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September 28, 2023 3 min read

Hybernate sat down with Jacqueline Alwill, accredited nutritionist and women’s health professional to talk about the impact of sleep on hormonal health.


Sleep plays a critical role in women’s hormonal (endocrine) health and can influence hormone balance. Whilst the word “balance” is a tricky word when it comes to women’s health, (our hormones move in a see-saw throughout the course of the day and month!) it is the best way to describe how you feel when your hormones are working for you and helping you to feel your best. 

Jacqueline runs a community called Day One Fertility where they help clients focus a lot on sleep hygiene and sleep habits they can set up to achieve better quality sleep and more of it.

Sleep truly is one of the lowest hanging fruits when it comes to health and hormones, you just have to get better at grabbing it! 
Sleep affects a woman’s hormonal health in a number of ways. Whilst this list is not exhaustive it does give an insight into just a few ways that sleep impacts our hormones, including:
  • Menstrual cycle regularity, fertility and reproductive health. Women require a minimum 7-9 hours sleep, consistently, to maintain a healthy menstrual cycle. Your menstrual cycle is considered a vital sign of health, like blood pressure, heart rate, temperature etc. Chronic sleep disturbances and irregular patterns of sleep can disrupt natural hormonal rhythms leading to cycle irregularities, missed periods and potentially affecting reproductive health and fertility. 
  • Stress: Inadequate sleep can increase the stress response and elevate the stress hormone, cortisol. High cortisol can disrupt the balance of fertility hormones, oestrogen and progesterone, which are important not only for menstrual cycle function but play a role in how you feel physically and emotionally on a day to day basis. Poor sleep, high stress plus imbalanced hormones is the perfect storm for leaving you feeling flat and ultimately a person far different from that when your hormones are singing. 
  • Metabolism and healthy weight maintenance: Unfortunately lack of sleep and cravings for high energy foods often go hand in hand and can often contribute to weight gain, especially if this is a consistent pattern in your life. Insulin is our master hormone for regulating blood sugar, and insulin resistance can occur with weight gain and excess body fat, predisposing to conditions such as Type 2 diabetes and PCOS. 


To achieve better sleep, more of it and to support your hormones now and into your future focus on:

  • Establishing a consistent sleep schedule with bed and wake at the same time each day.
  • Creating a healthy, sleep conducive environment such as a dark, slightly cool and (when in your control) quiet room. 
  • Limiting caffeine to 2 coffees per day (maximum) and finished by 10-11am to ensure your body has metabolised the caffeine prior to bed.
  • Limiting alcohol intake as this can disturb sleep, with a minimum 4 days per week without any alcohol at all.
  • Managing stress with breathing exercises, meditation, or throw your legs up the wall and lie with your back flat to the floor, in your Hybernate PJ set of course, to create a grounding and settling practice in the evening.
  • Keeping vigorous activity and exercise to a morning schedule and gentle exercise to the evening. 
  • Getting to bed before you doze off on the couch, make the most of your melatonin and get where you need to be if you recognise this is a pattern for you.
  • Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night, make it a top priority for your health.
    You can find Jacqueline at @dayonefertility and @brownpapernutrition.