Sleep Apnea and Your Weight: A Vicious Cycle
Being overweight can put you at higher risk for many different health issues. Managing weight alone is already stressful and suffering from sleep apnea only adds to the stress. Weight gain is a primary symptom of sleep apnea, but sleep apnea is a symptom of obesity as well. One study found nearly 45 percent of obese men suffer from sleep apnea, compared to about 25 percent of the general male population.
Unfortunately, stress and lack of sleep cause you to gain weight, and it leads to excess weight around your throat and can block your airway. This draining cycle of symptoms can make it hard to escape your sleep apnea without professional treatment. In addition to supporting a lifestyle designed to keep excess weight at bay, at Kew Dental Sleepcare, Dr. Bergida provides treatment for sleep apnea.
Losing Weight Can Help Curb Sleep Apnea
Finding relief for your sleep apnea starts with healthier personal habits. Weight loss is the most effective method of managing your symptoms. The American College of Physicians recommends losing weight as the first treatment for sleep apnea.
A 2009 study by the Karolinska Institute in Sweden observed male sleep apnea patients who restricted their diets for nine weeks. The results showed a 58 percent improvement in symptoms during that time.
Thankfully, your risk of having other conditions connected to sleep apnea, like diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular issues, is also reduced when you lose weight. Weight loss benefits all parts of your life, including your sleep quality.
Healthy Ways To Lose Weight
Finding ways to shed weight can be intimidating. It can be confusing to decide on a weight loss plan that still allows you to enjoy your life. Many doctors recommend starting by changing your diet. Diet restrictions or healthier meal and snack choices can lead to weight loss.
However, it’s crucial to avoid fad diets — the short-term, improbable meal plans that claim to help you lose weight faster. Weight loss is not easy and requires a long-term commitment to a healthier lifestyle.
Your doctor will also recommend exercise as a way to lose weight. Starting with light exercises like stretching or walking is an effective way to build your endurance and strength. As time goes on, you’ll be able to take on more strenuous exercises like yoga or running. These methods don’t just make for a healthier lifestyle — they can lead to a better night’s sleep, too.
Making Weight Loss Fun
To many, the hardest part of losing weight is getting started. However, keeping off excess weight should not be a miserable, tedious experience. You don’t need to spend hours at the gym—small daily changes can make a huge difference. A short walk after meals or stretches first thing in the morning can be an easy way to incorporate movement into your daily routine.
No two people are the same and neither should their weight loss plan—filling your day with activities that make you happy and excited will make exercise more fun. If you find that lack of social interaction makes working out challenging, know that exercise doesn’t have to be done alone either. Group exercise classes, virtual challenges, or digital lessons can help you feel motivated to get active.
Dieting is also intimidating for many people. Fortunately, there are many resources available for creating a new relationship with food. Food should fill you with energy and make you feel satisfied as opposed to stuffed. Studies show that at least 27% of adults turn to food when stressed. If food is a go-to comfort for you, unpacking the reasons why through journaling or speaking with a dietitian can be helpful. Additionally, having a hearty, yet healthy meal as opposed to heavily processed, junk food can not only help manage emotional eating in a healthy way but also prevent adding extra calories to your daily intake.
Cooking can be cathartic, healthy, and a way to take control of your health and weight. Online resources like cookbooks, videos, and classes can introduce you to new recipes and ingredients, so you’ll enjoy dieting instead of dreading it. Even as a beginner, simple home-cooked meals throughout the week can help prevent excess weight.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does sleep apnea cause weight gain?
Sleep apnea can lead to poor sleep quality which often results in weight gain. At the same time, having excess weight, especially in the neck area, can narrow your airway when you lie down and worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea. The relationship between sleep apnea and weight gain can become a vicious cycle. That’s why Dr. Bergida recommends that patients who suffer from sleep apnea make active and healthy lifestyle choices.
Does sleep apnea go away?
Unfortunately, sleep apnea very rarely goes away without specialized treatment or significant lifestyle changes. In milder cases of sleep apnea, healthy lifestyle adjustments like exercising more and eating a healthier diet may be sufficient in eliminating symptoms. But for most patients, our experienced sleep dentist will recommend a customized oral appliance to reduce snoring and help manage your sleep apnea.
Visit Dr. Bergida For Relief From Sleep Apnea
Ready to change your life? With 30 years of experience, Dr. Bergida can develop a personalized treatment plan that relieves your symptoms. Call (718) 849-9472 or fill out the form at the bottom of this page to schedule your free consultation with Kew Dental Sleepcare.