Weight

Sleep Apnea and Weight Management

Summary: Are you having trouble managing your weight because everything seems to be too hard? Sleep management and weight management go hand in hand; addressing one issue will improve the other. This blog talks about the problems that are caused by sleep apnea and how it relates to weight gain.

Trying to keep a healthy weight sometimes seems next to impossible. As impossible, in fact, as getting a good, restorative sleep can also seem to be. Did you know that obesity and sleep apnea are linked? Excess body weight is one of the things that makes it hard to breathe at night, but ironically, a good night’s sleep is key to weight management.


A Chicken and Egg Problem

Doctor’s usually recommend that patients lose weight when their body mass index is above 25. Being overweight is not uncommon among North American adults. Neither are sleep disorders. Overweight adults usually suffer from sleep disorders and those diagnosed with sleep apnea are commonly overweight. We already know the health risks associated with obesity, but sleep apnea is also very dangerous.

Losing weight can help with sleep apnea because excess fat tissue is one of the health issues that causes the breathing tubes to close and obstruct the airways. When you don’t breathe when you are asleep, your brain will wake you up to take a breath before sending you back to sleep. Sometimes the sleeper wakes up as often as 20 or 30 times an hour and this results in excessive tiredness. Waking this many times in the night leads to headaches, high blood pressure, lowered oxygen levels, depression and loss of energy. With these problems already occurring, it is difficult to find the motivation to manage a weight loss regime.

Surprisingly, many people don’t even know they have sleep apnea. Those small wakes in the middle of the night disrupt sleep but the sleeper often doesn’t realize it, so they may not connect it with the problems making weight loss harder than it needs to be. In fact, lack of sleep makes people gain weight because of hormonal imbalances and without sleep, our bodies do not operate at peak efficiency in order to burn fat. Specific hormones manage hunger and appetite. When these hormones, leptin and ghrelin, are out of balance, insulin levels become affected. You feel more hungry and crave sugars and carbohydrates, which the body can’t manage due to lack of sleep.

This isn’t meant to make sufferers with both problems feel that there is no hope. Being aware and facing up to both issues can be big help in managing weight and sleep disorders. The chicken and egg conundrum works in reverse too. A small weight loss can improve sleep and improved sleep can help control weight.

For a better night’s sleep, see your sleep specialist for a CPAP machine. CPAP therapy has helped sleep apnea sufferers to sleep through the night for longer and longer stretches without waking. Continuous positive airway pressure keeps the airways open so that you can sleep, and when you get a better rest, your sleep apnea can improve and most importantly, all the negative symptoms associated with sleep apnea and getting improper rest will improve as well.

For more information about how CPAP therapy can help with weight management, talk to a sleep specialist about having a sleep study completed and the products that will help you sleep better. Sleep apnea is common, and help is available from CPAP Solutions.

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