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Is sleep apnea causing me to gain weight?

weight gain cause by OSAYou are tired, overweight, and are experiencing great difficulty making it through the day without taking a nap. While these symptoms could relate to a number of  disorders, you may suspect that sleep apnea is the root cause of your problems. Perhaps you have already been diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Either way, you are interested in the connection between weight gain and apnea.

In recent years, numerous studies have been published noting the correlation between the two. Most studies suggest that up to 80% of sleep apnea suffers are obese. So there you have it, being overweight causes sleep apnea. Case closed – or is it?

While there is no denying that the two are correlated, most people assume that overeating is the primary cause of sleep apnea. Could it be possible that sleep apnea is causing you to gain weight? Yes, it’s a possibility.

How sleep apnea can cause you to be overweight

weight gain apnea

Sleep deprivation could cause unhealthy food cravings

While there are several theories that provide an explanation, one theory involves the bodies response to being sleep deprived. With sleep apnea, your body awakens you throughout the entire night so that you can breathe. This may happen several times per hour without you even knowing what has happened. As a result, you wake up in the morning feeling exhausted, regardless of the number of hours you slept the night before.

Throughout the day your body craves caffeine and high calorie fatty, sugary foods that give you a burst of energy. Once consumed, instant energy gets you through until the next snack. All day, every day you are enticed by “junk foods” because your mind has been trained to seek these types of food in order to make it through the day. Naturally, while in distress, your body stores this fat for future use. As a result your waistline expands and in many cases, sleep apnea worsens. The cycle continues as you pack on more pounds, day after day.

rem sleepOne other factor that plays a role in weight gain and apnea is the lack of REM sleep. You may recall the 5 stages of sleep from a health class sometime in the past. In short, the 5th stage of sleep is known as Rapid Eye Movement or REM. At this stage the mind is most active and is also the time period when most “dreaming” occurs. This is also the stage of sleep when calories are rapidly burned. Sleep apnea suffers rarely enter into this stage of sleep and when (if) they do, they are abruptly awoken due to lack of oxygen. The inability to fall into deep sleep prevents calories from being burned rapidly.

So which one is it?

which oneSo does being overweight cause OSA or does OSA cause one to be overweight. The answer to this question depends on the individual. For those who do gain weight due to OSA, weight gain can become a vicious cycle that leads to more weight gain. With more weight gain the symptoms of sleep Apnea worsen.

Kath Hope, owner of Hope 2 sleepa company dedicated to educating the public about sleep apnea while offering unique CPAP accessories for sale, wrote an excellent blog post sharing her experience with weight loss after starting CPAP treatment. She also mentions others who had similar experiences with weight loss once treated for OSA. In such cases, sleep apnea can be the cause of weight gain.

In other cases, the two may be unrelated or perhaps over consumption of food may be the root cause of sleep apnea.

Before pointing the finger, take a few moments to reflect upon your past in order to draw your own conclusion. Ask yourself if you have always been a sleepy person or has your tiredness recently begun after rapid weight gain? Are there any other factors that may have contributed to your weight gain? Have you tried adjusting your diet by reducing calories and fat intake and are still unable to lose weight? If you have recently lost weight do you still wake up feeling tired?

It is important to remain honest with yourself while answering these questions. By thinking back, perhaps years, you may discover the answer to this question on your own.

In some cases the answer may not be so clear. Understanding which one is causing the other can present a challenge, especially if you are currently sleep deprived and are unable to think with a clear mind.

In short, don’t jump to the conclusion that your weight gain is caused by sleep apnea but at the same time don’t discount the idea that OSA could be the cause or a contributing factor to your weight gain. They are both possibilities that should be examined.


SleepTight Treats Mild to Moderate OSA In Adults

sleeptight creamThe SleepTight Mouthpiece was designed by Dr. Michael Williams and is one of the few inexpensive MAD’s that has been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of snoring and mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea in adults. Very few economy mouthpiece manufacturers are able to make this claim. Its dual laminate design ensures a tight fit that will last up to 24 months. The SleepTight can be purchased online for a fraction of the cost charged by most dentists and can be fitted at home in only a few minutes.  Here are a few key points to consider:

  • Designed By a US Dentist With Over 30 Years of Experience
  • Cleared By the FDA To Treat Mild To Moderate OSA In Adults
  • Extra Large Breather Hole
  • Solid 1 Piece Design
  • Custom Molds To Your Mouth In Less Than 5 Mins
  • BPA & Latex free
  • Comes With A 30 Day Guarantee
  • Exclusive Buy 1 Get 1 Free Offer to Snoring MouthPiece Guide Readers
  • 2 for $88 Including Shipping (Must Click On “Visit SleepTight” Before Ordering)

Read my complete review of the SleepTight.

Which mouthpiece should I buy?

The anti-snoring mouthpiece is one of the most highly effective stop snoring solutions available. With over 100 different products to choose from, deciding which one to buy can be challenging.

As a snorer and product reviewer, I have tried many of these devices and created a list of recommended devices that will help to make this decision much easier.

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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Rick Tufts January 19, 2014, 4:09 pm

    I think it is far more likely that poor food choices and lack of exercise are causing sleep apnea and weight gain simultaneously. Traditional sleep apnea treatments like CPAP are needed for immediate relief but eating less processed food, more vegetables, drinking more water, less alcohol and more exercise are going to solve the real problem.
    I had a client with asthma & sleep apnea. I had him start juicing organic vegetable juice and put more fiber in his diet.
    Both the asthma & sleep apnea went away.
    Rick Tufts
    Nutritionist
    Toronto

    • Robert Thomas January 23, 2014, 6:12 pm

      Rick,

      I agree. In fact the American College of Physicians now recommends weight loss as a first line of defense against OSA.

      Some say that losing weight while suffering from OSA can be a challenge because your body constantly seeks high calorie foods to produce energy. One of the symptoms of sleep apnea is tiredness because your sleep is constantly interrupted. People with untreated OSA seek empty calorie foods for quick energy to wake them up. Breaking the cycle can be very difficult but it all starts with proper diet and exercise.

      Great to hear that your client was able to reverse their asthma and sleep apnea. Every day I hear of similar stories which are very encouraging.

      Thanks for contributing.

      Bob

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