Sleep Disorders and Weight Gain | Sleep Clinic Services

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Sleep Disorders and Weight Gain


It has long been known that putting on too much weight can lead to serious snoring and other more serious ‘sleep disordered breathing’ (SDB) conditions.   What many people don’t realise is the opposite is also thought to be true.

I.e., SDB contributes to weight gain and obesity.

This can be a vicious cycle.  Weight gain leads to snoring. The snoring disrupts sleep, which retards the metabolism.  The resulting weight gain leads to worsened SDB, and so on in a negative spiral.

What to do?

First, understand the reason.  In a study published in the International Journal of Obesity, scientists from Helsinki University found people who struggled with sleep disorders were significantly more likely to struggle with their weight.

Their conclusion is “Sleep problems likely contribute to weight gain. To prevent major weight gain and obesity, sleep problems need to be taken into account.”

In another done by the University of Colorado, researchers found sleep deprived men put on an average of 2lb / 0.9 kg within one week!  Poor quality sleep because of an SDB condition is one of the leading causes of sleep deprivation.

Exactly how lack of sleep affects our ability to control weight has a lot to do with our hormones.  The two key hormones involved are ghrelin and leptin.

Ghrelin is a ‘go’ hormone. Amongst other things, it tells us to eat.  When we are sleep-deprived our bodies produce more ghrelin.

Leptin is a ‘stop’ hormone. It tells us to stop eating.  When we’re sleep-deprived, we make less leptin.

More ghrelin and less leptin equals weight gain.

And as we already know, weight gain leads to SDB, with the degree of severity typically increasing as weight increases.  

Instead of merely snoring, which in itself is a loud, clear signal the airflow is impaired, the person begins to experience obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), where the airway is literally blocked.

This is because the soft tissue in the upper airway (the tongue, the uvula, the soft palate and the pharyngeal walls) bulk up as we gain weight.  The enlarged soft tissue crowds the airway and when the person falls asleep the tissue sags into the airway, creating an obstruction which prevents the person from inhaling.

This can happen hundreds of times per night.  In most cases, the sufferer is unaware of their condition … because they are asleep when it happens.

If you are overweight and snore, you are in a high risk group for OSA.  

The good news is:  restoring healthy sleep patterns helps with the restoration of a healthy metabolism.  

Get in touch today to arrange your diagnostic sleep study.  It will determine the nature and severity of any SDB condition you have … and treatment is extremely effective and beneficial.

Don’t delay.  Call today.

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