Good morning all, How are you all doing? Do keep posting. Don´t forget there is a zoom webinar at 12.30 France time/11.30 UK today 🙂
Following on from yesterday´s post, today I link in another aspect that may be affecting sleep.
All hormones secreted while you sleep are governed by your body’s circadian rhythm. For example, cortisol, melatonin, prolactin, ghrelin and the human growth hormone (HGH) are regulated by your circadian rhythm.
The two main hormones that govern your sleep-wake cycle: cortisol and melatonin.
CORTISOL is a stress hormone that is usually secreted just before you wake up in the morning so you feel refreshed and energised for the day ahead. It’s what gets you out of bed in the morning.
Melatonin, on the other hand, is produced as natural light fades, helping you to feel relaxed and sleepy in preparation for bedtime. Melatonin also functions as a potent free radical scavenger and an immune system modulator, highlighting a possible link between a restful night’s sleep and immune system health.
Your liver can influence these hormones in a couple of ways. Firstly, if you’re prone to stress or anxiety, it may mean that your blood levels of cortisol ARE TOO HIGH, thereby increasing your liver’s workload when it comes to deactivating this particular hormone. In cases of chronic stress, your liver may become overwhelmed, meaning that excess cortisol may remain in your system for longer – not ideal for your melatonin levels or your sleep patterns!
Cortisol is a key regulator of our sleep/wake cycle and must be taken into great consideration when dealing with sleep issues. It has been shown to indirectly influence the master clock control as well as the liver. Cortisol is conditioned by your hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and the liver, peaking around two hours subsequent to waking. The anterior pituitary gland in the brain is the same gland that regulates your thyroid and sex hormones.
High cortisol or a complete flat-line in cortisol (from excessive stress, exertion or trauma) can significantly affect your circadian rhythm, cortisol metabolism, blood sugar metabolism and liver detoxification. Cortisol has been shown to influence clock gene Per1 in the liver, potentially influencing the liver’s clock rhythm. Melatonin (your night-time perceived hormone) also has a direct synchronistic rhythm to cortisol – if cortisol is increased, melatonin is often decreased in ratio. If you’re dealing with underlying chronic stress or environmental stressors, this can be a key influence on your sleep/wake cycle.
As you can see, the liver and sleep/wake cycle has many influences.
Is it possible for excess melatonin to remain in your system like cortisol? Yes, but since cortisol is released as part of a stress reaction, higher levels of blood cortisol are more common. However, if you are suffering from a troubled liver, it is possible that your liver may struggle to break down melatonin. This may result in increased bouts of daytime fatigue followed by night-time alertness when your liver finally gets around to deactivating the melatonin still circulating in your system.