Today’s blog is the last in a three-part series on acne associated with menstrual periods. In the first blog I laid out how acne can be related to the menstrual cycle. In the second blog I started the treatment discussion with dietary changes that can improve condition and now I will conclude by explaining how sleep, exercise and stress management are also important components to the healing process for acne and other symptoms associated with menstrual cycles.
Proper sleep is also crucial for appropriate hormonal balance. I divide proper sleep into three categories. The first is the quantity of sleep which is getting enough sleep each night, between six and eight hours each night. The second category is sleep hygiene which includes the rituals you do every night to prepare for sleep. Our bodies like consistent patterns so each night we need to do the same thing to let our bodies know we are preparing for sleep. Sleep hygiene also includes making sure the room is dark so our bodies can produce melatonin which helps us get and stay asleep and quiet so we can get restful sleep. The third category is time you actually get to sleep. Getting to sleep before midnight increases the quality of sound, restful and restorative sleep. At least a couple of hours before midnight is best. The reason it is important to get to sleep before midnight is again because of a hormone called cortisol which is lowest around 10:30 in the evening. We want to be sleep when our cortisol is low so we can reach the deepest levels of sleep during our sleep cycle.
Stress, whether it be emotional, spiritual or physical, directly impacts your female hormonal balance. Our stress hormone cortisol and our female hormones estrogens, progesterone and androgens are made from the same building blocks. When our bodies experience stress we divert the more of our building blocks to our stress hormones and away from our female hormones. This makes it important to have stress management behaviors in place so our body can appropriately divide the building blocks between our female hormones and our stress hormones.