What’s The Link: Menopause, Weight Gain and Night Sweats?

AAHHHHH! Can’t get a good night sleep? I feel your pain, I can hardly function the next day if I’m tossing and turning all night. But did you know it could be causing you to gain weight?

Sleep is an important part of our daily cycle. It is during sleep that the body begins to regenerate and repair itself from the activities of the day. Depriving yourself when it comes to getting enough sleep can lead to changes in your body that promote weight gain.

The body does lots of work during this time. The brain processes what has happened during the day while you sleep. The body recovers from stress at night. If you exercise, your muscles are still burning fat while you sleep.

So, what happens when you don’t get enough sleep? In the short term, lack of sleep increases stress levels, shortens focus, alters your mood and can cause headaches and forgetfulness. Think when you’ve stayed up late to finish a project or to party into the wee small hours, these effects are likely noticed right away – especially when you begin to get tired and want to sleep but can’t.

In the longer view, lack of sleep on a near-regular basis can begin to affect what goes on inside your body at a deeper, cellular level. Since the body is not being given the time it needs to repair itself, the bodies systems can go haywire.

Researchers are now interested in the correlation between lack of sleep and weight gain.

Without sleep, the metabolic system doesn’t react as it should. Even in young people, they can develop symptoms similar to diabetes. The way that the body uses insulin is impaired. Also, high blood pressure can become a problem. These are problems which usually occur in advanced age but are now occurring in younger people.

When the metabolism slows down, that means that the body isn’t using fat efficiently for fuel. On top of that, poor nutritional habits lead to a higher fat intake which eventually leads to obesity.

As you age, the metabolism slows done anyway. Adding to it a lack of sleep can lead to dangerous health problems. When the body can’t repair itself, you are vulnerable to illness. The short-term effects are more pronounced as well.

During the menopausal years many women struggle with sleep. It is the fluctuating oestrogen levels that cause the sharp rise in body temperature which awaken women from their slumber only to find they are drenched in sweat, not a recipe for a good nights sleep!

HOW TO COPE:

Have a warm Epsom Salt bath before bedtime. The Magnesium helps to relax muscles.

Avoid large meals before bedtime, especially spicy foods. Eat foods such as yoghurt, nuts, milky drinks and banana’s which have high levels of Tryptophan that help to induce sleep.

Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Limit coffee drinking to morning only and switch to decaffeinated tea after 4pm.

Have a thin sheet under your duvet, next to your skin, so you can change the sheet and the duvet remains dry.

Keep an electric fan beside your bed.

Meditation and Yoga are also fantastic for relaxing the body in preparation for sleep.

Of course everyone is different and what works for some won’t for others. It is definitely worth trying to implement some if not all of the suggestions. You never know, you could have the best night’ sleep for quite some time!