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Sleep and Weight Control

Obesity or Sleep Disorder?

According to the American Obesity Association, nearly 200 million Americans are categorized as being overweight or obese. Over 70 million Americans suffer from some type of sleep disorder and obesity is recognized as a major risk factor for sleep-disordered breathing. Obese individuals also suffer from sleep apnea at a much higher rate than those at a healthy weight. Doctors therefore often recommend weight reduction as a part of a therapeutic plan for patients with sleep apnea.

Recent studies link the release of the hormones in the body that regulate appetite and sleep disorders. Therefore, having a sleep disorder itself can be a contributor to obesity, as well as obesity being a contributor to poor sleep health.

Sleep Deficit and Weight Gain

Lack of sleep is common. While it is understood that adults need 7-8 hours of sleep, most of us only get 6 or less hours sleep. Insomnia and sleep disorders like restless leg syndrome affect sleep duration. Studies demonstrate a correlation between an imbalance of hormones and appetite control when people are deprived of adequate sleep. The people in the study also experienced a decrease of leptin levels, the hormones that “turn off” your appetite and an increase of ghrelin levels, the hormone controlling “hunger.” Even as little as one hour less sleep per night can trigger this imbalance resulting in possible weight gain.

A sleep study is the best way to accurately diagnose a possible sleep disorder. Sleep studies are performed by collecting physiological data such as brain waves and muscle movement while you sleep using noninvasive sensors. A sleep technologist records this data as well as images coming from the camera in your testing room. This information is carefully reviewed and compiled into a report that is sent to your doctor.