Can Sleep Apnea Affect Your Weight?

Getting the appropriate amount of sleep each night is imperative to keeping your body working as efficiently as possible. Regular, quality sleep promotes the body's immune system, focus, and mood. While we're asleep, our bodies use that time to recover from the previous day and perform the maintenance that keeps us functional. If this time is interrupted, immune health, our focus, mood, and metabolism can see a decline. 

Sleep apnea

The Dangers of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a dangerous sleep disorder in which breathing starts and stops. Apart from the dangers associated with your breathing stopping in the middle of the night, sleep apnea bears the risk of experiencing a variety of other life-threatening conditions such as:

  • Weight gain/Obesity
  • Hypertension/Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes

The Importance of a Goodnight's Sleep

Most people probably don't connect breathing and their weight, but interrupted breathing (like in cases of sleep apnea) during the night can have implications for your metabolism. For example, if your airway becomes blocked while you're sleeping (either from gravity pulling your tongue back and blocking your airway or from your sleeping posture cinching your airway), it can cause you to wake up gasping for air and choking. This sequence of events is commonly referred to as Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Interruptions like this interfere with the natural progression of sleep cycles. Frequent sleep cycle interruptions can lead to long-term sleep deprivation, causing your metabolism to fluctuate and potentially cause weight gain. 

Sleep and Weight

Because metabolic regulation largely occurs while you're asleep, sleep apnea can limit the body's ability to operate efficiently. 

Consequently, weight gain also causes breathing problems, creating a feedback loop that can grow out of control quickly. This combination can result in sleep apnea, in which you can experience:

  • Weight gain
  • Difficulty losing weight
  • Diabetes

The sleep apnea-weight gain cycle is particularly dangerous because weight gain can lead to obesity, which is also a significant contributor to sleep apnea. 

Excess body weight can lead to fatty deposits putting pressure on the airways. This pressure contributes to sleep apnea risk. Pressure on the airways can lead to weakened lung control and even collapse. Additional fatty tissue can decrease lung volume and make it hard to breathe even while a person is awake.

How Can the Center for Exceptional Dentistry Help You Sleep?

Sleep interruptions, lack of oxygen, weight gain, and obesity are all causes and effects of sleep apnea. Without treatment, the effects of sleep apnea can quickly grow out of control and worsen the condition further. 

Dr. Firouzi has a tremendous amount of experience treating sleep disorders for groups of all ages. If you or your child is experiencing difficulty sleeping, it may be the result of undiagnosed sleep apnea. If you would like to learn more about options for treatment, call Dr. Firouzi today at (412) 274-1126 or visit our contact page here.

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