More than 30% of Americans are obese, that is with a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than 30. Studies suggest that as we become more sedentary and our caloric intake increases, obesity will reach epidemic proportions in the future. At the same time, we are also sleeping less, and sleep deprivation is becoming a common problem as well. With these trends in mind, researchers have begun studying the effects of sleep disorders and sleep deprivation on weight gain.
Does My Snoring Cause Me to Gain Weight?
Obstructive Sleep Apnea occurs when the softer tissues of the upper airway collapse and close off the airway. A relatively small collapse can cause snoring and generally increases the required breathing effort. Full closure of the airway may prevent breathing for extended periods and lead to significant drops in the blood oxygen supply, or hypoxia. The brain detects the hazardous state and temporarily wakes up, allowing you to gasp for air. These arousals are generally too short for one to remember in the morning, but their effects are profound. The fragmented and poor sleep quality can prevent you from reaching the most restorative sleep stages, which can lead to daytime sleepiness and lack of energy.
Why am I Always Hungry?
Recently, researchers have begun studies in laboratories on the effects of sleep deprivation and the increased risk of obesity and weight gain. A study from the University of Chicago studied healthy, young students that were sleep deprived for six nights in a row. They found a number of metabolic changes, including decreased glucose tolerance and decreased insulin sensitivity. In addition, the subjects had increased levels of Ghrelin and decreased levels of Leptin. Ghrelin is a hormone that increases appetite and Leptin is a hormone that decreases appetite. Even after short periods of sleep deprivation, the young students had increased hunger and appetite.
Improve Your Sleep and Lose Weight
There are numerous treatments for Sleep Disorders readily available from accredited sleep medicine programs. Therapeutic options include Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT), medications, and other specific treatments.
Data suggests that by effectively treating Sleep Disorders and improving sleep quality, individuals have a greater success in reaching their weight loss goals.