Hormones and sleep: can melatonin treatment help?

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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

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

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.

By Yraa

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