Sleep Hormones & CBD: What's The Connection?
What keeps you up at night? Your loud upstairs neighbors certainly don’t help—but maybe your hormones are the real culprit. Regulating your sleep-wake cycle is crucial for keeping hormones balanced and releasing at the correct time. But there’s good news—it may be easier to regulate sleep hormones than you think. As for dealing with the neighbors, we’ll leave that up to you.
What are sleep hormones?
Your body is full of dozens of hormones that work together to help keep you healthy, balanced, and regular. Hormones essentially act as chemical messengers that send signals to different areas of your body to assist in a variety of processes. For example, there are growth hormones that aid in development and growth. Then there are hormones that help break food down into energy, hormones for your moods, and hormones for libido and virility.
Basically, they control the functions of your organs and tissues, regulate blood sugar, and play a role in everything ranging from mood, metabolism, and reproductive health to body temperature, development, and even sleep.
A few of your sleep hormones explained
While there are many hormones, when it comes to rest, there are a few key players. Our sleep is crucial to how hormones are produced, but some of our sleep hormones could affect the quality of the sleep we get. Below are the most common hormones released during sleep and how they might impact sleep quality.¹
Melatonin is the sleep hormone. Your pineal gland releases melatonin at night to foster healthy rest and keep your circadian rhythm regular.² Levels taper off during the day to help stay awake and rise again at night to aid with sleep. A number of sleep-related conditions impact how much melatonin your body can produce, so those who don't get enough sleep frequently will take it as a supplement to get the rest they need. That's a key factor in why melatonin is one of the most commonly used supplements out there.³
Cortisol is the dreaded stress hormone. However, it serves another purpose that helps with your sleep pattern—similarly to melatonin. When you wake up in the morning, cortisol levels spike to help you get up, get moving, and shake off any grogginess as your melatonin levels decrease.⁴ Around bedtime, your melatonin levels rise, and your cortisol level lowers. Essentially, these two work together to optimize your sleep-wake cycle. Unfortunately, cortisol also tends to spike with periods of stress or anxiety, impacting your sleep for the worst. Watching TV or scrolling TikTok may suppress melatonin production, which can increase cortisol levels and make it harder to fall asleep.⁵
ADH is an antidiuretic hormone our brains release while we’re asleep. With a healthy circadian rhythm, you usually do not have to wake up to use the restroom during the night—thanks to this hormone.⁶ However, imbalances in ADH released at bedtime can lead to poor rest, especially if you drink a lot of water before bed and can't sleep through the night. Sleep disruptions throw off your REM cycle, preventing the restorative rest you need even if you get in the recommended hours.
4. Progesterone & Estrogen
Both men and women produce these two hormones, though they are best known for their roles in women's health. Estrogen controls a woman's menstrual cycle, while progesterone helps with maintaining pregnancies. Both of these hormones fluctuate throughout the stages of a woman's life and play a role in sleep quality all the while. Poor sleep could be caused by higher estrogen or progesterone levels in either men or women—but because women produce higher levels of these hormones, they're more likely to experience hormonal insomnia than men.⁷
While most commonly associated with men, women also produce testosterone.⁸ Testosterone is typically thought of as the male reproductive hormone, yet it also plays a role in bone health. It's released during REM sleep to help with tissue repair, but if you're not sleeping well, testosterone levels can drop. Low testosterone leads to snoring and other insomnia symptoms, which create a cycle of hormone imbalances and poor sleep. We dive more into that in the next section.
How sleep affects hormones
Does sleep affect hormones? In short—absolutely.⁹ When you go to sleep at night, your body is able to get to work. It’s the only time it has to recover from the day and prepare for the next. As you sleep, your body works to level out your hormones to remain balanced or homeostatic. You need that rest to make sure you're cranking out healthy amounts of hormones—these level your moods, repair your tissues, and help you to stay healthy.
Sleep loss or poor sleep in general can lead to lower hormone levels, altering how they interact with each other within your body. These hormone imbalances can also lead to effects such as sexual dysfunction, thyroid diseases, and even sleep disorders.
That's not to say that hormone imbalances can cause insomnia, though. While some hormones may contribute to insomnia, most of the time, that's a temporary side effect that works itself out after your hormone levels return to normal and you do get a full night's rest.
While hormones aren't solely to blame for insomnia, they are linked to another sleep disorder—sleep apnea. Research conducted in 2003 found that sleep apnea and sleep-disordered breathing can alter hormone levels, making breathing problems worse at night.¹⁰
Continually not getting enough sleep can affect hormone levels to the point you may experience sleep problems in the future. It can quickly become a vicious cycle where hormone imbalances lead to poor sleep, which causes more hormone imbalances, and so on and so forth. Suffice to say, it’s best to avoid this if possible.
Sometimes sleep issues can go away on their own, but if you're flat out not sleeping consistently or dealing with a lot of daytime sleepiness—along with hormone imbalances—it may be a sleep disorder (which won't go away on its own).¹¹
Can CBD help with sleep hormones?
A lot of scientific research has gone into the potential of CBD to help people with sleep troubles. Why? Well, CBD works with our endocannabinoid system (ECS) to help promote balance within the body. As CBD is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid that won't make you high, it shows potential for working with the endocannabinoid system to promote balance within the body.
Studies have found that the ECS may be an essential system for modulating several functions in the brain and endocrine system, including immune tissues. One study found it might play a significant role in regulating hormone levels and at which levels they are released.¹² This is great news if you're experiencing sleep-related issues from hormone imbalances.
If you're not dealing with hormone imbalances, CBD might also be helpful against some of the effects that lead to insomnia. Insomnia can be caused by everything from uncomfortable beds and loud noises to stress, biological clock disruptions, and physical discomfort.¹³ Quite a few studies have shown that CBD may reduce feelings of stress, curb the intensity of any physical discomfort you are dealing with, and potentially balance out your sleep-wake cycle.¹⁴⁻¹⁶
Overall, CBD demonstrates a balancing effect on the ECS. A level and functional ECS could mean balanced hormone production—which will support appetite and metabolism, mood and memory, and sleep-wake cycles. With the potential link between the ECS and hormones and CBD's balancing effects within the ECS, CBD may prove to be a valuable, natural approach to improving sleep. Whether your restlessness is hormone-related or not, CBD could possibly help soothe feelings of stress or discomfort that prevent you from catching those elusive Z’s you need.
Find what works
While hormone fluctuations are natural throughout day and night, they shouldn't prevent you from getting the rest you deserve. Refreshing your bedtime routine, practicing sleep hygiene, and talking with a sleep specialist or your doctor may help.¹⁷ Evidence has also suggested CBD may be helpful for getting back to the restful, refreshing sleep that your body craves.
If you’re interested in trying CBD and wonder what the best cbd oil dosage for sleep is, check out our guide on the best way to take CBD and start enjoying the many benefits of CBD today. CBD sleep capsules feature a broad spectrum CBD, CBG, and CBN blend that works hard (along with beneficial components like lemon balm and passion flower) to target and reduce restlessness, promote healthy sleeping patterns, and support a full night's rest.
At Lazarus Naturals, we have plenty of specially formulated CBD products that were crafted for exactly that—better rest. Explore our function-forward Sleep Collection and discover natural, full-spectrum offerings like our CBD oil capsules to enjoy the many noteworthy CBD capsule benefits, which may be just what you need for unavoidable circumstances that derail your sleep cycle.¹⁸