Do you have sleep apnea? If you do, it could be the reason you are gaining weight. Once you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, you can take the right steps toward treatment and losing weight. Continual sleep deprivation can undermine weight loss efforts just as much as eating that Big Mac from McDonalds can. If you’ve ever thought, why isn’t the weight coming off? It might be time to see if sleep apnea is the culprit and finally find a solution.

Sleep is Important

When we are sleep deprived, everything goes haywire. It has been shown that we can eat as many as 550 extra calories a day when we are experiencing a lack of sleep. This is because sleep influences levels of hormones that affect our feelings of hunger and fullness. We crave even more carbs when we lose out on sleep. And even if you cut back on calories, sleep deprivation gets in the way and makes it harder to lose the weight.

We know it can often be difficult to get the recommended amount of sleep a night. From a never-ending to-do list to the glowing screens of our computers, phones and tablets, sleep might be the last thing on your list, but it is important to make time. And if you have sleep apnea, it is even more important to seek treatment so you can finally get the rest you need.

Weight Can Lead to Sleep Apnea

The biggest factor in sleep apnea is your weight. Weight gain typically causes sleep apnea, not the other way around. Extra weight means more fat in the throat area, which obstructs breathing. And when obesity occurs, sleep apnea can only worsen it, leaving a person chronically sleep deprived, adding to weight. If you put on more pounds, it can continue to worsen your sleep apnea symptoms.

Weight loss can significantly improve, and potentially eliminate, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) symptoms in people that are obese. When people with severe OSA lose the recommended amount of weight, it has been found that they were three times more likely to experience remission of sleep apnea symptoms compared to those who did not lose any weight at all.

Most patients with sleep apnea are overweight, but that doesn’t always mean everyone is obese. Some are, while some might not be—that’s what can make a diagnosis tricky. By losing weight you can eliminate fat that blocks the windpipe, which will not only fix your sleep complications, but can also help with:

  • Cholesterol
  • Knee pain
  • Fit of your clothes
  • Overall feeling of yourself

It has even been found that moderate to severe sleep apnea can be completely corrected by losing excess weight. And, for others, even a small amount of weight loss can open up the throat and improve sleep apnea symptoms.

Start Losing Weight Today

Losing weight can help improve and even reverse sleep apnea. So, guess what? Losing about 10 percent of excess weight can lower sleep apnea severity by at least 30%. This can result in fewer apnea events throughout the night. And, getting your sleep apnea under control can help you shed some extra pounds, too. The bottom line is that treating sleep apnea is vital to your health and sleeping patterns.

Contact Dr. Sara at AZ Sleep & TMJ Solutions to learn more about weight loss and sleep apnea in North Scottsdale.