By Amy Medling, founder of PCOS Diva
When we feel stressed, the stress hormones that are released are only meant to be at elevated levels for a short period of time (remember the flight or fight response.) When we are in a constant state of being stressed out, these long periods of time in which these hormones are at high levels can lead to our PCOS symptoms getting out of control. You may have heard that your body repairs itself when you sleep. Well, sleep also helps relieve elevated stress hormones. It allows the body’s stress hormone levels a chance to return to normal after stress is experienced.
So what is the “right” amount of sleep in order to combat stress? It is recommended that adults need 7-8 hours of sleep per day; 6 hours or less triples your risk of a car accident. Actually, too much sleep, more than 9 hours, can actually be harmful for your health. Recent studies show that those who sleep more than 9 hours per day don’t live as long as their 8-hour-sleep counterparts!
Collette Harris and Theresa Cheung mention in their book, The Ultimate PCOS Handbook that, “Sleep is even more essential for women with PCOS, because research findings show that not only does sleep deprivation disrupt hormonal balance, it interferes with your blood sugar levels and increases the risk of insulin resistance and diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, hypertension and heart disease, and may even be linked to breast cancer.”
The discouraging news is that research also indicates that women with PCOS may be prone to sleep problems due to hormonal fluctuations caused by the condition. I can confirm this is true, as I have suffered from insomnia. Next time I’ll share some things that have worked for me so I can get my 7-8 hours of ZZZ’s.
Amy Medling is a certified health coach, who specializes in working with women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS, who are frustrated and have lost all hope when the only solution their doctors offer is to lose weight, take a pill and live with their symptoms. In response, Amy founded PCOS Diva and developed a proven protocol of supplements, diet and lifestyle programs that offer women tools to help gain control of their PCOS and regain their fertility, femininity, health and happiness.