Wellness Links Between Sleep and Menopause Symptoms

Sleep during menopause

Restless Nights, Fuller Plates: Unveiling the Scientific Link Between Sleep and Eating Patterns during Menopause

Ever wondered if a night of tossing and turning could tip the scales against you?
Sadly, the answer is a resounding yes. Numerous studies have uncovered a compelling correlation between inadequate sleep and weight gain. Shockingly, research indicates that those deprived of sleep tend to consume an extra 385 calories per day compared to their well-rested counterparts! This seemingly innocent surplus can quickly snowball into significant weight gain over time.
Hormonal Rollercoaster
Central to this connection are two pivotal hormones that regulate appetite: leptin and ghrelin. Leptin, fondly known as the “satiety hormone,” sends signals to your brain indicating fullness after a meal. Meanwhile, ghrelin, the “hunger hormone,” triggers sensations of hunger when your body needs nourishment. Tragically, when sleep eludes us, these hormones veer off course.
The Hunger Pangs
In particular, sleep deprivation can plummet leptin levels by 18%, leaving you feeling perpetually unsatisfied after meals. Meanwhile, ghrelin levels surge by up to 28% in the sleep-deprived, incessantly whispering, “You’re hungry! Eat more!” No wonder you find yourself reaching for snacks throughout the day (and perhaps even at midnight) when these hormonal signals are haywire.
Sweet Temptations
Yet, it’s not merely the quantity of food that alters with sleep deprivation; it’s also the quality. Studies reveal that sleep restriction heightens cravings for calorie-laden and sugar-rich treats. Picture waking up after a restless night yearning for a doughnut instead of your usual wholesome breakfast. This shift in cravings is rooted in changes within the brain’s reward centers, amplifying the allure of unhealthy choices when sleep-deprived.
The Dual Impact of Sleep and Diet
The relationship between sleep and diet is reciprocal. Research shows that poor dietary decisions, like excessive sugar intake and low fiber consumption, can disrupt sleep patterns. For instance, a study uncovered that individuals with sugar-heavy, low-fiber diets experienced fragmented sleep and diminished deep sleep stages. Consider how indulging in a heavy meal before bed can wreak havoc on sleep quality. After a late-night feast, you might find yourself tossing and turning, plagued by heartburn. This disrupted sleep fuels cravings for unhealthy fare the next day, perpetuating a cycle of poor sleep and unhealthy eating.
Smart Sleep, Smart Eats
The silver lining? Enhancing sleep quality can profoundly impact weight regulation. Research suggests that increasing nightly sleep duration by just one hour can slash obesity risk by 14%. Prioritizing sleep hygiene and establishing consistent sleep routines can positively influence eating habits and overall wellness. Envision committing to a regular sleep schedule, retiring and rising at consistent times daily. Consequently, you’ll feel more invigorated and alert, making it easier to resist junk food cravings and opt for nutritious alternatives. Over time, this improved sleep and healthier eating habits will culminate in gradual weight loss and enhanced well-being.
The Bottom Line
Understanding how sleep shapes appetite hormones and food preferences empowers us to prioritize sleep for sustained health and vitality. Remember, a good night’s sleep isn’t a luxury; it’s a potent tool for managing weight and fostering overall well-being!
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Sources for further reading;

●      Sleep loss boosts appetite and may encourage weight gain: https://www.uchicagomedicine.org/forefront/news/sleep-loss-boosts-appetite-may-encourage-weight-gain

●      Cooper CB, Neufeld EV, Dolezal BA, et alSleep deprivation and obesity in adults: a brief narrative reviewBMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine 2018;4:e000392. doi: 10.1136/bmjsem-2018-000392

●      Sleep loss boosts appetite, may encourage weight gain: https://www.uchicagomedicine.org/forefront/news/sleep-loss-boosts-appetite-may-encourage-weight-gain

●      Sharma S, Kavuru M. Sleep and metabolism: an overview. Int J Endocrinol. 2010;2010:270832. doi: 10.1155/2010/270832. Epub 2010 Aug 2. PMID: 20811596; PMCID: PMC2929498.

●      Mullin BC, Phillips ML, Siegle GJ, Buysse DJ, Forbes EE, Franzen PL. Sleep deprivation amplifies striatal activation to monetary reward. Psychol Med. 2013 Oct;43(10):2215-25. doi: 10.1017/S0033291712002875. Epub 2013 Jan 4. PMID: 23286303; PMCID: PMC3742668.

●      St-Onge MP, Mikic A, Pietrolungo CE. Effects of Diet on Sleep Quality. Adv Nutr. 2016 Sep 15;7(5):938-49. doi: 10.3945/an.116.012336. PMID: 27633109; PMCID: PMC5015038.

●      Beccuti G, Pannain S. Sleep and obesity. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2011 Jul;14(4):402-12. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0b013e3283479109. PMID: 21659802; PMCID: PMC3632337.

●      Yes, There’s an Ideal Temperature for Sleep—and Here’s Why It Matters: https://www.realsimple.com/health/preventative-health/sleep/ideal-temperature-for-sleep


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