to Boost Estrogen Production
There are foods, herbs and spices that can help increase your estrogen levels. Ground flaxseeds are excellent sources of phytoestrogens and can be sprinkled on your cereals and oatmeal, or added to smoothies and yogurt.
Another way to boost your estrogen levels is to consume plenty of vitamin C-rich foods, such as citrus fruits, kiwi, cantaloupes and a wide variety of leafy green vegetables.
There are also herbs and spices that provide nutrients that will help trigger the production of estrogen. These herbs and spices can be taken either in dried or fresh form. Some of these include, parsley, red clover, anise seed, turmeric, licorice and thyme.
If you are a woman in her prime, you can take steps in getting a good night’s sleep, and it is paramount that you do. Sleep is one of the most important things you can do for both your physical and mental health and well-being. Recent studies claim sleep is even more important than diet or exercise for overall health.
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