An estimated 40 million Americans suffer from some sort of chronic long-term sleep disorder. Additionally, among those sleeping within the recommended number of hours per night, nearly one-third reported their sleep quality as “poor” or “only fair.” These are staggering statistics, especially when you consider the detrimental effects that a lack of sleep can bring. In addition to making us less productive at work and dangerous behind the wheel, lack of sleep can impact our personal relationships, as well as how we seek out a quality of life. So, what’s a person to do seeking sweet dreams actually becomes a nightmare?
For many, poor sleep may be a result of carrying around excess weight. So then, will losing weight help you sleep better? As it turns out, shedding extra weight may result in the quality sleep you have been dreaming of. Here’s how.
Weight and Apnea
Anyone who has a partner or roommate who snores knows how annoying this can be. Unfortunately, the habit is much more than just a nuisance – it can be correlated with sleep apnea. If you’re carrying around extra weight, or at least more than what is recommended for your Body Mass Index (BMI), you may have noticed shortness of breath during the day. The hours during sleep are no exception and sleep apnea may be the culprit. Sleep apnea causes airway resistance that can lead to hypoventilation, cardiovascular problems, stroke, and even sudden death. Dropping extra weight has been proven to reduce apnea, as well as the risks that apnea bring.
Lower back pain is an affliction that targets people of all shapes and sizes. However, those who are overweight or obese people tend to experience a greater strain on the back muscles. For these individuals, finding a comfortable sleep position can be difficult. On average, those suffering from back pain can spend the good portion of their sleep hours tossing and turning to find the right position. Losing weight and getting into shape can help take some of the pressure off. Need proof? Johns Hopkins researchers have reported that patients who lost 15% or more of their belly fat improved their sleep scores by 20%. A truly impressive feat, this enhanced score shows that they had a reduction in restless sleep and also were more well-rested during daylight hours. Another factor to consider is that sweating it out at the gym makes you tired, and thus ready to turn in when it’s time to go to sleep.
Lack of Sleep and Gaining Weight
Another reason to be concerned with getting more shut-eye: lack of sleep leads to weight gain. It’s a vicious cycle, indeed – part and parcel of negative changes in metabolism brought on by not hitting the hay. Sleep duration affects the hunger-regulating hormones, ghrelin and leptin, causing sleep-deprived souls to reach for calorie-rich or carbohydrate-loaded foods instead of more healthy options. Catch the sleep you need and you’ll keep these hormones in check, and stay slimmer.
The experts at SC Internal Medicine Associates & Rehab realize the impact that a good night’s sleep is essential for your overall quality of life. The highly-trained experts at Sleep Lab of Columbia evaluate and treat patients with myriad sleep disorders and sleep-related problems. Led by Dr. Joseph N. Gabriel – one of the few physicians in Midlands certified by the American Board of Sleep Medicine – the team will diagnose what’s ailing you to get to the bottom of your restless nights. Should you require weight loss intervention, their practice features a Center for Medical Weight Loss (CMWL) with access to specialists who can personalize a treatment plan based on your unique needs. For more information, or to schedule your appointment, call their office at 803-749-1111.