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Sleep hormonal balance women in menopause

Sleep Plays a Critical Role in the Well-Being of Women Over 50

Jan 31, 2024

Sleep plays a critical role in the well-being of women over 50, impacting everything from hormonal balance to overall health. As we age, our sleep patterns often change, making it even more crucial to focus on getting quality rest. In this blog, we'll explore how inadequate sleep affects hormones like cortisol and appetite regulators, and offer practical tips for women over 50 to improve their sleep quality.

Understanding the Importance of Sleep for Hormonal Balance

For women over 50, getting enough quality sleep is essential for maintaining hormonal balance. Sleep deprivation or poor-quality sleep can disrupt the body's normal hormonal functions. Two key hormones affected by sleep are cortisol, the stress hormone, and ghrelin and leptin, the appetite-regulating hormones.

Cortisol is released in response to stress, and its levels are naturally higher in the morning and lower at night. However, lack of quality sleep can lead to elevated cortisol levels at night, contributing to a feeling of constant stress and potentially leading to health issues such as hypertension, weight gain, and mood disorders.

Ghrelin and leptin are crucial in regulating appetite. Ghrelin stimulates appetite, while leptin contributes to feeling full. Insufficient sleep can increase ghrelin levels and decrease leptin levels, leading to increased hunger and potential weight gain, a common concern for women over 50.

The Challenge of Sleep in the Over-50s

As women enter their 50s, they often experience changes in sleep patterns due to hormonal shifts associated with menopause. These changes can include difficulty falling asleep, lighter sleep, and more frequent awakenings during the night.

Quality sleep is not just about duration but also about how restful and undisturbed the sleep is. Good quality sleep helps in emotional regulation, physical health maintenance, and cognitive function, which are particularly important for women over 50. 

Quality sleep is also one of the 6 Pillars of Wellness, and something I strongly focus on with my clients. Missing this key element when trying to be a healthier version of yourself will stall your progress entirely. 

Tips for Better Sleep Quality for Women Over 50

  • Consistent Sleep Schedule: Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day helps regulate your body's internal clock.
  • Comfortable Sleep Setting: Ensure your bedroom is conducive to sleep – cool, quiet, and dark. Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows.
  • Limiting Screen Time Before Bed: The blue light from screens can interfere with your ability to fall asleep. Try to disconnect from electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime.
  • Regular Physical Activity: Regular exercise, especially aerobic activities, can promote better sleep. However, avoid vigorous workouts close to bedtime.
  • Mindful Eating and Drinking: Avoid heavy meals, caffeine, and alcohol close to bedtime, as they can disrupt sleep.
  • Stress-Reducing Techniques: Practices like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises in the evening can help calm the mind and prepare the body for sleep.
  • Relaxing Activities Before Bed: Engage in calming activities like reading, taking a warm bath, or listening to soothing music to signal to your body that it's time to wind down.
  • Journaling: Writing down your thoughts or concerns can help clear your mind and reduce worry or stress that might interfere with sleep.

The Takeaway

For women over 50, quality sleep is not a luxury but a necessity for maintaining hormonal balance and overall health. By understanding the impact of sleep on hormones like cortisol and appetite regulators, and by implementing practical tips for improving sleep quality, women in this age group can enhance their well-being significantly. Embracing healthy sleep habits is a key step in enjoying a vibrant, active, and fulfilling life beyond 50!

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