Poor Sleep During Menopause Linked to Decreased Fat Metabolism Interview with:

Leilah K. Grant, PhD Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Medicine Brigham and Women’s Hospital Harvard Medical School

Dr. Grant

Leilah K. Grant, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Medicine
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Harvard Medical School What is the background for this study?

Response: The prevalence of obesity increases in women around the age of menopause which increases the risk of diseases like diabetes and heart disease. Changes in hormones, like estrogen, are thought to contribute to weight gain during menopause, but other common symptoms of menopause such as sleep interruption may also play a role. While short sleep is known to adversely affect metabolism, little is known about the metabolic consequences of the type of sleep disruption most common in menopausal women – increased nighttime awakenings (i.e., sleep interruption) caused by hot flashes, but no change in overall sleep duration. We therefore did this study to see how an experimental model menopause-related sleep interruption would affect metabolic outcomes that may contribute to weight gain. What are the main findings?

Response: We found that interrupting sleep, while conserving sleep duration, decreased the amount of fat used by the body for energy, which over time may lead to greater fat storage and ultimately weight gain. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: About half of menopausal women experience sleep problems and this study suggests that addressing the most common menopause-related sleep problem, sleep interruption, may reduce the likelihood of weight gain and associated health complication. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: In future work, our group is interested in whether treating hot flash-related sleep disturbances in peri- and post-menopausal women improves their metabolic health.

No disclosures


Abstract presented at ENDO 2021 meeting March 2021



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Last Updated on March 23, 2021 by Marie Benz MD FAAD