can't sleep, hormones cause insomnia,

Could Low Progesterone Be Disrupting Your Sleep?

A woman’s hormones fluctuate throughout the month and throughout her life but normally the two primary hormones, progesterone and estrogen, balance each other.

Progesterone is referred to as the “calming hormone” whereas estrogen is more excitatory. So if progesterone becomes low the result can be irritability and difficulty sleeping.

The Impact of Stress on Progesterone Levels

Every time you experience stress your adrenal glands release cortisol, a stress hormone. This is a normal response and when it happens occasionally your body can recover.

But when demand for cortisol is constantly high the body uses pregnenolone, (a precursor to progesterone and other hormones) to make cortisol instead. This is called “pregnenolone steal” because the body steals pregnenolone from sex hormone production in order to keep pace with the demands of stress.

Stopping this pregnenolone steal can help improve hormone balance and improve sleep.

Strategies to Support Hormone Balance

Tending to adrenal function is a key part of correcting hormonal imbalances.

Strategies for stopping pregnenolone steal include using specific vitamins and herbs to support the adrenal glands. You may also need to focus on gut health, and reducing inflammation; approaches that benefit from the guidance of an experienced practitioner.

This includes not only reducing lifestyle stress, but also eliminating dietary stressors:

  • Eating a diet lower in carbohydrates to prevent blood sugar swings
  • avoiding foods that cause an immune reaction
  • not drinking too much alcohol
  • tending to bacterial gut infections and other aspects of digestive health.

Ask my office for help in supporting healthy hormonal balance, and improving sleep.


Dr. Marina Rose has a Chiropractic and Functional Nutrition practice near San Jose, CA and helps women find natural solutions for trouble sleeping, perimenopause symptoms and other challenging health conditions.

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