Are you missing the beat? How our internal "rhythm" affects hormonal balance and why this is important for fertility
You don’t have to be a great dancer to have happy hormones, but your brain does. Your brain works through signaling pulses - hormones like GnRH (gonadotropin-releasing hormone) in your hypothalamus, FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone), and LH ( leutenizing hormone) from your anterior pituitary gland in your brain, which regulate your menstrual cycle and ovulation, are dependent on these pulses. So if it is not music, what sets the beat in our brain? It is the Circadian Rhythm.
There is a part of your brain that is the central rhythm pacemaker (suprachiasmatic nucleus or SCN) and uses light and dark cues to re-sync these pulses. This internal clock needs to be synchronized by external cues which reset the system daily and thus prevent it from running out of phase.
The predominant external cue of this “central clock” is light! Not supplements or adaptogens (although they help), but full-spectrum morning light as the first thing upon waking. Darkness, on the other hand, resets a dysfunctional or disrupted circadian rhythm via the SCN (our central clock) by increasing melatonin and decreasing cortisol production (your sleep and wake hormones, so to speak). Since our lives are usually quite busy way past our bedtime, we offset this mechanism, yet we can keep it functioning efficiently through some simple actions such as:
- Getting 10 to 15 minutes of sunlight in the morning
- Maintaining dim lights at night
- Wearing blue-screen glasses
- Staying off screens 1 to 2 hrs before bed
- Going to bed early
- Not turning on lights in the middle of the night
Understanding these light and dark oscillations is critical because we have many biological “clocks” in our glands, including the ovaries. If our central pacemaker is out of sync, then the signals to the smaller controls and receptors will be dysfunctional. It is clear then, that a dysregulated circadian rhythm can harm our endocrine system and affect hormone production and result in anovulation (lack of ovulation), amenorrhea (absent menstruation), PMS, or luteal phase defect.
Research is now showing that circadian clocks in our ovaries play a role in the timing of ovulation. Disruption of the clock in ovarian cells or desynchrony between ovarian clocks and circadian regulators elsewhere in the body may contribute to the onset of serious reproductive challenges.
If you find that you are up late, have insomnia, you wake up through the night, you are constantly tired, you eat sugar or drink alcohol at night before bed - your circadian rhythm is likely being disrupted. The good thing is that we already know which things hurt this rhythm and they are fairly easy to change. Moreover, acupuncture, meditation, exercise, photobiomodulation (laser for fertility), sleep hygiene, and the Acubalance Fertility Diet diet can all work synergistically to support your circadian clock which is the basis for happy hormones.
To learn more about the approach Acubalance has to help you achieve hormonal balance please call to book a discovery call with one of our doctors.