Optimising Sleep for PCOS

One of the foundations of self-care is having good quality sleep and enough of it. Not having enough sleep can result in feeling fatigued and having mind fog throughout the day but for people with PCOS, a focus on sleep is even more necessary.

Firstly, sleep disturbances are more common in people with PCOS (such as sleep apnea, insomnia and restless leg syndrome) which may be because having PCOS leads to lower quality sleep and/or lower quality sleep exacerbates symptoms of PCOS.

Low-quality sleep can interfere with blood sugar regulation – something that we aim to stabilise for people with PCOS especially because of the predisposition to insulin resistance.

Poor sleep also interferes with appetite-regulating hormones like leptin and ghrelin – ever had a rubbish night sleep and felt like you wanted to eat everything in sight?! Yep, me too. Having a poor nights sleep can increase cravings for carbohydrates which over time can impact insulin and blood sugar levels in the body.

Lack of sleep can also impact cortisol (one of our stress hormone) levels which we know can increase testosterone levels which in turn causes hyperandrogenism which can lead to symptoms like acne and increased hair growth. Increased testosterone can also impact fertility and increase cyst production.

Okay so now I’ve convinced you that sleep is SO important, especially for people with PCOS… how can we get a better night sleep?

1. Remove blue light – I know, I know it is more fun to scroll through TikTok and Instagram before you go to sleep but since I’ve been leaving my phone in the office overnight and reading before bed my sleep has improved SO much.

2. Keep an eye on your caffeine intake – this doesn’t mean cutting out coffee and tea completely (thank god!) but it does mean being curious and seeing how caffeine affects you and maybe slowing down on the espressos after 2pm.

3. Taking a hot shower or bath before bed leads to a quick drop in body temperature once you get out which triggers a release in melatonin, helping you sleep soundly.

Right after all that I quite fancy a nap! Let me know if you are going to introduce any of these tips into your routine, I LOVE hearing from you!

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