Sleep Apnea and Obesity: The Food Connection

The-technology-of-sleep-or Fighting Sleep Apnea
The-technology-of-sleep-or Fighting Sleep Apnea (Photo credit: larryosan)

If you are suffering from sleep apnea, it may be time to take a closer look at the connection between sleep apnea and obesity. While lack of sleep won’t directly cause the body to gain weight, there are many indirect factors that can lead to weight gain, making it much harder to lose or maintain your weight.

Here are some of the most important connections to be aware of.

Sleep Apnea and Hunger

Since sleep apnea is a condition where you are awakening frequently throughout the night and never getting a fully restful sleep, you’re going to have much of the same impact on your overall health and wellness if you had only slept for a very short period of time – much closer to three or four hours rather than the eight hours you may be spending in your bed.

Those who do not sleep enough hours throughout the night typically experience increased hunger levels. Despite the fact that there is not much higher energy expenditure throughout the day, your body will still feel hunger, causing you to want to consume more calories.

Since excess calories are directly correlated with weight gain, this makes for a very challenging situation for someone attempting to maintain their body weight.

Sleep Apnea and Carbohydrate Requirements

Next, you have to also think about the carbohydrate requirements. As the brain operates on glucose, when it’s constantly being awakened throughout the night there is going to be a higher level of consciousness than if you had been in a deep sleep, therefore your carbohydrate requirements may go up.

This doesn’t necessarily mean your overall energy levels increase as indicated above, but this is yet another factor that can lead to you craving carbohydrates more frequently throughout the day.

Since carbohydrates are the nutrient that tends to be easy to overconsume on, again, you’re going to be looking at difficulty with weight management because of this.

Sleep Apnea and Energy Levels

If you ever had only a few hours of sleep, you already know the impact it has on your energy levels. Now imagine going through this day after day. This is what it can be like when you have a sleep disorder.

Most individuals with this issue are extremely fatigued and the thought of exercise is rather unappealing. They may have difficulty sticking to a regular exercise schedule and may often quit altogether.

Obesity as a Cause

Finally, it’s also important to note that obesity can also be a contributing factor. The vast majority of those who do suffer from sleep apnea are already in the overweight category, and often the process of losing weight can help the individual recover from the condition.

As the condition continues, the weight gain often gets worse – the cycle just keeps repeating itself.

So if you’re suffering from sleep apnea, it’s time to take action immediately. Talk to your doctor about what you can do and make sure you’re doing your best to eat properly and create healthy night-time habits.

Vianesa Vargas is a recognized weight loss expert and former fitness trainer with over 15 years’ experience helping individuals to make better food choices for life. Sign up for her newsletter at now and get your free weight loss planner.

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