Effective stress management techniques are the key to improving your quality of sleep. “Stress management tools that only get you to calm and peaceful are not good enough… only positive emotions like happiness and gratitude get the adrenal glands to stop putting out cortisol,” says Dr. Warner. One study shows that meditation not only helps regulate cortisol, but also melatonin, which is another hormone that affects sleep patterns. Disruptions brought on by a melatonin imbalance most often occur when you travel to a different time zone or experience temporary feelings of stress, according to Dr. Warner. In those cases, you can take a melatonin supplement to correct the problem. For example, if you’re about to head across the country for a three-day stay, you should start taking melatonin the week before you leave and not stop using it until a week after you arrive back. “It smooths out the change so you’ll end up sleeping better long-term. And then you may not need to take it anymore.”
No matter what the issue, a comprehensive approach is key. “When people are trying to fix everything, a lot of them try to do it in bits and pieces, like they only work on the estrogen or the cortisol,” says Dr. Warner. You really have to fix all the hormone levels at the same time because they all talk to each other. If you only work on one and don’t work on the others, you’re never going to get back in balance.
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