Sleep and weight gain

May 3, 2018
sleep, sleeping, woman, woman sleeping,

sleep, sleeping, woman, woman sleeping,


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.


Pamela says:

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.

belly, stomach, weight gain, measure, sleep, measuring tape,

My thoughts:

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,

Link up here at WOTM or with another of us in the Lovin’ Life Linky team:
Leanne of Deep Fried Fruit Lyndall of Seize the Day Project  Kathy of 50 Shades of Age  |
Deborah of Debbish  |  Jo of The Hungry Writer – Joanne Tracey.
It doesn’t matter where you link up as it will magically appear on all six blogs.


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36 Comments

  • Reply Lydia C. Lee May 3, 2018 at 7:59 am

    I’m staying awake later and later reading crap on the internet – I really need that to stop. No advice tho…

    • Reply Min May 3, 2018 at 3:44 pm

      I can relate Lydia. I need to get off devices earlier than I do of an evening!

  • Reply Sue May 3, 2018 at 8:59 am

    Sleep has been a challenge for me over the past few years (I think menopause has a LOT to answer for…….), but I’ve found that limiting my screen time in the evenings, and taking a magnesium supplement has helped. I’m now rarely awake for long in the middle of the night (whereas this could have been up to 2 hours previously), and I’m getting at least 6 hours in a stretch, then usually 1 or more hours when I go back to sleep. This is a huge improvement. I do find, though, that it’s always hard to know exactly what is making the difference! I want to be scientific about it, but because life is so varied it’s really difficult! I totally agree though that sleep is crucial, and I plan to keep working on this one!!

    • Reply Min May 3, 2018 at 3:59 pm

      Sleep has been a challenge for me too Sue! On a good night I get to sleep just fine but wake very early – like 4:30 or 5:00am (sometimes earlier). On a bad night I can’t get to sleep, I wake through the night, and I’m still awake early. I take magnesium. I could most definitely stop my screen time much earlier than I do of an evening. There’s a few more things I could try. It’s so important though isn’t it, to get enough sleep!

      • Reply Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond June 27, 2018 at 7:43 am

        Yes I experience the same sleep patterns as you Min. I know Rachel would love a good night sleep at the moment but with a 4 week old baby, that is one thing new Mum’s just can’t get. He is worth sleepless nights though! thanks for linking up and sharing at #MLSTL xx

        • Reply Min June 28, 2018 at 12:43 pm

          I don’t know if I could survive sleepless nights with a baby again Sue! I remember the sleep deprivation so well! They are worth it but best done when you’re younger I think! lol I look forward to being a grandparent one day. Hope the wait isn’t too long! xo

  • Reply Natalie May 3, 2018 at 9:56 am

    Sleep is so important for our overall well-being. I’ve been sleeping well. I find regular physical exercises, plus meditation and deep breathing help me fall asleep easily for 7-8 hours.

    • Reply Min May 3, 2018 at 3:48 pm

      Exercise, meditation and deep breathing – all fabulous things to help sleep! Lucky you to easily get 7-8 hours!

  • Reply Sydney Shop Girl May 3, 2018 at 11:17 am

    Sleep is a hard won thing for me. Don’t think all those coffees and mugs of tea help my cause either. I average around 6 hours a night. So far, I’m doing okay with this amount but I do find a need a good sleep in once a week.

    SSG xxx

    • Reply Min May 3, 2018 at 3:51 pm

      Ahhh yes coffee. I do love my coffee, however I opt for decaf for that last coffee of the day! I average around the same amount of sleep as you, and often less if I have things on my mind. I do lots of things to help me sleep but there are still some improvements I could make! 😉

  • Reply Leanne May 3, 2018 at 12:44 pm

    I gave up on the idea of having uninterrupted sleep without a bit of help. A few years ago I started taking a really low dose (1/4 tab) of a sleeping pill each night. It gives me deeper sleep – so my husband’s snoring and randomly barking dogs don’t constantly disturb me as much. I still wake a couple of times during the night but get back to sleep quite easily and don’t wake up groggy in the morning – so I see that little bit of magic tablet as a win for me.

    • Reply Min May 3, 2018 at 3:55 pm

      I was taking an over the counter sleeping tablet for a while after Dad passed away Leanne. I found just 1/2 table was about right so that I didn’t feel too zombied during the following day. It really helped me to sleep. I stopped though because I was worried I’d become dependent. I think I might try them again though – just for those periods where adequate sleep eludes me.

      • Reply Leanne June 27, 2018 at 4:01 pm

        My sister-in-law was told by her GP that the sleeping pill she was on could become addictive – her comment was that at her age she was allowed to be addicted to something and if it meant a good night’s sleep then it was worth it! So you are welcome to join us in our addiction 🙂

        Thanks for linking up with us at #MLSTL and I’ve shared this on my SM xx
        Leanne | http://www.crestingthehill.com.au

        • Reply Min June 28, 2018 at 12:50 pm

          It’s one addiction I think is quite reasonable Leanne! I’m managing ok at the moment without any help though. I seem to get to sleep ok, stay asleep ‘reasonably’ ok, I just don’t sleep long enough, but it could be worse! xo

  • Reply Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond May 3, 2018 at 4:08 pm

    I’ve never been a good sleeper Min and sometimes have to resort to sleeping tablets to get a solid nights sleep. I’m not sure why I don’t sleep with all the exercise I do you would think I would sleep like a baby!

    • Reply Min May 4, 2018 at 5:07 pm

      I do lots of the right things too Sue and still don’t get enough sleep. I used to be a good sleeper once upon a time though!

  • Reply Kathy Marrris May 3, 2018 at 7:21 pm

    Yes I definitely don’t sleep as well as I used to prior to menopause. I would probably only average 6-7 hours a night as well as it takes me ages to go to sleep and I tend to wake many times during the night. It’s so frustrating because some days I feel like I’m not functioning properly and I believe this is from tiredness. #TeamLovinLife

    • Reply Min May 4, 2018 at 5:08 pm

      It’s the same for me Kathy. I’m often not firing on all cylinders (minus a spark plug or two) and I’m sure that not enough sleep is a major contributor!

  • Reply Natalie @ Be Kind 2 You May 3, 2018 at 9:41 pm

    I’m probably around 5-6hours most nights. I can run on this for a few weeks then I have a day where I hit a massive wall. Today is that day.

    • Reply Min May 4, 2018 at 5:09 pm

      Oh I’m the same Natalie. I mostly survive ok on the sleep I get but then hit a wall. My wall was hit a couple of nights ago. I was in bed early and out like a light – absolutely exhausted! Still woke too early though! *sigh*

  • Reply Jodie May 3, 2018 at 11:13 pm

    I am a bear without my sleep, but there have been times that it was so elusive!!!
    XOXO
    Jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com

    • Reply Min May 4, 2018 at 5:11 pm

      I need my sleep too Jodie! I don’t get as much of it as I used to but I mostly do ok. xo

  • Reply Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit May 4, 2018 at 6:26 am

    Interesting. No worries for me then! I usually get my 8 hours of sleep each night without fail. Give or take. #teamlovinlife

    • Reply Min May 4, 2018 at 5:11 pm

      Oh you lucky thing! It has been a very, very long time since I have 8 hours of sleep in a night!

  • Reply Deborah May 5, 2018 at 3:34 pm

    I’ve always been an insomniac and finally a couple of years ago I agreed to start taking medication. It’s been a lifesaver but I keep waiting for my GP to cut me off. I’ve read it’s not addictive but it’s made a huge difference to my life!

    • Reply Min May 7, 2018 at 10:47 am

      I’ve had periods of insomnia Deb so I can only imaging how torturous ALWAYS being an insomniac would be. Whatever works so you can get good restorative sleep is good as far as I’m concerned because sleep is absolutely critical in order for us to function and be healthy!

  • Reply Jan June 27, 2018 at 2:34 pm

    Sometimes I sleep well, sometimes I don’t. I do find that what I eat and drink in the evening can make a big difference to my sleep. Last night I had a bad night (red wine??) and today I am ravenously hungry – eating a big bowl of fruit and yoghurt as I read the post. Will pin this through the Tribe 🙂

    • Reply Min June 28, 2018 at 12:46 pm

      I have good nights and bad nights too Jan and yes what I eat and drink can impact on my sleep, especially as I’m prone to reflux! Thanks for pinning through the Tribe – I’ve still got to understand all that yet. xo

  • Reply Samantha Smith June 27, 2018 at 7:34 pm

    Hi Min, I’ve just come across your blog through the Midlife Share the Love community and love your blog 🙂 I’ll certainly be following. Hmmm, me and sleep have an up and down relationship, sometimes sleep well, sometimes not, (much like Jan said previously), and yes I believe it’s food or drink related, or certainly because sometimes we eat too late, but also having such a lot on my mind as I go to bed doesn’t help. I’m through the other end of the dreaded menopause and suffered badly with virtually no sleep for a long time during it, so I just don’t like to complain now that I’m up and down – at least I get some sleep sometimes lol Great to ‘virtually’ meet you 🙂

    • Reply Min June 28, 2018 at 12:52 pm

      Lovely to meet your Samantha and thanks for your kind words! Yes I have good and bad nights with my sleep. I never sleep long enough but I manage to function ok on the sleep I do get (most of the time). I envy you being out the other side of menopause. I’m not yet! xo

  • Reply Karen Hume June 27, 2018 at 8:58 pm

    Hi Min,
    I didn’t sleep well during peri-menopause and menopause. Nor did I sleep well with a crazy busy work schedule and lots of travel and time zone changes for work. And there’s no question that I paid for the sleep deprivation in weight gain and a persistent brain fog.
    But now, now that I’m retired, sleep is great most of the time. And when it isn’t, I have the opportunity and the freedom to take a nap. So I guess my best advice for a good night’s sleep for midlife women is to retire from work 🙂 And if that isn’t possible, have a few nights of retiring early to bed and reading until you fall asleep.

    • Reply Min June 28, 2018 at 12:54 pm

      Oh that peri-menopause and menopause has a lot to answer for doesn’t it?! And with your crazy work schedule and travel and time zone changes … wow – no wonder you had sleep trouble and the other associated side effects – brain fog and weight gain. Not fair is it?! I’m so glad to hear life has become more calm for you now and you’re enjoying sleep again! It gives us all hope! 🙂

  • Reply Victoria June 28, 2018 at 12:34 am

    For years during peri-menopause and menopause, I had a terrible time sleeping. But now and especially since retirement, I get 8 to 8.5 hours a night and am happy with this amount. If I don’t get at least 8 hrs I am cranky and will end up sleeping 9+ hours to make up for the loss. Of course, none of this has had an effect on my weight. lol

    • Reply Min June 28, 2018 at 1:23 pm

      It seems so many of us women have issues with sleeping during peri-menopause and menopause! So retirement is the answer it seems! Must spread the word! lol xo

  • Reply Mary Lou June 28, 2018 at 2:52 am

    Min ~ This post’s topic has become my passion. All along I thought I was sleeping well (7-8 hrs) only to find out that I had Severe Sleep Apnea. I wasn’t going into deep sleep so was not only sleep deprived but also oxygen deprived. It took a long time for it to be diagnosed and I recall symptoms beginning at peri-menopause. Now, with treatment, I’m sleeping 8-9 hours of restful, restorative sleep and no more symptoms. I’m trying to lose the weight I’ve picked up along the way (at least 20 lbs) and am trying the intermittent fasting diet. (#MLSTL)
    http://www.meinthemiddlewrites.com

    • Reply Min June 28, 2018 at 3:09 pm

      Wow – Mary Lou – what a shock to find out you had Severe Sleep Apnea! I’m so glad that treatment has worked and you get good healthy sleep now. The issues we woman can go through with peri-menopause and menopause are mind blowing! Some get it easier than others of course, but I’m usually in ‘the others’ category! Good luck with the intermittent fasting diet. I hope it works for you! xo

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