Sleep has a vital role in your health and well-being – your brain actually requires sleep for survival. People who get enough sleep at night are more mentally alert and physically responsive during the day. However, not everyone gets enough of it to keep their body functioning properly.
Stress, disease, and alcohol use are just some of the factors that affect sleep. Moreover, there is another factor that people often overlook: weight.
Effects of Weight on Sleep
People who are overweight or obese are at risk of developing serious health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. They also have shorter cycles of deep sleep and REM sleep.
This decrease in sleep stages results in the following complications:
1. Slower Metabolism Means Less Sleep
A lack of sleep negatively affects your body’s metabolic functions. This often results in decreased glucose tolerance and alteration of the appetite-regulating hormone.
You often feel hungrier when you have less sleep – so you eat more, and you therefore gain weight, which continues to disrupt your metabolism – causing a vicious cycle. It leads, again, to sleeping less and eating more.
2. Disturbed Sleep and Snoring
Snoring occurs when airflow passes awkwardly through your relaxed throat tissues, causing the tissues to vibrate while you breathe. When you snore loudly, you can actually wake yourself up. It is a common problem and affects people of all ages, but it is more common in people who are overweight.
3. Sleep Apnea
Overweight or obese individuals have a higher risk of developing sleep apnea. This is a severe sleep disorder wherein you repeatedly stop and start breathing while you sleep.
There are three types: obstructive, central, and complex.
● Obstructive sleep apnea is the more common form. It happens when the throat muscles relax, thereby causing a narrowing or closing (obstruction) of your airways. The brain senses the lack of oxygen in your blood, waking you up briefly. You may snort, choke, or gasp when it happens, and it repeats itself a number of times each hour. Because of this, you may not reach deep sleep.
● Central sleep apnea happens when your brain forgets to send signals to your breathing muscles. Therefore, you do not breathe for a short period while you sleep. You may suddenly wake up short of breath and have trouble going to sleep and staying asleep.
● Complex sleep apnea syndrome is the combination of obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.
4. Restless Legs Syndrome
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a movement disorder where you have an irresistible urge to move your legs. Severe RLS can result in insomnia, because it keeps you awake and causes a lack of sleep. Research has shown that significant weight gain increases the possibility of having this disorder.
Excessive weight gain or obesity is detrimental to your health and well-being. It is best to seek medical assistance if you suspect that you are suffering from sleep problems due to your weight.
Sleep Specialists in Weatherford, Texas
Losing weight can help to decrease the possibility of having sleeping problems. Our sleep specialists at Lung & Sleep Specialists of North Texas can help you get back to achieving quality sleep for a healthier body.
Get the best care for your sleep problems and book an appointment with us by calling (817) 594-9993. You can also skip the phone lines and book an appointment. We look forward to helping you on your road to better health and better sleep.