Skip to main content

I am curious to know if people are sleeping well or having issues?

We have both males and females on the programme, but mostly females, so this is more appropriate to that sex although the serotonin part is relevant to all.


Many females often experience worsening sleep patterns when progesterone levels fall either just before getting a period or when they approach menopause and levels fall fast.


The sex hormone progesterone not only triggers ovulation but also promotes sleep.

It does this by stimulating your brain to produce a neurotransmitter (a chemical that has an effect on your brain) called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). The more progesterone you have, the more GABA you’ll produce.

GABA is an amino acid that helps your brain cells communicate with each other. One of the main roles of GABA is to lower brain activity, which helps reduce stress, balance your mood, and promote sleep. Basically, GABA helps you to switch off and relax.  The botanicals I have mentioned help support GABA

Many women find their sleep is more disturbed in the days leading up to their period, as well as during their period. This could be down to progesterone levels rising and falling at different points in the monthly cycle, altering your GABA production.

Progesterone also plays a role in the regulation of glial cells in the brain and myelin production in the central and peripheral nervous systems!


The neurotransmitter called serotonin is an important contributor to sleep and mood.  We produce serotonin from an amino acid called tryptophan, but it also needs oestrogen, vitamin D and other co-factors to activate it, hence again we can experience sleep and mood changes when oestrogen levels fluctuate.  Melatonin is produced from the same pathway as serotonin

How does melatonin promote sleep?

Melatonin has existed for over 3 billion years and is found in all plant and animal species. Melatonin is produced at night, when UV light levels drop. The light sensitive eye cells signal brain cells to produce melatonin to prepare the body for sleep. Exposure to blue light decreases melatonin production. The sun, phone and TV screens, and LED bulbs are sources of blue light. It is recommended to limit screen time before bed and have dim lights in the bedroom to promote good sleep. Melatonin production decreases as you grow older which may contribute to insomnia in older adults.

Adequate amount of serotonin is also vital to make melatonin. The pineal gland, where melatonin is made, is located in the brain. Its primary role in mammals is to regulate the sleep/wake cycle.

The pineal gland takes the hormone serotonin and uses enzymes to turn it into N-Acetylserotonin. Those enzymes are stimulated by darkness. The conversion cannot take place if your eyes are exposed to light.

If it continues to stay dark, N-Acetylserotonin is converted into melatonin, which helps induce sleep. The more serotonin you have, the more melatonin your brain can make as long as conditions are right.

The takeaway here is that if you have enough serotonin in your brain, you can use dark lighting to turn it into melatonin, which will help you sleep.

Dietary wise:

Serotonin is a hormone made from the amino acid called tryptophan and vitamins B12, folate, and BH4 (tetrahydrobiopterin, which is made using folate and vitamin B12).

You can get some of these vitamins easily through your diet. For example, folate is abundant in black-eyed peas, spinach, and all green leafy veggies, and B12 is commonly found in various types of seafood, nutritional yeast, spirulina. Tryptophan, an amino acid, is found in foods that are high in protein. If you are a vegan or vegetarian, you may benefit from boosting your intake of protein-rich foods to ensure adequate tryptophan intake.

Vitamin B6 has been shown to help improve progesterone levels. Also increasing intake of nutrients that support progesterone production, such as: magnesium (dark, leafy greens, legumes, and nuts); zinc (fish, poultry, pumpkin seeds and oysters); vitamin C (citrus fruits, and fresh broccoli)

Leave a Reply