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Dr. Erika Schwartz
Dr. Erika Schwartz is a leading national expert in wellness, disease prevention, and bioidentical hormone therapies. Dr. Schwartz has written four best-selling books, testified before Congress, hosted her own PBS special on bioidentical hormones, and is a frequent guest on network TV shows.

Tags: aging and sleep | lack of sleep and aging process | hormones and sleep | hormone production and sleep | Dr. Erika Schwartz

Fight Aging With Sleep

Tuesday, 01 May 2012 01:05 PM EDT

I am sure everyone makes the connection between poor quality of sleep and feeling exhausted the next day. Interrupted and fitful sleep affects mood, concentration, libido, and overall ability to deal with life. And, inadequate sleep critically affects the progression of aging.

As we age, Mother Nature takes our hormones. As the hormones leave, we get old and sleep becomes nightmarish. Remember when you were a teen or in your twenties and early thirties? You just closed your eyes and were out for 14 hours.

What happened in your late thirties, forties, and on? Remember your aging mother or grandmother telling you she never slept? I bet you never believed her. I didn’t believe my mother. She would always doze off in front of the TV and I thought that was proof she slept. It was actually proof she didn’t sleep.


As we lose our hormones, the night changes forever. Nighttime is when our hormones are manufactured and renewed. The process of hormone production is very complex but always follows the same path. It starts in the brain. The pituitary and hypothalamus are the master glands. At night they send messages in the form of hormones (FSH, LH, GnRH, TSH, and many others) to organs like the thyroid, ovaries, testes, adrenals, and pancreas to start making the much-needed hormones that keep us going during the day.

Cortisol, insulin, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone are made during the night hours while the body rests. When we are awake the organs use the hormones, enabling us to think, move, eat, use the bathroom, exercise, wash dishes, talk, work, and attend school. Every activity involves energy expenditure and use of hormones. If we don’t make these hormones at night, we don’t have them during the day, and that affects how we feel and how well we function.

When women enter menopause and sometimes just before they get their periods, during the night, the pituitary keeps sending pulses to stimulate the organs to make hormones. Unfortunately, these pulses are in vain. The organs have shut down (temporarily during younger years, permanently as women age), and all women get are hot flashes and night sweats in response to the constant pulsations.

Women wake up with their hearts pounding and are left wondering if they are having a heart attack. In a pool of sweat, hot to the core, women throw off the covers desperately hoping to go back to sleep before the feelings awaken them for good.

Every two hours or more, women are desperately suffering, lost in the darkness of the aging process, victims of hormonal desertion.

What can women do?

• Take natural hormones. They will stop the pituitary and hypothalamus from sending those uncomfortable pulses. Hormone blood levels will rise and calm things down.
• Take energy-enhancing and hormone-balancing supplements.
• Commit to changing your diet and lifestyle to help improve the hormone balance. (Using alcohol as a sleep aid will make matters worse.)
• Make your bedroom sleep friendly. Keep the room dark, quiet, and cozy, and the temperature moderate. Turn off the TV.
• Take over-the-counter and prescription sleeping aids judiciously and in moderation.

Getting adequate sleep is the most important thing we can do to protect ourselves from aging. Focus on getting sleep time back up to six to seven hours a night with as few interruptions as possible.

© HealthDay

Inadequate sleep critically affects the progression of aging as well as mood, concentration, libido, and overall ability to deal with life.
aging and sleep,lack of sleep and aging process,hormones and sleep,hormone production and sleep,Dr. Erika Schwartz
Tuesday, 01 May 2012 01:05 PM
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