We know that being overweight isn’t healthy, and we also know that a lack of sleep is also unhealthy. Neither of these facts are too surprising.
The question is, what is the exact relationship between sleep apnea and gaining weight? That’s a little more difficult to answer. The reality is that “it’s complicated.”
Does sleep apnea contribute to weight gain, or does weight gain contribute to sleep apnea? It’s quite the “chicken and the egg” conundrum!
In this article, we’re going to share some thoughts on sleep apnea, weight gain, and the complex relationship between these two dangerous (and often related) issues that go hand in hand.
First things first: How sleep apnea can contribute to weight gain
One of the main theories regarding the relationship between sleep apnea and weight gain is that sleep apnea causes sleep deprivation, which can release hormones that cause us to carry a bigger appetite and eat more food, packing on the pounds in the process.
In fact, when your body doesn’t get the amount of sleep that it requires, the body produces more Ghrelin, which is a hormone that is known to stimulate hunger. In addition to an uptick in Ghrelin production, the body also decreases the amount of Leptin it produces, which is responsible for signaling to the brain that your body doesn’t require anymore food.
Here’s a link to the article to learn more about the relationship between sleep apnea, weight gain, and hormones:
If you aren’t sleeping well, it can lead to weight gain, which of course is something you want to avoid, as obesity is highly correlated with a variety of serious medical conditions.
Here’s how weight gain can lead to sleep apnea
While sleep apnea can clearly lead to weight gain, the reverse is also true.
When a person gains weight, more “effort” is required just to stay alive. An overweight or obese person taxes their body excessively, which is why many overweight individuals are constantly “catching their breath.”
When a person has higher levels of body fat, breathing becomes more of a challenge, which can lead to apnea episodes, and eventually a diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea.
In fact, a person’s risk for sleep apnea increases as they gain weight according to this article from the National Sleep Foundation. So the answer is clear: as you put on more weight, you are at a higher risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea, and by default also developing some of the serious health issues that go along with it.
The bottom line: Get tested for sleep apnea
We can discuss the science behind the relationship between sleep apnea and weight gain all day long, but the application is actually quite simple; if you aren’t sleeping well, it can lead to a whole host of health issues including:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Chronic fatigue
- Daytime sleepiness
And so much more. If you aren’t sleeping well, or if you find yourself waking up during the night gasping for air, we encourage you to contact our location nearest you (Babylon Dental Care at Great South Bay or Babylon Dental Care at Gateway Plaza).
While snoring or losing out on a little sleep may seem harmless enough, it can actually be very dangerous and have significant effects on your long term health and wellbeing. At Babylon Dental Care, we offer at-home sleep apnea testing as well as oral appliance therapy; meaning you can get the sleep apnea treatment you need without CPAP.
So give our location nearest you a call today to schedule your sleep apnea consultation.