If you’re eating well and exercising regularly, but still struggling to shed excess weight, one possible reason may be that you’re not getting enough sleep. Researchers are finding a link between sleep disorders and weight gain. It can be a vicious cycle that produces more sleep deprivation and packing on more pounds.
“If you don’t sleep well, you can’t get well,” sums up cardiologist and educator at Pritikin, Ronald Scheib, MD, FACC. Sleep disorders cause a wealth of problems, such as daytime fatigue, irritability, headaches, foggy thinking, and the inevitable gaining of weight. And being sleep-deprived make if more difficult to shed excess weight.
Hormones Play a Key Role
How lack of sleep and the disorder known as sleep apnea affect your ability to control weight has everything to do with your bodily hormones. There are three key players that regulate weight gain versus quality of sleep. They include:
- Ghrelin – This is a “go” hormone. It tells a person to go eat, go play, go work, and everything in between. When the sleep apnea sufferer is sleep deprived, that person’s body produces more ghrelin. Often termed the hunger hormone, ghrelin travels through your bloodstream and to your brain, where it tells your brain to become hungry and seek out food.
- Leptin – Leptin is the “stop” hormone. It lets you know when you’re full and satisfied, and that it’s time to stop eating. Lack of sleep produces less leptin and more ghrelin.
- Insulin – Another hormone affected by sleep disorders, insulin attempts to ferry glucose into our cells. If this is blocked by not sleeping well, your body’s cells resist insulins’ efforts and weight is gained. This can even lead to diabetes. Insulin also promotes the release of leptin, therefore being sleep-deprived and your cells rejecting this hormone, it means more eating and more weight gain.
An In-Depth Look at Sleep Apnea
There are numerous reasons people have trouble sleeping well. They can include restless leg syndrome, menopausal hot flashes, but the most serious chronic problem is sleep apnea. Sleep apnea poses the greatest risk due to the cessation of breathing during sleep.
Sleep apnea sufferers literally stop breathing while sleeping for anywhere from 15 seconds to more than a minute – and it can happen dozens of times in one night. With sleep apnea, a person emits a gasping, explosive sound as you struggle to recover breathing, often unaware you’re doing it.
There are causes that may lead to this debilitating sleep disorder. Other than sleep apnea leading to heart failure and sudden death, excess weight seems to be included as a major risk factor. Others are as follows:
- Neck width – A neck size greater than 17.5 inches is one of the simplest predictors of sleep apnea. As the soft tissues of the mouth and palate fall back, temporarily blocking the breathing passages, having a thick neck inhibits the airway’s ability to gain quality breaths.
- A recessed chin – This automatically puts pressure on the throat’s ability to inhale enough oxygen for quality breathing patterns.
- Smoking and alcohol use – These habits lead to blocking lung capacity and diminishing a person’s clarity. Alcohol suppresses the brain’s capacity to rationalize and gain control of sleep cycles. Loaded with sugar, the inflammatory aspects of alcohol wreak havoc on sound sleep. And prolonged smoking causes breathing problems, plain and simple.
- Being age 40 or older – Age has an ability to create a host of hormonal issues for both men and women, not to mention the slowing down of the body’s energetic resources needed to maintain a decent restful night.
Dr. Dailey Has Your Solution
Shedding pounds takes time, and sleep deprivation hampers weight loss efforts. Once a patient is able to sleep well with the help of a sleep professional, chances of losing weight improve substantially. The benefits of discovering special sleep testing and therapies with our Ann Arbor, MI dentist and sleep expert are discussed with you to make certain a diagnosis can be treated. Enjoying countless night’s of proper sleep is why we’re here to help you.
Visit Dr. Dailey Today!
Dr. Dailey is committed to your care of finding solutions in helping with any sleep discomforts you may have. Getting a good night’s rest is the most important reason why we do what we do. Call our office and schedule a visit with Dr. Dailey and the entire Ann Abor, MI team. We’ll work with you to leave your sleep apnea behind, once and for all.