Hormones are a group of chemical messengers in the body produced by glands of the endocrine system. They travel via the bloodstream to different tissues and organs in the body. Hormones tell the tissues and organs what to do. Some functions regulated by hormones include body temperature, sleep-wake cycle, appetite, blood pressure, heart rate, sex function, and reproduction. Other roles of hormones are metabolism, growth, and development. Hormones are essential for your well-being and health.
Sometimes, hormones can be out of balance. It may imply that you have an excess or too little of a given hormone. Any slight variation in the hormone levels has severe effects on the body. Some hormonal fluctuations result from the normal aging process, while others occur when the endocrine glands get the wrong recipe.
Hormonal imbalance may cause weak bones, infertility, loss or gain of weight, and diabetes. Everyone will experience the natural fluctuation in hormones at a given point in life. However, there are various medical conditions known to influence the activity of endocrine glands. Studies indicate that environmental factors and certain lifestyle habits have a role in hormone imbalance. The causes include:
- Poor nutrition
- Hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia
- Extreme stress
- Radiation and chemotherapy
- Congenital adrenal hyperplasia
Exposure to pollutants, chemicals, and toxins may disrupt the functions of the endocrine glands. Other causes of hormonal imbalance are hereditary pancreatitis, iodine deficiency, and abuse of anabolic steroids.
Importance of Healthy and Quality Rest
Most people underestimate the importance of sleep. The following are reasons why quality sleep is crucial.
Boosts Immune System
When you fail to get quality sleep, your immune system will be affected. A compromised immune system will make an individual prone to various infections. Inadequate sleep may also delay the recovery process. It has also been shown to be associated with chronic conditions such as cardiovascular diseases and obesity.
During sleep, one may think that the body is shutting down. However, your body is transitioning into a deep state of healing. The heart rate and blood pressure will significantly drop as the conscious mind takes a break while the subconscious mind takes over the healing process.
Apart from the sleep’s healing property, it is also the time to rest after spending several hours on various tasks during the day. Most people are too busy at their workstations to forget to give their bodies and brains a chance to reset. Most meditation enthusiasts recommend several breaks during the day, at least 5-15 minutes. The rest is associated with numerous benefits.
Quality sleep helps in proper decision making, paying attention, and remaining active. Studies reveal that inadequate sleep is associated with risk-taking behaviors, suicide thoughts, and depression. Poor quality sleep causes a spike in hormones that impulsive and angry behaviors, mood swings, and lack of self-motivation.
There is a temporal relation between the secretion of human growth hormone and sleep. In adults, a reproducible pulse of HGH is observed immediately after the onset of sleep. The production of growth hormone during sleep is dependent on the growth hormone-releasing hormone. The circadian rhythm and rest play critical roles in regulating the production of various hormones. Some of the hormones released during sleep include:
- Ghrelin and leptin, which control appetite
- Cortisol is released in response to stress
- Growth hormone regulates metabolism, muscle, and bone development
- Melatonin which promotes sleep
The hormone levels fluctuate during the various sleep stages, and the quality of sleep will also affect hormone production during the day.
Important Hormones in Adult Life
Upon release into the bloodstream, hormones travel to the target tissues or organs, which have receptors that react to the hormone. Some of the critical hormones in adults produced by the endocrine system include:
- Insulin and glucagon which control the blood glucose levels
- The parathyroid hormone which controls the calcium level in plasma and bone
- Testosterone and estrogen are responsible for male sex characteristics and female sex characteristics, respectively
- Adrenaline which controls metabolism, heart rate, and blood pressure
Other vital hormones in adults are aldosterone, progesterone, prolactin, thyroid, and luteinizing hormone.
Deficiency of Human Growth Hormone
The deficiency will occur when the pituitary gland no longer produces enough HGH. It is more common in children than adults, and it may be congenital or caused by tumors. Radiation therapy, infections, and head injuries may also cause the deficiency, and these causes are termed as acquired. However, most cases of growth hormone deficiency are idiopathic.
Treating Low Levels of HGH
The treatment entails receiving regular injections of synthetic human growth hormone or alternative supplements such like HGH releasers. The treatment period lasts several years in children, although results will be evident within the first four months after the onset of injections. It is advisable to initiate the treatment early enough so that the child gets the chance of attaining a standard or near-normal adult height. Unfortunately, not all children respond well to the treatment.
Children with mutations that make the cells unresponsive to the growth hormone may be injected with the synthetic IGF-1. The injection is the most suitable for individuals who are very short and have low IGF-1 levels. The deficiency of growth hormone may make a child feel self-conscious or insecure.
How to Improve Rest
The following tips may be crucial in attaining quality sleep:
- Maintain a sleep routine
- Avoid caffeine in the evening
- Optimize your bedroom
- Consume foods rich in melatonin ad other sleep-promoting substances
The endocrine system consists of several glands that help regulate numerous body functions through the production of hormones. Promptly reach out to your physician if you suspect a deficiency in a given hormone.
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