Have you recently been told you snore loudly? Do you feel lately like you wake up every morning still feeling tired? Have you put on more than a few pounds over the last several months, but you can’t figure out why? Do you want to exercise but can’t seem to find the energy to do it? If this sounds like you, then you may have sleep apnea.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a disruption of air flow into the lungs lasting longer than ten seconds. This means you stop breathing. Ten seconds of not breathing won’t kill you, but for sufferers of sleep apnea this stopping and starting of breathing usually occurs several times during the night. The outcome of experiencing this continuously disruptive sleep pattern is constant fatigue, falling asleep at inappropriate times during the day, loud snoring, morning headaches, difficulty paying attention, memory loss and weight gain.
How is weight gain related to sleep apnea?
Weight gain can be both a cause and a result of sleep apnea. Let’s start by looking at how it can cause it. Sleep apnea is often the result of the soft tissues around the throat relaxing and partially blocking the airway as you sleep. This increases if you lie on your back because gravity helps to pull that soft tissue down even more. Weight gain makes the neck heavier and thicker. This increases the risk of soft tissue collapsing and blocking the airway. Have you ever noticed that you snore more when you gain a few pounds?
Studies show that weight gain can also be a result of sleep apnea. This isn’t surprising purely from a common sense standpoint. Less sleep makes you feel tired and lacking in energy, so you are much less likely to exercise. Scientifically, studies have also shown that sleep apnea seems to suppress the hormones that help control your body’s appetite, so sleep apnea sufferers might crave not only more food, but also unhealthier foods.
What can you do if you think your weight gain is related to sleep apnea?
If what you read seems to describe your experiences, then call a sleep disorder dentist and schedule a sleep study. The exam is painless, and sleep apnea treatments are often very successful. Imagine finally sleeping well, gaining more energy and maybe even shedding a few pounds.