When you’re feeling a bit strange and you’re not sure why, it’s easy to simply blame your hormones. The truth is, you are probably right about this.
Hormones rule much of your body, influencing your cycle, appetite, sex drive, weight and other processes within the body. Before you throw up your hands in frustration, it’s important to realize that you have some control over your hormones.
In fact, certain behaviors may make them sink or surge in the body. Take time to learn about some seemingly harmless things you may be doing that can mess with your body’s hormones, impacting your physical and mental health.
① Late Night Stress
At night, cortisol, a stress hormone, generally drops. This makes it easier for you to get to sleep.
However, late night stress can keep cortisol levels high, making it tough to wind down and get the sleep you need. Avoid stressing out late at night and learn to relieve anxiety.
② That Sugar Addiction
When you consume too much sugar, it can lead to weight gain. When you gain extra weight, it could cause insulin resistance. Insulin is a hormone that ensures your cells get enough energy by moving sugar to the bloodstream.
Eating too many sugary foods increases insulin resistance, which is often results in metabolic syndrome (pre-diabetes) or Type II Diabetes.
③ Hitting the Caffeine
Caffeine boosts cortisol production, which may result in you feeling anxious or uptight. This will keep you from sleeping well too.
If you’re going to have a caffeinated beverage, don’t have more than two in a day, and drink them well before 3-4pm, so it doesn’t interrupt your sleep cycle.
④ The Insomnia Cycle
Unfortunately, insomnia often creates a vicious cycle. When you don’t get enough sleep, cortisol levels rise, which increases blood sugar.
Then, blood sugar takes a dive, which makes you feel cranky, stressed and hungry. It’s easy to start grabbing junk foods when you feel this way. Making sure you get enough sleep every night can help level out cortisol levels.
⑤ Skipping Your Cardio Workouts
Don’t skip your cardio workouts, since cardio helps to reduce ghrelin, a hormone that helps to suppress your appetite. You may feel like eating more if you’re not doing your cardio, so make sure you get in a good heart-pumping, cardio workout.
⑥ Extreme Dieting
Extreme dieting may make your hormones go crazy, specifically your estrogen levels. When body-fat levels begin to drop significant, which can happen if you’re overdoing the exercise or failing to eat enough calories, the levels of estrogen drop in your body.
This drop in estrogen stops your regular cycle until you get back to healthy levels of body fat.
⑦ Sleep Deprivation
If you go a single night without getting the sleep your body needs, it can create a lack of the hormone leptin, which tells your body that you’re not hungry.
This means you’ll feel hungrier than normal because you missed some sleep, making it easy to overeat and pack on the pounds.
⑧ Grabbing Sugar to Ease PMS Symptoms
It’s easy to reach for a sugary treat when you’re dealing with PMS, but sugar doesn’t help. Sugar actually messes with brain chemicals, which are already out of whack because you’re dealing with PMS.
If you’re feeling moody or cranky, skip the sugar, since it will make you feel worse. Grab foods that will actually help, such as sweet potatoes, a single glass of wine, spinach or skim milk.
⑨ Failure to Exercise Regularly
It’s easy to skip those workouts when you’re tired, but failing to exercise regularly could be making you more tired. If you don’t exercise regularly, the body doesn’t make and release the right amount of the feel-good chemicals called endorphins.
Endorphins make you feel alert and positive, but they also help to increase sex hormone levels, giving your libido a boost, while ensuring that your immune system functions at its best. As you exercise more, the body will produce even more endorphins.