The Dangerous Revolution of Sleep Apnea & Weight
No one likes being overweight. It can make you tired, sore, unmotivated, and isolated. While genetics plays a role in your weight, we can put some of the blame on the difficulties surrounding losing weight. If you suffer from sleep apnea, weight change can be challenging—but life-changing.
Sleep apnea and weight have a strong correlation to one another. Obesity and being overweight is a scary risk factor for sleep apnea because it affects your breathing while you sleep. Additionally, carrying extra weight can lead to further sleep apnea related health issues, including cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
There is a perilous cycle between the two conditions because sleep apnea can cause you to gain weight. In 2011, researchers from the International Journal of Obesity conducted a study that found that “sleep problems likely contribute to weight gain.” Moreover, a 2013 study supported these claims by finding that men who don’t sleep enough will gain unwanted weight.
The Impact of Weight Loss
Weight loss is an exceptional way to mitigate some of the adverse effects associated with obesity, being overweight, and sleep apnea. In 2009, a Swedish study published by Karolinska Institute noticed that men significantly alleviated their sleep apnea symptoms by altering their diets over nine weeks. Participants saw a 58% decrease in the severity of their symptoms.
Furthermore, weight loss reduces the risk of issues that we associate with sleep apnea, including heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. In fact, the American College of Physicians recommends it as the first treatment to try for sleep apnea relief.
Enjoyable Exercise? Try Aerobics
Working out at a gym can be expensive, crowded, and awkward. Likewise, tracking your progress can get confusing and demotivating if you don’t see the results you’re expecting. Nonetheless, exercise gives you energy, confidence, and it will help you sleep better.
So, how do you get a full workout without going to the gym? It may surprise you to hear that some of the best exercises are also the most enjoyable. If you like your workout, you’re more inclined to maintain it. Moreover, a high-intensity gym workout for an hour or more can be unhealthy and counterproductive.
Your Kerrville sleep specialist, Dr. Huff recommends starting with a workout that’s easily accessible, such as aerobic exercise. For example, if you enjoy walking, try strolling around your local mall or beach. If you enjoy sports, head down to your local community center and see what clubs they offer. No matter how you decide to get your exercise, remember that, you don’t need to go crazy. It may shock you what an hour of aerobic exercise will do for your health and sleep apnea.
Your Diet Can be the Differentiator
In 2017, researchers identified that by changing your lifestyle—eating healthier and losing weight—you’re setting yourself up for successful obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) relief. The crucial takeaway is that exercise and diet are a powerful tool to make you stronger and healthier.
Altering your diet doesn’t mean you have to eat food that tastes like cardboard. While dieting can cause you to lose an initial 5-10% of your weight in the first six months, the weight tends to return. Dr. Huff suggests focusing less on the exact diet, and instead monitoring what you eat, reducing your caloric intake, and exercising often.