All people for health and activity during the day need a good sound night’s sleep. However, only some of the adults can boast that they sleep well and get enough sleep, and their night sleep is deep and calm. In recent years, many publications have appeared that hormone-based drugs are used in the treatment of insomnia, which normalize the processes of falling asleep and changing sleep phases. The role of not only melatonin, but also the thyroid gland, certain concentrations of female hormones, as well as hydrocortisone and some other compounds has been revealed.
Hormones and their effect on sleep
Even under normal conditions, without the presence of diseases, various sleep disorders form with age, there is a deterioration in its quality and duration, there are difficulties with falling asleep, which then affects performance during the day, making it difficult to fully devote oneself to work and family. If the work is associated with stress, there are various pathologies and the general condition suffers, sleep can worsen even more. Insomnia is a problem for many middle-aged and older people. Today, various sleep problems can be eliminated through the use of hormones, but in order to understand the effect of drugs, it is important to know what phases of sleep a person has and what happens to sleep in each of them.
Sleep phases: what processes are characteristic of them
In humans, sleep has certain phases, the totality of which makes up sleep cycles that replace each other throughout the night. On average, each of the sleep cycles is replaced during the night from three to five times, and between them there is a specific latent period of several seconds. According to researchers, a sleep cycle lasts an average of about an hour and a half. But what happens in the body and with brain activity from the moment you go to bed and until you wake up during normal sleep?
From the moment a person lies down with their eyes closed, the short beta waves that are generated by the brain during active wakefulness are gradually replaced by alpha waves, typical for muscle relaxation and calming. The first phase of sleep begins, during which a state of torpor sets in and theta waves appear in the brain area — this is the so-called light sleep, drowsiness or half-sleep state, between sleep and wakefulness. Then the transition to the second phase is gradually formed, when the flashes of consciousness are turned off, the heart slows down its rhythm and the pressure and body temperature decrease. In young people, these two phases are short, but as they age, they lengthen. By the age of 40–45, they last up to 40 minutes, and in the elderly they reach 70 minutes.
Then sleep passes into the third and fourth phases — deep sleep, restoring efficiency and strength. In youth, such a dream lasts up to 3.5 hours per night, and in older people it decreases to two hours or less.
There is also a fifth phase — the so-called paradoxical sleep, it is deep, but the brain activity during this period is extremely high, rapid eye movements are visible. During this period, deep sleep, active restoration of physical strength and processing of all the events of the previous day. The longer the duration of this sleepy phase in a person, the better his memory processes. In young people, it lasts up to three hours, while in older people it is reduced by half.
Body hormones are actively involved in the regulation of sleep phases, and often, in violation of certain sleep processes and insomnia, their intake allows you to normalize the quality and quantity of night rest.
Hormonal medications for sleep
In violation of the sleep process and sleep disorders, hormonal drugs are often used. Often, melatonin preparations are used, which refers to derivatives of serotonin, which is formed in the pineal gland and is responsible for the processes of changing human biorhythms in connection with the onset of day and night. With a clear selection of the dosage of this medication, you can normalize sleep while maintaining its natural course and all phases. The action of melatonin is aimed at restoring the natural structure of night rest in case of violations. Taking the medicine facilitates falling asleep, shortens the duration of the first and second phases, and helps to prolong the phases of deep and paradoxical sleep. This allows you to have a more complete and high-quality rest at night. Conventional sleeping pills do not have the same effective effect, and have a lot of side effects, but melatonin in the form of drugs should be prescribed only by a doctor, with real violations.
The influence of female hormones
Scientists have also identified the effect on sleep processes of female hormones — estrogens. Their deficiency leads to a decrease in the number of dreams, a violation of falling asleep. Female hormones lengthen the phase of deep sleep and paradoxical sleep, which allows you to have a better and better rest. And progesterone also has a hypnotic effect, due to which in pregnant women, when its level is physiologically elevated, there is increased drowsiness.
No less than female hormones, male hormones, especially testosterone, also affect the body. It actively affects sleep processes, similar to estrogen, therefore, with an imbalance of hormones in both the male and female bodies in the reproductive period, one of the complaints will be a sleep disorder.
Thyroid, growth hormone and hydrocortisone: their influence
It has been observed that treatment with hormones produced by the thyroid gland can improve the quality of sleep, although they are typically stimulating and activating. If the thyroid gland is inactive, hormone supplementation leads to the elimination of drowsiness and the normalization of the condition. But how does the thyroid gland and its hormones affect other sleep disorders that are not typical of hypothyroidism? This is due to the fact that people suffering from a deficiency of thyroid hormones have long first and second phases of sleep with a deficiency of full-fledged others. The intake of hormones helps to shorten superficial sleep with the prolongation of deep and paradoxical sleep, which allows you to have a better and better rest.
If sleep is long, but it does not restore strength, growth hormone deficiency is suspected. Often, against the background of its insufficiency, the first and second phases are lengthened, but their deep sleep is short and there are few dreams. Thus, a person can sleep for 9–10 or more hours, but he does not get the desired rest after sleep.
But an excess of hydrocortisone, which is often used in the treatment of certain pathologies, can provoke insomnia, as it refers to awakening hormones. The peak of its concentration falls in the morning, when you need to wake up active and alert. Therefore, its appointment with therapeutic purposes should be planned for the morning or lunch, so as not to disturb the patient’s sleep.