By: Lauri Leadley, CCSH, RPSGT- Clinical Sleep Educator|Sleep Coach
Hitting your sleep quota night after night can be a challenge for a variety of reasons. Job stress and damaging lifestyle habits are the leading cause of the drop in the quality of life of most people.
If you factor in poor sleeping habits, the potential of health risks goes up by several notches.
The lack of sleep over a period of time can cause fatigue, sleeping disorders such as sleep apnea, leading to health risks such as hypertension and diabetes, and even lead to weight gain.
Weight gain by itself is a health concern for the simple reason that it can lead to cardiovascular diseases, increase the risk level for certain types of cancers, or lead to diabetes. It is a vicious cycle whichever way you choose to look at it.
Related Article – Sleep Apnea and Diabetes – The Unholy Alliance
Understand Your Fatigue
When you are low on sleep or you suffer from sleep deprivation, it impacts your mind and body in multiple ways.
The very first thing you will notice is that your energy levels drop – you are less productive, your concentration levels fall, and you may suffer from mood swings.
The lack of sleep and general fatigue you experience affects your hormone levels which in turn affects critical body functions such as your appetite. The lack of energy will signal a need for consuming more calories to counter energy depletion.
When this happens you naturally tend to consume high-calorie foods (caffeinated beverages, sugars, and high-carbs) which help temporarily but are bad for the body in the long run.
The danger of consuming high-calorie foods all the time is that it creates an energy imbalance – you feel energized even when it is time to sleep.
So not only do you sleep fewer hours, but you don’t get deep sleep. As a result, you suffer from sleep disruptions and wake up tired and fatigued. This gets repeated day after day thus perpetuating the cycle of poor sleep, constant fatigue, and bad dietary choices.
Weight Gain and Sleep Apnea
A person suffering from sleep apnea can experience multiple sleep disruptions which makes it difficult for them to enjoy good quality sleep. And as explained above, if you suffer from mental and physical fatigue, it can lead to weight gain.
However, weight gain, in turn, can cause your sleep apnea symptoms to worsen.
Here’s what happens – when you gain weight, you also tend to collect fat and gain weight around your neck area.
This can then squeeze your airway when you are lying down forcing the air to squeeze through the airways often leading to snoring.
If the airflow is blocked, as is in the case of obstructive sleep apnea, it can force the person to wake up with a loud gasp to take in more air. These disruptions can happen multiple times through the night.
A number of documentary studies associate sleep apnea with an increased risk of multiple health conditions such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure – two of the most common health conditions that are closely linked with excess weight.
Related Article – 6 Commonly Asked Questions About Sleep Apnea
The Benefits of Positive Health, Dietary, and Lifestyle Choices
You have just one body and so the responsibility of taking care of your body rests in your hands. Here are nine things you can do to prevent weight gain and sleep apnea.
- Start sleeping well!
- Ensure you get seven to nine hours of sleep.
- Come up with a sleep routine and stick to it – go to bed and wake up every day at the same time.
- If you suffer from poor quality sleep or a sleeping disorder, don’t ignore it – consult with a professional sleep coach as soon as possible.
- Practice healthy eating – include healthy calorie and heart healthy options such as green leafy vegetables, low-carbs, nuts, and fruits – if possible, cook, and eat more homemade meals.
- Cut down on sugars, oil/fat rich foods, and caffeinated beverages.
- Say no to cigarettes, drugs, and cut down on alcohol.
- Burn those calories – make sure you exercise for at least 30-45 minutes every day without fail.
- Above all – stay positive, stress free, and happy!
Valley Sleep Therapy – We Believe in Good Quality Sleep for All!
If you are looking for information about sleep devices and products or services for treating different sleep disorders, visit us at Valley Sleep Therapy. Browse our online CPAP supplies store or visit us in Mesa, AZ today!