Human growth hormone (HGH) is a form of complex protein that is produced in the pituitary gland, which is found in the brain. It plays an essential role in the endocrine system. This hormone is particularly high in growing children and it is responsible for the rapid growth that takes place during this period. It is also used to ensure healthy body tissues in adults. The human brain releases HGH intermittently into an individual’s bloodstream when you are asleep. Its release is crucial for restoration and repair, which usually occurs when we sleep.
In healthy individuals, a large percent of this hormone is released in the initial period of deep sleep. Its release reduces when you stay up late or reduce the number of hours you sleep. Research has revealed that sleep stages have a significant impact on the amount of HGH released into the bloodstream.
Most athletes rely on HGH supplements to boost their performance but scientists believe that all they need to do is get adequate rest each night to attain their objectives. According to a study carried out by Eve Van Cauter, a researcher from the University of Chicago, men tend to experience less deep sleep as they approach midlife and their bodies also tend to produce less HGH. This has prompted researchers to conclude that improved sleep can slow down aging especially in men.
Changes in HGH production and sleep patterns usually begin when an individual is in their late 20s or early 30s. Some scientists blame aging on changing sleep patterns. In males, most of this hormone is released when one is in deep, slow wave sleep. This is when an individual’s brain waves differ widely compared to when they are alert.
HGH release is highest during puberty but it tends to taper off when one approaches early adulthood. This is when most people are unable to attain deep sleep.
Cortisol, a stress hormone is another factor that has been addressed in the relationship between sleep and HGH release among men. Research reveals that cortisol levels usually decrease in the evenings in men in their late adulthood and this helps them to release more HGH. High cortisol levels have also been associated with sleep loss and wear and tear. This provides further evidence that reduced deep sleep can contribute to aging. The body tends to wear out faster when an individual is under stress and their sleep is interrupted.
It is interesting to note that while sleep is essential for both males and females regardless of age, researchers have not found any evidence to suggest a relationship between HGH secretion and deep sleep among women. Research evidence has demonstrated that women do not have the same sleep patterns changes observed in men between early and mid adulthood. Women tend to enjoy deep sleep until they reach menopause when their patterns are disrupted significantly. But it is important to point out that there are limited studies on sleep among women. This may be attributed to hormonal contraceptive use, menstrual cycle, menopause, and hormone replacement therapies that can all alter sleep patterns, making it difficult for researchers to explore female sleep patterns.