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How Weight Gain Affects Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea and excess weight are closely related. In fact, they work together in a vicious circle that can sometimes be difficult to break. This cycle is most often observed in people over the age of forty but it can occur at any point in life, including childhood. The good news is that the cycle can be broken, especially with help from a medical professional.

Lack of Sleep


Very few people get the recommended eight to nine hours of sleep that our bodies need. It is during sleep that the body repairs itself. All your organs rest and renew cells during sleep. It is also during the sleep cycle that hormones affecting hunger balance.

Two hormones – ghrelin and leptin – are the main messengers to your brain. Ghrelin sends a message to go eat while leptin tells your brain it is full so stop eating. It has been discovered that when you are lacking sleep, your body produces a greater amount of ghrelin and less leptin. This is why you tend to eat more when you are tired.

Weight Gain

Sleep apnea can be caused by a variety of factors, but being overweight is the most common one. When we gain weight, we do so in every area, including our necks. With sleep apnea, enough oxygen isn’t taken in through the windpipe because something is normally blocking it. This can be due to large tonsils or an enlarged uvula. It can also be the result of a windpipe that has become narrowed because of excess fat.

With sleep apnea, you wake or partially wake several times a night. Even if you do not completely wake up, your sleep cycle is disrupted. This causes your body not to feel rested the next day. You may end up eating more sugar or turn to beverages that have caffeine and sugar to help you feel alert. This often makes you even more hungry. This is added to the hormonal problems that occur with less sleep and you end up eating more. This adds weight, creating the issues that add to sleep apnea.

Preventative Care

People who have lost as little as 10% of their body weight have found that their sleep apnea improves. If the apnea has been caused by excess weight, a further reduction can see the sleep apnea disappearing. Once the sleep apnea disappears, a good night’s sleep becomes possible. This allows the body to refresh and heal and allows the levels of ghrelin and leptin to stabilize. Ultimately, this regulates your hunger, allowing you to continue losing until you reach a healthy weight. You virtually reverse the wheel.

Get In Touch With Weight Loss and Wellness Center

If you are worried about your weight gain or have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, each day you wait can put your health at greater risk. Here at the Weight Loss and Wellness Center, we want to give you a chance at a long, healthy life.

Contact us today for an evaluation and be on the road to easier breathing, a slimmer body, and a brighter future tomorrow. Don’t wait another day!

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