Now through the end of the year, it will get harder and harder to step on the scale. Halloween, tailgating, Thanksgiving, holiday parties, Christmas — watching one’s weight during this time of year is quite the challenge. For those who have sleep disorders, the challenge is even greater.
The obesity rate (that’s ‘obese,’ not just fat) is at 35% of the U.S. adult population. This means that more than a third of the American population are beyond fat! It’s no secret that too much sugar in our diets and not getting enough exercise are at the root of most weight problems. However, studies now show that quality of sleep may be complicating your ability to lose weight.
What does sleep have to do with your weight? It’s actually a brain-driven issue. During sleep, the brain is anything but ‘at rest.’ Sleep provides the brain an active time to sweep out toxins and other obstacles that have accumulated during the day. This helps the brain to restore itself to peak efficiency to efficiently regulate hormones and other functions that support the body’s entire system.
Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder that deprives the brain of sufficient oxygen. This isn’t good. It’s no wonder that Sleep Apnea has been associated with serious health problems, including heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, migraines, Alzheimer’s disease, and impotency.
But, here’s the glitch when it comes to your weight: In addition to posing tremendous health risks, Sleep Apnea alters the brain’s ability to regulate hunger controls.
As sleep disorders are depleting your energy levels, poor sleep quality creates a reaction in the brain that triggers carbohydrate cravings. You may have noticed that eating something sweet or carbohydrate-laden gives you a quick pick-me-up. Craving these is the brain’s way of helping you seek out energy to get you through the day when you feel groggy.
Of course, without staying active and energetic during the day, you burn fewer calories. Add brain signals for carbohydrate cravings to the mix and weight gain is the natural result. While people with sleep disorders (including heavy snoring) often feel their lack of willpower is to blame for packing on the pounds, many are simply up against the odds with this double whammy.
When the body is fatigued and the brain is urging you to eat eat eat, just maintaining your weight is a challenge. The reversal of this is simple, however. When the brain receives adequate oxygen during sleep, it can do its nightly maintenance and keep the body operating at peak capacity. With adequate, restful sleep, the brain doesn’t need to trigger carbohydrate cravings to move you through the day. And, you feel more energetic and motivated for activity.
For many Sleep Apnea sufferers, the standard treatment recommendation has been CPAP therapy. This is a mask worn over the face that is attached to a hose. The hose is connected to equipment that uses a fan to force oxygen into the airway during sleep. Although effective in its task, many CPAP users don’t wear their devices on a consistent basis. A large percentage claim they can’t get comfortable in bed, feel claustrophobic, find the devices noisy, complain they are inconvenient and even cite embarrassment at having to wear them.
For individuals who suffer with mild to moderate levels of Sleep Apnea, there is a simple alternative. We offer an FDA-approved method to restore sufficient oxygen during sleep without the bulk, noise, confinement and awkwardness of CPAP devices. By sleeping with a custom designed oral appliance, the need for wearing CPAP is eliminated.
These oral appliances are small, comfortable, and won’t interfere with your ability to sleep soundly. They are effective for many who suffer with Sleep Apnea as well as those who are heavy snorers (a typical precursor of Sleep Apnea).
If you’ve watched your weight climb as your energy has waned, lack of willpower may actually be a small part of the problem. In addition to frequent carb cravings, Sleep Apnea symptoms include daytime fatigue, a sluggish feeling, nodding off easily, lack of alertness or motivation, and feeling foggy. These problems will not go away until restful sleep is restored with sufficient oxygen intake.
Begin with a no-cost Consultation to discuss an effective and comfortable appliance made to fit the contours of your mouth. If desired, we can also put you in touch with patients who wear these simple oral appliances and now sleep soundly and wake up feeling refreshed.
Call toll free 866-9-Smiles to schedule or to learn more.