Sleep Apnea & Weight: A Dangerous Cycle
Being overweight isn’t enjoyable. It makes us tired, sore, and uninspired—among other unfavorable traits. While genetics can play a role, part of the blame can be placed on the difficulty surrounding losing weight. Moreover, suffering from sleep apnea makes weight loss even more challenging.
Evidently, there’s a significant correlation between sleep apnea and weight. Being overweight is a risk factor for sleep apnea because of its ability to affect your breathing while you sleep. Furthermore, carrying around extra weight can cause other health issues related to sleep apnea, including cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes.
While it makes sense that weight can contribute to sleep apnea, did you know that sleep apnea can cause you to gain weight as well? In a 2011 study, researchers from the International Journal of Obesity noted that “sleep problems likely contribute to weight gain.” In 2013, a study supported these claims by finding that men who don’t sleep enough will gain weight.
Imagine a treatment that not only works but is also comfortable and non-intrusive.
Weight Loss Changes Lives
Weight loss is an exceptional, long-lasting treatment for anyone who’s obese or overweight and has sleep apnea. One study—published in 2009 by the Karolinska Institute in Sweden—found that men who altered their diets over a nine-week period alleviated most of the symptoms of sleep apnea. In the study, the men saw a 58% decrease in the severity of their symptoms.
Moreover, weight loss reduces the risk of developing issues such as heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. The American College of Physicians emphasizes weight loss as the first treatment to try when searching for sleep apnea relief.
Aerobic, Enjoyable Exercise
Working out in a gym can be crowded, boring, and frustrating. Furthermore, tracking your progress is stressful—not to mention demotivating if you don’t see the results that you want. Regardless, exercise gives you energy, strength, and a more restful night’s sleep.
Exercise doesn’t need to be a hyper-intense workout that professional athletes might do. In fact, some of the best workouts are ones that you enjoy and don’t mind doing. By starting with something more accessible, like aerobic exercise, you can find out how you like getting your sweat on.
For example, do you enjoy walking? Try finding a nature trail or strolling through a mall. Maybe you’re into sports? Check out the local community center and see what teams or clubs they offer. Regardless of how you get your exercise, it’s important to remember that you don’t need to go overboard. The exertion you experience might surprise you after an hour of aerobic exercise.
Finally, stay true to what’s important to you—your health. As long as you’re focused on improving it, you’ll become healthier, more comfortable, and more energized.
Change Your Diet, Change Your Life
In a 2017 study, researchers noticed that lifestyle changes and weight loss are the cornerstones of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) relief. When you combine exercise and weight loss, you’re crafting a powerful tool to make yourself healthier, happier, and stronger.
Dieting doesn’t mean you have to eat cardboard-like products. While research shows that you can lose 5-10% of your weight in the first six months, this weight returns. Instead of sticking to a precise diet, try monitoring what you eat, reducing your caloric intake, and combining diet and exercise.