This post is part of the Gorgeous 50’s series inspired by a book given to me by one of my sisters on my 50th birthday – ‘Grown up and Gorgeous in your 50’s’ by Pamela Robson. I will be sharing some of Pamela’s words and my own thoughts along the way. To see all posts published as part of this series, go here.
It’s been shown that a lack of sleep increases the levels of hunger hormone and decreases levels of a hormone that makes you feel full. The effects may lead to overeating and weight gain. Scientists have found that people who are chronically sleep-deprived are also overweight. Researchers suggest getting enough sleep might be a critical component of weight control and one day doctors might be recommending to dieters that they ‘sleep it off’ as well as cut the kilojoules and increase exercise.
Of course in mid-life as we go through peri-menopause and menopause, one of our symptoms is insomnia and another symptom is weight-gain (especially around our mid-section). Funny that! It’s comforting to read on the Australian Sleep Health Foundation’s website (here) that sleep after menopause should improve.
What Pamela says above is true. One thing she didn’t mention though was that the more sleep deprived we are, the higher the levels of the stress hormone ‘cortisol’ we have, which of course increases our appetite. It’s a vicious cycle. So we need to find ways to sleep better and for longer. I wrote a post a while back called 10 Tips for Better Sleep which you might find helpful. The Australian Sleep Health Foundation also has a great article on Good Sleep Habits.
Those two hunger and fullness hormones Pamela mentioned are called Grehlin (hunger) and Leptin (fullness). When sleep deprived your levels of the Grehlin hormone increase and your Leptin levels decrease, which could lead to overeating and weight gain.
Sleep experts are now suggesting that getting the right amount of sleep encourages a healthy metabolism. While this is true, how many calories you burn while asleep also depends on other factors: weight, height, age, gender and activity level.
The Australian Sleep Heath Foundation suggests that most adults need between seven and eight hours sleep each day. I tend to average around 6 to 7 hours on good nights, so I’m short an hour or two (more on bad nights). How are you sleeping? Got some tips for good sleep you’d like to share?
Ciao for now,
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