Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Middle-aged Sleep Loss Linked to Weight Gain for Women

It’s a troubling scenario for women as they get older: lose sleep and gain weight. New findings suggest middle-aged women with insomnia will likely pack on pounds.

A Finnish study published in the International Journal of Obesity followed more than 7,300 middle-aged men and women for seven years. About a third of the women who reported having difficulty sleeping posted a double-digit weight gain.

Sleep problems, whether chronic or occasional, came before weight gain in many cases. Lead investigator Peppi Lyytikainen told Reuters Health the findings do not prove a causal relationship. He believes the findings may suggest improving sleep quality can help with losing weight. It’s still unknown if treating insomnia will cause weight loss.

Men may not have to worry. Results showed no link between insomnia and weight gain in males. However, previous research suggests otherwise. Men who sleep less may gain weight because they exercise less and eat fewer healthy foods. Short sleep may alter appetite-regulating hormones and cause you to crave high-calorie, high-carb foods.

Middle-aged women are susceptible to sleep distubances due to the hormonal and physical changes related to menopause. Its not unusual for post-menopausal women to report poor sleep quality or insomnia.

Image by Robert Hruzek

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