You’ve probably heard it all about hormones – especially if you’re a woman. Hormones are to blame for everything from mood swings to acne. But the truth is, you’ve probably only heard about the bad side of hormones. Once you know that it’s not all bad, it’s easy to understand why hormones are not only important but a healthy part of life.
After all, they literally control just about every part of your life – from how you function at work to how you sleep at night!
How do your hormones work?
Basically, hormones are secreted directly into your blood. There, they act as “chemical messengers” of sorts, going to tissues and organs and telling them to perform specific functions. These functions can include how to breathe, drink, and eat.
Dr. Keith Alderson, an endocrinologist at HFS Clinic explains it best with this: “Our body naturally produces all kinds of chemical substances, which serve different functions as they flow throughout your body. They will only have an effect on certain organs, areas, or cells that are specifically designed to ‘receive’ their message.”
Hormones and gut health
Hormones can help us lose – or gain – weight. This is because we have several hormones in charge of both feeling hungry and full. A multitude of hormones can cause us to crave certain foods, be hungry, feel thirsty, and have that driving desire to grab a shake on the way home.
But when our hormones flake out on the tasty things they’ve been driving us to. They can cause our digestional tract to slow down, leading to gas, constipation, stomach pain, nausea, and even diarrhea.
Hormones and your skin
Now, hormones can be your best friend or your worst enemy when it comes to your skin. As the largest organ of your body, your skin has several hormones that ‘care’ for it. These include growth hormone, cortisol, thyroid, testosterone, and estrogen. The most vital hormone for healthy, beautiful, functional skin is estrogen. It’s linked to high collagen production, the ability for your skin to heal, proper skin hydration, and even skin thickness.
Hormones and your performance at work
There is actually a group of hormones called the ‘success hormones’. These are endorphins, serotonin, oxytocin, and dopamine. You can boost these just by chopping up one big task for the day into several smaller ones. The easier your tasks are to accomplish, the more serotonin and dopamine are released. You can also increase your serotonin levels by thinking about positive memories.
All of these lead to a very happy, healthy mind poised to succeed and do well!
Hormones and sleep
We all know that getting our 8 hours’ worth of beauty sleep is good, but did you know it’s a crucial part of good health? Your brain requires good sleep, uninterrupted so that it can complete the 5 stages of our sleep cycles.
To get a good night’s rest, our bodies produce melatonin. However, our bodies also have hormones that can disrupt our sleep. Studies have shown that people with poor quality of sleep usually have irregular levels of growth hormone, ghrelin, leptin, cortisol, and even insulin! Women have it worse, as when they start to go through menopause, our hormones go out of whack. We end up having long, hot, angry nights more than we don’t.
How to keep your hormones balanced?
The best way to get your hormones in check is to eat healthy, well-balanced meals. Eating a rainbow each meal is a great way to help keep your hormones in check, as well as drinking plenty of distilled or purified water. If you notice that your problems aren’t getting better, you can talk to your doctor or nutritionist to see if there’s something more you can do.
Finding a healthy outlet for stress (or a good eustress activity) like yoga, swimming, and riding bikes can help you both achieve a higher level of good hormones, as well as dispel the bad. We already know that water and exercise keep your system clean, and this is no exception.
You can also boost your sleep for a better balance by giving yourself an hour of wind-down time before bed. Turn off electronics before bed, and dim or turn off the lights.