Is Poor Sleep Causing Your PCOS? (and 5 tips to help NOW!)

Ladies, are you tired of feeling tired all the time? Do you wish you had more energy to tackle your day? Well, guess what? The solution to your fatigue and pesky hormonal issues may just include getting more sleep!

Yes, I know it sounds too good to be true, but hear me out. Sleep is not only essential for giving us the energy we need to power through our day, but it also plays a critical role in regulating our hormones. That’s right – by catching those Z’s, we can help balance our hormones and feel better overall.

Let’s Get Nerdy: Understanding Sleep and PCOS

Sleep and Hormonal Regulation

Several studies have linked sleep disturbances with alterations in hormonal regulation, which can exacerbate PCOS symptoms. One study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that women with PCOS who experienced sleep disturbances had higher levels of testosterone, a key hormone associated with PCOS symptoms (1). Another study published in Sleep Medicine Reviews highlighted the association between sleep deprivation and disrupted insulin signaling, insulin resistance, and elevated levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) in women with PCOS (2). These hormonal imbalances contribute to the manifestation of PCOS symptoms, emphasizing the importance of adequate sleep for hormonal regulation.

Sleep and Metabolic Function

Metabolic dysfunction is a common feature of PCOS, and sleep plays a critical role in its regulation. Research published in the journal “Sleep” has demonstrated that sleep deprivation and poor sleep quality can lead to insulin resistance, impaired glucose tolerance, and increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes (3). These metabolic disturbances are closely linked to PCOS, as insulin resistance is a hallmark of the disorder. Furthermore, a study published in the American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism revealed that sleep deprivation can disrupt adipose tissue metabolism, promoting weight gain and obesity (4). Given that weight management is crucial in PCOS symptom remission, optimizing sleep becomes crucial in supporting metabolic health.

Sleep and Inflammation

Inflammation is another key factor associated with PCOS pathology, and sleep has been shown to modulate inflammatory processes. A study published in the journal Biological Psychiatry investigated the impact of sleep deprivation on inflammation and found that sleep restriction led to increased levels of inflammatory markers, such as C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) (5). Chronic inflammation contributes to the development of insulin resistance and exacerbates PCOS symptoms. Therefore, prioritizing adequate sleep can help reduce inflammation and improve overall health in individuals with PCOS.

Sleep and Psychological Well-being

PCOS is not only characterized by physical symptoms but can also significantly impact psychological well-being. Sleep disturbances, such as insomnia or poor sleep quality, are often reported by women with PCOS and can exacerbate psychological symptoms such as anxiety and depression. A study published in Fertility and Sterility demonstrated that women with PCOS who experienced sleep disturbances had higher levels of anxiety and depression compared to those without sleep problems (6). Improving sleep hygiene and quality can positively influence psychological well-being and contribute to overall PCOS symptom remission.

Tips for Better Sleep

So, what can you do to get more sleep? Here are a few tips:

  1. Make bedtime a priority. I know, I know – there are a million things to do, and sleep can seem like a waste of time. But trust me, getting enough rest is crucial for your health and wellbeing. So, make it a non-negotiable part of your routine.
  2. Create a cozy sleep environment. You know what’s better than sleeping? Sleeping in a comfortable bed with soft pillows, cozy blankets, and the perfect room temperature. Make sure your bedroom is a relaxing space that promotes restful sleep.
  3. Unplug before bed. Scrolling through social media or watching TV right before bed can interfere with your ability to fall asleep. Instead, try reading a book or taking a warm bath to help you relax.
  4. Limit caffeine and alcohol. I know, I know – coffee and wine are the cornerstones of adulting. But too much of either can mess with your sleep patterns, making it harder to get the rest you need.
  5. Try a bedtime ritual. A relaxing bedtime routine can help signal to your body that it’s time to wind down. Whether it’s taking a warm bath, practicing meditation, or writing in a journal, find something that works for you.

By getting more sleep, you’ll not only feel more energized and focused, but you’ll also be doing your hormones a favor. So, get cozy, turn off those screens, and catch some Z’s – your body will thank you!


  1. Tasali E, Van Cauter E, Ehrmann DA. Relationship between sleep and insulin sensitivity in PCOS. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2008;93(10):3878-3883.
  2. González C, Alonso-Vale MI. Effects of sleep deprivation on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Sleep Med Rev. 2014;18(1):25-32.
  3. Knutson KL, Ryden AM, Mander BA, Van Cauter E. Role of sleep duration and quality in the risk and severity of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Arch Intern Med. 2006;166(16):1768-1774.
  4. Hursel R, Rutters F, Gonnissen HK, et al. Effects of sleep fragmentation in healthy men on energy expenditure, substrate oxidation, physical activity, and exhaustion measured over 48 h in a respiratory chamber. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011;94(3):804-808.
  5. Irwin MR, Wang M, Campomayor CO, Collado-Hidalgo A, Cole S. Sleep deprivation and activation of morning levels of cellular and genomic markers of inflammation. Arch Intern Med. 2006;166(16):1756-1762.
  6. Hollinrake E, Abreu A, Maifeld M, Van Voorhis BJ, Dokras A. Increased risk of depressive disorders in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Fertil Steril. 2007;87(6):1369-1376.

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