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Real Life Nutrition Questions Answered

Real Life Fitness Questions Answered

Emma Brown
Nutritionist

Janet Aylott
Nutritionist

Kelly Marshall
Fitness Consultant

Q.

Can lack of sleep affect my weight?

I can't sleep . At night often only 2/3 hrs doctors say it's menopause I'm 48 weigh 14.7 stone active housekeeper job work cleaning from 4 to 8 hrs a day can my insomnia make me fat

A.

Our expert says...

Problems with sleep are often multi-factorial, and don’t just have one cause. However as your doctors have suggested, the menopause can be one reason for being unable to sleep.

It sounds as though you have an active job which is good because being active is important both in trying to have restful sleep, but also with weight loss. Losing weight can have a big effect on sleep too.

Poor sleep patterns can have an impact on weight purely because it might give you more time to consume calories – if you’re someone who can’t sleep, and get up make a cuppa and have a biscuit, then you can see how this lack of sleep might affect weight. Also being tired all the time is often a trigger for people to eat more unhealthy calorie dense foods such as sugary drinks, chocolate or sweets.

I notice you do have things like Lucozade in your food diary – is this to help keep you awake during the day? Just remember that these sorts of drinks are pretty high in calories, so best to keep them to a minimum if you can. You’re better off having more complex carbohydrates such as Porridge, wholemeal toast, Weetabix for breakfast in the morning – this will give you slow release energy throughout the morning, and hopefully will mean you don’t need energy drinks to keep you going.

Do you take any supplements? Some people find taking things like Evening Primrose Oil can help with the side effects of the menopause, although it’s not clear whether there is any link to sleep patterns.

You’ve obviously spoken with your doctor about your insomnia, but it might be worthwhile going back and asking whether there is anything that they can prescribe or advise you on to help? It’s a bit of a vicious cycle so maybe sorting out one area (e.g. sleep) might help with your weight loss too.

I wish you all the best and please don’t hesitate to come back to me should you have any further questions.

Kind regards

Janet

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