When people hear the word “hormones,” many of them automatically think about puberty and adolescence, or about their birth control. However, hormones go way beyond the reproductive organs, and exist throughout your endocrine system — a system of glands in your body that secrete special chemicals that influence a large portion of your bodily functions. This includes everything from tissue growth and metabolism, to the efficiency of your immune system. Hormones have an especially large impact on energy, and long time, chronic fatigue sufferers have been shown to often have hormonal deficiencies.
Not only can hormone production affect fatigue and energy levels throughout the day, but the quality of your sleep also determines how well hormones are produced during the night. A full seven to eight hours of sleep induces the release of the human growth hormone, which helps support your endocrine system. Hormone imbalances can be hard to spot since, many times, they co-occur with other disorders or are just a flat-out symptom of another illness. If you are not diagnosed with a chronic illness, but can’t seem to get over your midday exhaustion, it may be time to ask your doctor to check for a hormone imbalance. Here are six sneaky ways your hormones could be making you more tired than usual, and how to improve your body’s production of them.