Being significantly overweight or
obese is one of the major
contributing factors to obstructive sleep
apnea, a condition in which a person stops breathing for short periods
throughout the night.
overweight people store some of their extra fat in deposits around the
neck and face. This fat presses in on the face and throat, which narrows the airway and restricts
breathing. As obstructive
sleep apnea (OSA) is caused by obstructions of the airways,
this extra fat can be the cause of the condition or it can make an
existing condition much worse.
is why one of the first things doctors will recommend after diagnosing
a patient with obstructive sleep apnea is that they try to lose weight
through strict dieting and exercise as part of their overall treatment
for the condition.
The treatments for obstructive sleep apnea and weight loss usually go
hand in hand, but the problem is that this sleeping disorder can make it much more difficult
to lose weight. Additionally, sleep apnea and weight gain
are also quite closely related, as most research shows people suffering
from OSA are almost twice
as likely to gain weight as those who sleep normally.
between Sleep Apnea and Weight Loss/Gain
correlations between sleep apnea and weight loss/gain have been well
documented for years. However, there is one problem with sleep apnea
and weight loss that has only recently come to light.
shown that all forms of
sleep deprivation, whether caused by sleep apnea, another
sleeping disorder, or a simple lack of quality sleep, can make it much more difficult to lose weight.
fact, sleep deprivation can actually release certain hormones
that trigger the body to put on the pounds.
it would seem that
sleep apnea and weight gain are actually closely related in a way that
makes each condition negatively affect the other.
A 2009 study performed by researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden
showed that having sleep apnea or another sleeping disorder which
degrades the quality of sleep can strongly affect a person’s metabolism
and cause changes in the level of two
Sleep deprivation seems
to increase the level of the hormone called ghrelin, which
triggers our appetite and feelings of hunger. It also makes the body
more resistant to the effects of leptin,
the hormone responsible for appetite suppression and feeling full,
explaining the strong link between obesity and sleep apnea.
similar studies have shown such a strong correlation between sleep
apnea and weight gain that suggests that individuals who receive five
or fewer hours of quality sleep per night are almost twice
as likely to
start gaining weight as those individuals who receive an adequate
amount of sleep. This seems to be solely down to the effect that a lack
of sleep has on energy levels and on the metabolism.
It also seems that people who
are continually sleep deprived have other
problems when trying to lose weight.
a person who receives
adequate sleep attempts to lose weight by restricting their daily
calorie intake, the result is that their body starts to burn their fat
deposits to provide the remaining necessary
when a sleep deprived person tries to lose weight through the same
method, their body will actually be much more likely to burn muscle
than fat, which can be incredibly unhealthy.
Still, that same Karolinska Institute study also showed by that nearly
60 percent of patients who went on a calorie restricted
diet showed an
improvement in their sleep apnea symptoms. While their
body may have
been burning more muscle than fat at the beginning of the diet, their
energy levels increased as their sleeping improved, and soon they were
starting to burn fat and sleep much better.
Some people have been trying for years to lose weight with little to no
effect, and now doctors are starting to see that the reason behind
their inability to lose weight may have more to do with their quality
of sleep than anything else. In fact, patients are more often sent to a
specialist when they simply cannot lose weight
even when severely restricting their caloric intake.
The simple fact of the matter is that even though our metabolism slows
down while we sleep, we should still be burning a decent amount of
calories during the night. However, in people suffering from
obstructive sleep apnea, weight loss can be nearly impossible because
the condition causes
their metabolism to almost ground to a halt while
sleeping. Therefore, for some people it may only be possible to start
losing weight after starting to undergo a sleep
apnea treatment such as
Once a person starts sleeping better
and eliminates their sleep
deprivation, it will then be much easier for them to begin to lose
weight as their metabolism will start to come back in line with that of
a normal person.
even though being overweight may be one of the
major causes of sleep apnea, it may actually be necessary to first
treat the sleep apnea before starting on a weight loss
it seems that targeting
both problems at the same time is the
most effective treatment method for overweight people with sleep apnea.
Losing weight will definitely improve your sleep apnea symptoms, while
sleeping better will also improve your energy levels and boost your
it definitely won't be easy, restricting your calorie
intake and exercising more frequently should make sleeping through the
night easier, and eventually reduce or even eliminate your symptoms of
could take a lot of
effort and determination, but in time you could soon be
much slimmer and also able to breathe
freely through the night.
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