Is Menopause Affecting Your Sleep and Causing Weight Gain?

Menopause is a phase which comes in a woman’s life when her periods stop naturally which often happens after the age of 40. When a woman’s ovaries stop producing the hormones estrogen and progesterone, it can be said that a woman is going through menopause.

Menopause is a phase of hormonal, psychological, and physical changes in women. Menopausal symptoms vary from woman to woman. A woman has reached menopause when she does not get her periods for approximately one year.

Menopause Symptoms:

Many women experience physical and emotional symptoms during menopause due to hormonal imbalance. Generally, women experience menopause symptoms in their 40’s when their body’s reproductive capability comes to the end. Women will face the following few symptoms:

  • Sleep Disorders
  • Weight Gain
  • Lower fertility
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Irregular periods
  • Urinary problem
  • Mood Swings
  • Memory Lapses
  • Hair Loss
  • Depression
  • Joint Pain

How does menopause affect sleep?

Waking up several times during the night, tossing and turning sides, and insomnia, are all sleep disorders related to menopause. When a woman is going through menopause, she needs to find out if she is getting restless during her sleep, or just being plain unable to sleep. Research indicates that a woman starts to experience restless sleep five to seven years before entering the phase of menopause.

Studies show that lack of sleep leads to decreased cognitive functions, lack of concentration, irritability, and a weakened immune system. For a woman who is going through menopause, it can be even more devastating, as she is dealing with shifting hormone levels – which is the reason for her sleep problems and her other daily stresses of life.

In a woman, estrogen and progesterone levels affect her sleep. A decrease in the levels of either hormones can cause sleep disturbances.

This may also have an impact on professional or personal relationships. Women wake up more during the night and as a result, they feel tired and cannot concentrate on their work. The sleep cycle is very important for well being and  the sleep disturbance may also have a negative impact on health.

How does the Decline in Estrogen Affect Sleep?

  • It slows down the intake and production of magnesium, which helps the muscles to relax.
  • Sleep cycle also gets interrupted due to hot flashes and night sweating.

How to treat Sleep disturbance?

  • Add Exercise to your daily life style
  • Medication
  • Lead a healthy lifestyle in terms of food and mental wellbeing

How menopause affects weight?

Weight gain is one of the most common and frustrating symptoms of menopause. Around  90% of menopausal women experience weight gain to some extent.

After menopause, women are normally less active than they were in their younger years, which decreases their energy expenditure and also leads to muscle mass loss apart from weight gain. After menopause, women also have higher fasting insulin levels and resistance, which leads to weight gain and also increases heart disease risk.

Risks of weight gain

Weight gain during menopause can cause some of the following conditions :

  • Heart disease
  • High BP
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Breast cancer
  • High Cholesterol
  • Kidney disease
  • Insulin resistance

How does the decline in estrogen affect weight gain?

After menopause, a woman’s ovaries produce less estrogen and so, her body attempts to extract estrogen from other sources. Fat cells can produce estrogen, so body works hard to convert calories into fat to increase estrogen levels. Fat cells do not burn calories as well as the muscle cells do, which causes weight gain.

How does the decline in progesterone affect weight gain?

In a woman’s body, water retention is connected to menopause. Water weight and bloating may result from a decrease in progesterone levels.

How to prevent weight gain in menopause?

  • Quantified Nutrition Diet: One needs to calculate the calories required for one’s body depending upon the individual statistics. You need to keep your diet in a caloric deficit.  
  • Work out: Strength training improves your body composition, strength, and also builds lean muscle mass.
  • Rest and relax:  You need to take proper rest and complete required sleep to keep hormones and appetite in control.

Take Home Message

Menopause can be exhausting physically and emotionally.

But living a healthy lifestyle in terms of eating a nutritious diet, doing enough exercise, and taking enough rest will help in preventing weight gain and will also help you solve your sleep problems and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Even though it can be difficult to do your best  and  accept the changes in your body which will inevitably happen with age, maintaining a healthy lifestyle will  help you to look and feel your best during menopause.


Article Credits – Monika Sharma