Connection between sleep & weight management

If you are perimenopausal, then a bad night’s sleep can be common. There are so many different reasons for this, and we’ll go into a couple of them.

Have you noticed that when you’re not sleeping very well the next day, your cravings increase?

There is a vital connection between sleep and weight management. Quality sleep is absolutely crucial for weight loss and management, especially for premenopausal women. Sleep deprivation can decrease levels of leptin, the hormone that signals fullness.

And leptin is that beautiful hormone that needs to be beautifully balanced with ghrelin that says to you, no, I think I’ve had enough. I don’t need to finish my meal. When your leptin and your ghrelin are out of balance, you never truly get that beautiful feeling of being satiated or that’s enough. So that’s when we can quite often use those drug like foods to overeat and to medicate with food in an unbeneficial way for our biochemistry.

So sleep deprivation can decrease that sensitivity. And generally when we haven’t slept very well, our bodies go for quick fixes.

So food-like substances, they are drug-like too. So things that give us a hit, sugar, white flour, dairy, quite often can do that for us too, leading to overeating.

At night, we need melatonin, our sleep hormone to be really high and melatonin and cortisol will have a relationship where one is high, the other is low. So once the sun sets melatonin comes up beautifully. We start yawning. About three hours after sunset is when we should naturally have nice levels of melatonin kicking in, letting us know that it’s time to get to bed.

And when melatonin increases, that stress hormone cortisol decreases. But what tends to happen is if we wake during the night or we have a blood glucose dysregulation issue, we can have cortisol levels rising. Or for example, if we turn on fluorescent lights or, we start to look at our screens, we disrupt our beautiful retinas, which means we are not getting that darkness into the eye, which can actually raise cortisol.

So if cortisol is high, of course melatonin is low, so we’re unable to sleep or stay asleep throughout the night. And keeping in mind blood glucose has something to do with this as well. Really important to make sure that you get enough fat and enough protein in that dinner meal so that it keeps you asleep all night long.

Good sleep hygiene practices such as setting a consistent sleep schedule or creating a relaxing bedtime routine and ensuring a comfortable sleep environment can significantly improve the quality.

Please make sure that your bedroom is an absolute sanctuary. Declutter. Make sure that you’re sleeping on natural fibres. You’ve got natural fabrics, the room isn’t hot, it’s nice and cool, and try to make sure it’s as dark as possible.

Poor sleep can lead to an imbalance of hormonal levels and insulin resistance and other health issues too. So insulin resistance is a huge issue when cortisol is high and we’re not getting a good night’s sleep. And insulin resistance means we are in a fat store as opposed to a fat burn state.

Dr Holland went into more detail on one of her regular “Let’s Talk Peri” chats. You can watch the replay below.

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