It’s not just melatonin that regulates a person’s sleep. In fact, the hormones of the night also include orexin, triiodothyronine, thyroxine, and the so-called “renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system”. These are the names (which aren’t exactly the easiest to pronounce) of the main sleep hormones. Now, let’s try to understand better what they do.
Melatonin is the most important sleep hormone; it switches places with cortisol – in a way similar to what the protagonists of the 1980s blockbuster-hit film “Ladyhawke” would do – when the light of day starts fading out (with the opposite occurring at the first signs of dawn) and it has the task of regulating a person’s Circadian rhythms, i.e. the alternate between sleep and wake.
Orexin (also known as hypocretin) has an important role because it is a neurotransmitter that monitors both a person’s sleep and their appetite. It allows a person to fall asleep and gives us the boost to wake up in the morning. Scientific discoveries, moreover, suggest that orexin deficiency is the underlying cause of disorders such as narcolepsy, while also suggesting that the level of orexin in our body increases when a person is happy!
Thyroxine and triiodothyronine
Thyroxine and triiodothyronine are hormones that circulate in excess in the bloodstream when a person suffers from hyperthyroidism. Among the various problems that this medical condition causes are (quite often) sleep disorders. These hormones contribute to regulating a person’s metabolism, heartbeat, and body temperature, so it’s easy to understand their role in stimulating the processes that help a person fall asleep.
The renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system
The role played by this system is a bit more complex but similar to that of the other hormones mentioned at its core. This “system” regulates a person’s blood pressure, fluids, and muscle arterial branches. When it doesn’t work properly, as for the instance in the case of kidney failure, a series of cascading effects may occur which may lead to obstructive sleep apnea, with significant complications for the quality of a person’s sleep. Renin, in particular, “takes care” of regulating a person’s blood pressure and if it is not functioning adequately, it can induce a condition of nocturnal hypertension in the organism.
Sleep hormones: what to do to ensure their efficiency
A healthy and a well-balanced diet, less use of your smartphone, and when you go to sleep, well, why not choose a grand cozy mattress and a royal pillow?