How Sleep Apnea Causes Weight Gain
Not only can gaining weight cause sleep apnea, but sleep apnea can also cause weight gain. In some cases, people were not overweight before having sleep apnea, but sleep apnea caused them to gain weight. Additionally, those who were already overweight, then have a hard time losing weight and end up gaining more weight.
The reason sleep apnea causes weight gain is because sleep apnea affects the hunger hormones. For instance, sleep apnea sufferers tend to have decreased leptin and increased ghrelin levels. Leptin is the appetite suppression hormone while ghrelin is the appetite-stimulating hormone. As a result, someone with sleep apnea would feel hungry more often and crave calorie-dense foods. This would lead to overeating and, therefore, weight gain.
In addition to affecting hunger hormones, sleep apnea also causes daytime sleepiness. After you have a poor night of sleep, the last thing you want to do is exercise. Well, imagine a poor night of sleep night after night. Your exercise regimen will go out the window.
The combination of poor eating habits with a lack of exercise results in inevitable weight gain. Losing weight becomes very challenging for those with sleep apnea due to these side effects.