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Sleep and Growth Hormone

HGH and Sleep – Facts You Need to Know

Written by Author - Authors Medical experts of the National HRT Clinic - October 2, 2015

If you do not know the connection between HGH and sleep – now is the time to find out!

HGH is human growth hormone – one of the most powerful and influential of all chemical messengers secreted into the bloodstream. The relationship between HGH and sleep is so critical that if one of these two factors is out of balance, both will suffer. It does not matter if it is sleep that is lacking or HGH. When one drops, so does the other.

Not only are sleep quality and HGH dependent upon one another, but they ensure that each one functions properly. If you have growth hormone deficiency, you will be at a greater risk for sleep disturbances such as:

  • Insomnia
  • Frequent waking
  • Restless sleep
  • Early rising
  • Not enough hours of sleep

Of course, not getting enough hours of sleep at night will lead to foggy headedness, fatigue, low energy levels, and overeating for increased fuel requirements.

The reverse effect of deficient HGH hormone and sleep issues occurs because lack of sleep leads to the following concerns:

  • Reduced growth hormone production during periods of deep slow-wave sleep
  • Increased cortisol secretion which leads to the release of the hunger hormone ghrelin that causes overeating and weight gain

Another problem with having excess cortisol in the bloodstream is that it prevents the body from entering a relaxed state at night. With the brain and body on high alert due to elevated cortisol levels, it becomes increasingly difficult to fall asleep.

HGH and sleep quality are dependent upon one another.

What Happens to HGH Production When You Sleep?

In this section, we are going to delve more deeply into lack of sleep and HGH production. Your body follows a natural circadian rhythm – an internal clock, so to speak. The circadian cycle is often affected in people who do shift work – where their day is night and night is day. HGH is a rhythmic hormone – that means its release is not continual. Instead, HGH secretion occurs in pulsatile bursts while you are awake and asleep. As much as 50 to 75 percent of the daily production of human growth hormone occurs during sleep.

Because HGH secretion is not constant, some factors contribute to its release. Slow wave sleep (SWS) produces the large, pulsatile surges in HGH levels, with the largest occurring during the first SWS phase of the night.

Other hormones influenced in the HGH and sleep cycle include cortisol, leptin, melatonin, ghrelin, and testosterone. Glucose metabolism is also in danger because many of these hormones influence food intake and metabolic processing.

Shift work is especially troublesome for proper sleep cycles and puts people in a greater risk category for insulin insensitivity, hormonal imbalance, diabetes, obesity, and appetite dysregulation. When the circadian clock is altered due to shift work, melatonin and cortisol rhythms also reverse.

Growth hormone peaks during SWS sleep and declines during REM and stages 1 and 2 of the sleep cycle. Melatonin plays a significant role in circadian rhythmicity, helping to regulate sleep. Supplemental melatonin can increase total sleep time, allowing for more time spent in SWS sleep to increase growth hormone secretion.

Cortisol levels tend to rise rapidly in the middle of the night, also secreted in pulsatile fashion like HGH. However, cortisol works in opposition to growth hormone – when one is high, the other is low. That is also why cortisol levels decline during SWS. Cortisol is also the daytime stimulator of ghrelin, which helps prompt the body to eat to provide it with fuel for energy. When cortisol and ghrelin levels are low, such as during fasting, the body increases HGH production.

The majority of daily HGH production occurs during periods of deep, slow-wave sleep.

Why Does HGH Deficiency Affect Sleep?

When you are HGH deficient, your body compensates by increasing cortisol production. The connection here between HGH and sleep occurs because cortisol opposes HGH levels. If you are growth hormone deficient, the higher levels of cortisol in your bloodstream can make it increasingly difficult to fall asleep at night. We see this frequently with older adults who have the lowest HGH levels and get the fewest hours of sleep.

As you age, your body gets less and less sleep. Part of the problem is elevated levels of cortisol compensating for low HGH levels. You cannot fall asleep, and you tend to wake up earlier, reducing total overall sleep duration. Growth hormone levels decline further, causing even more of a spike in cortisol production.

One purpose of cortisol is to stimulate the release of ghrelin into the bloodstream. Ghrelin tells your body that it needs fuel. With lack of sleep and HGH levels declining, it is likely that you will run out of energy during the day. Ghrelin signals you that you are hungry. In turn, you reach for something to eat that will provide you with the necessary energy. After eating, HGH levels continue to drop as your body metabolizes the food you ate.

Low HGH levels lead to an increase in cortisol production which can interfere with sleep.

How Do I Stop the Low HGH, Lack of Sleep, High Cortisol Cycle?

If it seems that sleep and hormone levels are on a vicious merry-go-round that increases with intensity with every passing year, that is exactly what is happening. Both sleep and HGH release influence one another.

So, how do you stop the endless HGH and sleep cycle?

The first option is to get more sleep. If this sounds easier said then done, you are in widespread company. People who know that increasing sleep is essential to better hormone production try at this and fail every day. For some, melatonin supplements are the answer. Increasing melatonin levels may help you relax and bring about faster and earlier SWS.

Other adults find that human growth hormone therapy is the best way to dramatically alter cortisol levels for improved sleep. Weight loss and a decreased risk factor for metabolic syndrome and diabetes will also benefit from improving growth hormone levels.

You can also stop the cycle by giving the body what it needs – human growth hormone therapy. By increasing HGH levels, you effectively lower cortisol levels which makes it easier to fall and stay asleep each night.

Increasing HGH levels can help reverse the effects of elevated cortisol levels on the sleep cycle.

How Long Does It Take to Increase Sleep and HGH Levels?

From the very first action, whether it is improving sleep or administering HGH therapy, both sleep and HGH levels will rapidly improve. Providing the body with optimal sleep performance is crucial to getting a good night’s sleep. Once you do, you reinstate the circadian rhythm to its natural state.

Most people who receive HGH therapy find that they start to sleep better within two to three weeks. As that occurs, improved energy levels and overall performance becomes obvious.

Getting more sleep naturally – even if using melatonin, will start to have a gradual effect of HGH levels. With each passing week, you will notice more energy and improvements in all the ways HGH benefits the body.

For further questions about HGH and sleep, please contact National HRT for a free consultation.

Improving both HGH and sleep impacts the other – increasing energy levels and overall well-being.

Medically reviewed by   Reviewers National HRT Staff - Updated on November 21, 2023

Please note that the information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.