Sleep Related Weight Gain

Dr. Shapira

Sleep related weight gain: What’s my weight got to do with my sleep?

sleep-related-weight-gainWeight problems are relatively new health issues for us humans. Unfortunately, easy access to fatty and sweet foods can mean that some people become unhealthily overweight. Have you found that it is hard to sleep? Do you consider yourself overweight? If you are overweight, it may be the cause of your sleep disorder.

Weight-related sleep disorders are due to breathing problems. One common sleep disorder is called overweight obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). More than 50% of people who suffer from this are regarded as medically overweight as defined by their body mass index (BMI).  It is important to remember thar people may be heavy because of sleep disordered breathing. There are many thin patients who also have sleep apnea who exhibit different symptoms.

The link between weight and sleep problems

One of the main reasons people gain weight is due to poor sleep that causes slower metabolism through changes in Thyroid hormone levels, Growth Hormone levels and insulin resistance.  Sleep also affects the levels of Leptin and  Ghrelin  the hunger hormones.  Cortisol levels are also increased dramaticlly with poor sleep patterns which cause weight gain and anxiety and stress disorders.

Ghrelin is the appetizer increaser that is produces in the stomache and signls hunger in the brain.  Ghrelin levels have been found to increase in children with anorexia nervosa and decrease in children who are obese.  Ghrelin  levels go up dramatically before you eat; this signals hunger then go down for about three hours after eating.

Leptin is known as an appetite suppressor and effects our bodies energy balance. Leptin may help regulate ghrelin  Leptin is one of the signals to the brain that the body has enough energy stores in body fat. Obese people  often don’t respond to leptin’s signals even though they have higher levels of leptin.  Changes in all these complex systems working together determine our ability to maintain a healthy weight and sleep is an essential element in this regulation.  Sleep Eating is a major cause of weight gain in many patients.  The etiology is not completely understood but unquestionably is related to these complex relationships that are upset by poor sleep.

If a person is carrying excess weight, there is more soft tissue in the mouth and throat. If you have too much weight, you may find that you find yourself snoring just a bit too often because as the throat and tongue muscles relax, the extra soft tissue can cause a blockage of the airways.

Continual loss of sleep might sometimes eventually lead to more serious health problems, such as high blood pressure and heart disease. If you are extremely overweight you may have what is called obesity sleep apnea, which could take you even closer to developing serious health problems.

How do I get back to sleep?

Sleep Maintenace is the ability to fall aslleep and have healthy consolidated sleep all night long.  Waking up numerous time during the night is a sign of poor sleep consolidation.  Many patients think they wake  because they have to go to the bathroom but in reality they decide they need the bathroom because of disturbed sleep.

A dental visit may prove to be helpful as it is possible to use different types of appliances in the mouth at night to allow you to breathe better while asleep. The use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine is commonly used to treat sleep apnea, as it allows a continuous flow of air throughout the night. CPAP is generally recommended by doctors, but is often found by patients to be uncomfortable and noisy.

There are other dental appliances available which serve as good alternatives to CPAP.For example, the tongue restraining device (TRD) and the mandibular advancement device (MAD). These fit into your mouth to help keep your air passages clear.  Dr Shapira has over 30 years experience in treating sleep disorders and you can trust him to find the best oral appliance for you.

Find out what’s right for you

If you are trying to lose weight but you still find it is hard to sleep, it may be time to look for serious relief from your sleep disorder. Being able to sleep better will also help you regain the confidence you need to tackle your weight.

We can help you get a better night’s sleep by using modern dentistry techniques; this will start with a thorough examination to find out what is possible to help solve your sleep problem. A dental visit can be a useful first step to get you back on track to a healthier and more comfortable lifestyle.

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