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A Cat in the House: Hormones, Sleep, Weight Loss, and Wellness


In this Episode

In this episode of Fit and Fabulous, join Dr. Orlena as she recounts a sleepless night triggered by an unexpected feline visitor. 

Discover how this restless encounter not only disrupted her slumber but also serves as a vivid illustration of how lack of sleep can impact your mood, hormones, weight loss efforts, and overall wellness. 

Tune in to hear the amusing yet enlightening tale, and gain valuable insights into the critical role of sleep in maintaining a healthy, vibrant life. 

Whether you're battling insomnia or just curious about optimizing your sleep habits, this episode offers practical tips and relatable experiences that you won't want to miss.

Transcription of Podcast

Hello, hello, hello. Welcome to Fit and Fabulous with me, Dr. Orlena . I hope you're feeling fabulous today. I hope you are feeling better than me. Today, I am going to play what they call in the UK, Whinging Pom, and I'm going to tell you about my lack of sleep and how grumpy, grumpy, grumpy I am. I will tell you the long story of why nocturnal activities in the night.

Okay, before you start thinking, ahem, I thought this wasn't an X rated podcast. It's not what you're thinking. A cat got into our house. We spent the night chasing the cat around the house. Except, that didn't take very long. I just couldn't get back to sleep afterwards. I thought it would be a really interesting experience just to talk to you about and how lack of sleep really affects your body, affects your mood, and affects your weight loss if you're trying to lose weight.

Okay, let's start with the story. I go to bed on time. I am very, very good. at going to bed on time. Why? Because I go to bed on time. I know it's one of those things that it's a self perpetuating story. One of the really good things about sleep, or not the good things, but one of the ways of really making sure that you maximize your sleep is to have a good sleep routine.

And I have been having a good sleep routine for years and years and years. And so 10, 10 30, my body just says it's time to go to sleep. I went to bed on time. Now, I will also tell you that I'm not the world's greatest sleeper. I've always been a very light sleeper. I am also 49. And hormones. Hormones, hormones.

Any women out there who are between their 40s and, say, 55, you know, that kind of time, You know that hormones have a big effect on sleep. That menopausal time really does impact sleep for various reasons, but it could be heat, hot flushes, it could be just anything. But it's a time of life when people find it actually really difficult to sleep.

I am a light sleeper. My husband woke up at four o'clock to go to the bathroom. I always find this really frustrating because I find it really difficult to go back to sleep after that. Not because I'm stressed, I am a little bit stressed at the moment, but, you know, my brain just doesn't like to turn off and I find it difficult just to go back to sleep.

Anyhow, we heard this kind of crying sound. Now my kids are 11 to 16 and I was thinking, that's not a child, it's a cat outside. We live in Spain and there are lots of wild cats around here. And I thought, oh my goodness, those cats, they're up to certain things. There must be a cat outside. And I just ignored it.

And then there was a clump downstairs and I decided to ignore that too. Until eventually my husband got out of bed and went, There's somebody downstairs. Woo! It's a cat! And this cat went chasing around the house. The poor cat, the poor cat was obviously clearly absolutely petrified and couldn't figure out how to get out of the house.

We have lots of doors, basically, like glass doors, glass windows, and it obviously couldn't work out which were doors. We'd left, we tried to open the doors to let it out, and it kept running past this big open door. We're trying to say, go through the door, go through the door. Anyhow, we thought the cat had escaped.

We couldn't find it. We went back to sleep. This morning, I went upstairs to do the laundry and guess what? I found a cat! It did eventually get out. Poor thing. It jumped out of the window. It didn't need to jump at all. It could have just walked, but it was obviously so terrified and thought that there was a gate to jump across.

I've never seen a cat jump this high. There was no wall for it to jump across. It just jumped. I didn't realise they could jump so high. , I didn't go back to sleep. after four o'clock. I essentially got five hours sleep. Now, this is not a total disaster. I know it's not because tonight I am going to go to sleep on time and I'm going to maintain my routine and I'm going to hopefully have a good night's sleep and get back on track.

As a side note, as I was preparing a little bit about what I wanted to say in this podcast and just looking at all the causes of lack of sleep and how to avoid lack of sleep, not one, not one of the websites mentioned making sure stray cats don't get into your house. There you go. Strange as it may seem.

What are the consequences of me not having enough sleep? Well, I mentioned weight loss. How does that work? not having enough sleep affect weight loss? Well, I haven't slept enough so my cortisol levels are too high. They're higher than they would be. Cortisol is that stress hormone which is why you feel stressed.

Stress hormone can affect your blood pressure and various other things. It can also affect the balance between oestrogen and progesterone, which is obviously not great for a lady of my age. Now, the other thing it can do as well is to allow your thyroid to slow down, which can affect your metabolism.

Now, I'm sure that one night's sleep is not going to be a big deal. I'll tell you what the main consequences of my one night of lack of sleep are in a moment, I bet you can guess them. But if you are consistently not sleeping and thinking, okay, consistently I'm affecting my cortisol levels, consistently I'm potentially affecting my thyroid levels, this is going to have a big impact on not just your stress levels and your general health, but also on your ability to be able to lose weight if you're trying to lose weight.

Both health and weight are things that are affected by lack of sleep. Now, what is the biggest impact on me? Well, surprisingly, I feel tired, but not only do I feel tired, I feel grumpy, really grumpy, and sleep really does affect your mood. It can increase anxiety, it can decrease, increase depression and negative thoughts.

For me, It's really interesting to have a feel and have that self awareness of like, what actually do I feel? And now, I feel my eyes are tired, in that, you know, they feel like sandy and glassy. And physically, that's really the only thing I can feel. But also, I can feel that I have a short fuse. That I'm a little bit snappy.

That I sat down to do my work, and the first thing I did was send out a whole heap of emails to all of those people. issues that need to get sorted out in my life. We're having a little bit of a battle at the moment. We had our house done up and there's still, you know, like, sigh, arguments with the contractors.

I got rid of all of those, I'm really annoyed emails instead of my normal day, which is to sit down and think, hooray, I've got a fabulous day. What exciting things am I going to do today? I noticed that my tendency is towards that I'm grumpy kind of thing. And that's not what I want to do.

That's not who I am. I want to step into vibrancy and enjoyment and really focus on enjoying life and getting the most out of life in a positive way. I'm totally aware that my brain has sort of swung the other way. Those are some of the impacts of lack of sleep. Now, I'm just talking about one day, but just thinking about lack of sleep on the long term, if you continue to have lack of sleep, it has lots of other negative effects on your body, or can do.

For example, it can affect your immune system. It can affect your chance of getting diabetes. It can affect things like heart disease. In short, you don't want to have lack of sleep. Now, a last thing to think about is, what did I do about my lack of sleep? Here is me thinking, okay, I know what to do about lack of sleep.

I can't go back in time, sadly, and get that night's sleep back. One thing I did was I got up at the same time. Keeping your routine is a good idea. It's tempting to lie in and say, I'm going to sleep till midday. Well, I can't do that anyhow because I have to get my kids to bed. Off to school, and obviously I have to get to work, and all of those things.

That wasn't an option for me anyhow, but it's a good idea that it's not an option. Now, one thing I did notice was normally I jump out of bed and I go and do some exercise. Normally I go to the swimming pool, or frequently I go to the swimming pool. Now, today is not a swimming pool day. But it would have been good if it had been because I know that swimming really just gives me that adrenaline fix and really just helps me feel energized and vibrant.

What I did notice that my husband normally sits in bed drinking coffee whilst I get up and do a workout or whatever it is I do and I just said to him, give me coffee, I want coffee. Normally I don't drink coffee, normally I drink cocoa which is a stimulant but it's a much more gentle stimulant. There are various reasons that I don't drink coffee.

Coffee is good for you, and if you drink coffee, and you enjoy coffee, that's fabulous. I have met lots of women, particularly, you know, in their 40s, who suffer with lack of sleep, and actually cutting out coffee helps them. If that's you, it's worth trying. And it's worth trying for a period of time. I know it feels difficult, but if you think of all the benefits that you potentially can have.

It is a good thing. I actually stopped drinking coffee because I swim in the sea and I have Reynolds, which is where you get blue and white fingers. And somebody said to me, it might help you, it might benefit you, not drinking coffee, see if that helps your hands and feet. Now, I don't know the answer to that because I got a new wetsuit.

At the same time, I'm not sure whether it was the wetsuit, or whether it was the lack of drinking coffee. I have a feeling that it feels a little bit better, but it's a very subjective thing, so it's very difficult to actually tell. I thought I might drink coffee in the summer and not in the winter.

Today, however, I was like, give me coffee. And I can still feel the glassy eyes, even when I've drunk coffee. But one of the other things I did was I stuck to my routine and I did my workout. On Tuesday, I just do like a 15 minute weight workout and then I jump into our swimming pool. We're very lucky to have a swimming pool here in Spain.

Lots of people in Spain have swimming pools, but I know that we're super lucky to have a swimming pool. And that really refreshes me. It really wakes me up. I totally love water. But the combination of doing some exercise, I know that I feel so much better when I have moved my body a little bit, even if it's just a small bit.

Having the cold water, now obviously if you don't have a swimming pool, a cold shower is another way of doing that. And you do have to get used to a cold shower, I guess you have to get used to plunging in a pool, but right now in May it feels relatively warm compared to when I was plunging into it in February.

So a little bit of waking myself up. And then making sure that my breakfast was the same breakfast as normal. Because there is that just temptation to want to wrap yourself up in a blanket when you feel tired. And part of that wrapping yourself up in a blanket is really to say, I'm just going to eat more.

It's just so easy. As a side note, lack of sleep does increase your appetite. Now luckily, I have really worked hard at my habits, I know how much I normally eat. I was aware of just making sure that I ate that. Because I could see myself picking other things, like mindlessly picking. My daughter had tried a slice of, I'd made some cherry slice, and she decided she didn't like it.

there was a slice of cherry slice there, and I thought I could just eat that mindlessly, but I caught myself doing it and thought, no, I'm just going to stick to my routine. And then, I helped my kids walk to school. I walked to school with my kids. They're old enough now to walk by themselves, so I don't walk all the time, but it is a nice way of adding a little bit more movement into my not swing pool day.

I stuck to my morning routine. Now, even though I stuck to my morning routine. I notice that I don't have the same amount of energy as normal, and that's going to impact me all day. On one level it kind of disappears when you're getting on with things and you don't notice it, but I notice that I don't feel as vibrant and as excited and just easy as normal.

And I think that is a very, very subtle difference, and I think a lot of people, people who live with sleep deprivation as a long term thing. They don't notice the reverse. And what I mean by that is they're so used to living in that slight lack of sleep, that slightly, I feel a little bit tired and a little bit drained, that when you have the energy, it's like, oh wow, this is so much better.

If you are somebody who really suffers from lack of sleep, I really urge you to sort this out. It is one of my four pillars. So just to recap my four pillars, four pillars of healthy living, longevity, weight loss, whatever your goal is, the pillars are still the same. Nutrition is pillar one, exercise that lights you up, delicious healthy sleep, and pillar four is emotional wellness, which includes your stress levels and, you know, turning to food for comfort.

So emotional eating. As well as all the other emotions and how we think about things. But sleep has a pillar by itself because it is really, really, really important for your energy levels. It's important if you want to lose weight. It's important for leading a healthy, vibrant life into the future. into your retirement, into, you know, the rest of your life.

And it's important for your health as well. Sleep is super, super important. If you have any questions about sleep, feel free to message me. I have lots of other podcasts about sleep. If you have any questions about sleep, feel free to ask them in the Facebook group. If you're in the Facebook group, fabulous.

If you're listening to the podcast, come and join the Facebook group. Okay, my friends, I hope that was helpful. Just thinking about things that are going on in the background, remember, number one, that you have access to my book, which is called Building Simple Habits to a Healthy Me. And it is It's basically my system, the things that I teach my clients to lose weight and get healthy.

And it has lots of worksheets. The idea is you work through it, and it helps you move through the journey of, of healthy living. Now, it is on Amazon, and you can buy it on Amazon for, I don't know, 10. But to be honest, I only get like one of those dollars, so I decided to make it totally free on my website.

It's the electronic version, it's the PDF version, you can sign up and get it totally free. Have a coffee on me and read the book that's going to change your life. I really urge you to do that. , sign up for the book. If you're interested in working with me and you think, yes, I really want to change my life, I want to get to Healthy Amazing You, then book a call and we will chat.

And lastly, Drum roll please. It is time to start thinking about another free event so soon I will be inviting you to a free event. I have not really started thinking about this yet, so if you have any ideas, then message me and I will take them into consideration. Have a fabulous day. I will be back to my normal, energetic self tomorrow, and I look forward to chatting to you.




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