The body's alternating cycle of sleep and waking is directly related to the levels of two key hormones: melatonin and cortisol. Understanding the fluctuations of these biomarkers throughout the day and how they relate to each other is important for determining why you may be experiencing sleeping difficulty
This at-home dry urine test tracks hormone fluctuations that regulate the sleep-wake cycle. Results include a personalized health plan.
You might want to do this test if you:
- Have trouble falling asleep
- Wake up during the night
- Wake up too early
- Don’t feel rested after sleeping
- Feel tired but wired
- Experience mid-day energy dip
Melatonin is known as the “Dracula of hormone” because the body naturally produces melatonin in response to darkness. If melatonin never rises properly at night or if production is disrupted by light or other factors, you may experience symptoms of sleep deprivation. Low levels of melatonin in the evening/night are related to the following symptoms: difficulty falling asleep at night, waking up during the night, waking up too early, fatigue, not feeling rested, and daytime tiredness or sleepiness.
On the other hand, if levels of melatonin are higher than the normal range in the morning/daytime, you may experience fatigue, grogginess, or reduced core body temperature. Many things can disrupt this cycle, including stress, dietary factors, medications, your environment, your work schedule, and the amount or timing of light exposure. Levels vary throughout the day, that's why this test will sample multiple time points.
The primary hormone from your adrenal gland that is responsible for signaling the body to be awake and responsive, cortisol plays many roles in the body, but it has a special relationship to sleep. Cortisol follows a cycle that is opposite of melatonin's and, in this role, is responsible for signaling the body to be awake and responsive. Cortisol should be lowest late at night (when melatonin levels are high) and should have a peak shortly after waking in the morning. As with melatonin, levels vary throughout the day, and it is helpful to assess multiple time points thoughout the day.
The cortisol rhythm can become unbalanced from chronic stress related to emotions, lifestyle, diet, health issues, overtraining, and other causes. We can see more than one kind of abnormal pattern, but the most common abnormal patterns for cortisol are explained below.
When Cortisol Is Too High
When cortisol levels are too high, your body feels "on" all the time. You may have disturbed sleep, excessive hunger, weight gain, and an anxious mood. Elevated levels of stress hormones can impair your body's ability to absorb nutrients from your food because cortisol tells your body to stop producing the enzymes needed for digestion.
When Cortisol Is Too Low
Cortisol levels that are too low can lead you to feeling tired all the time, have a low mood, get sick more frequently, have challenges with pain and inflammation, and have a hard time responding to normal everyday stress.