Can Sleep Apnea cause Weight Gain?

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Sleep apnea can cause weight gain in many individuals due to changes in levels of ghrelin and leptin hormones. The narrowing of the air passage during sleep causes sleep apnea sufferers to have difficulty breathing. This leads to frequent sleep disruptions throughout the night.

Obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, and complex sleep apnea are the three types of sleep apnea.

According to the latest reports, 22 million people in the US are affected with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The major contributor to sleep apnea is obesity, along with some genetic factors. A person with OSA experiences changes in their levels of the hormones ghrelin and leptin. 

The level of ghrelin, which makes you feel hungry, increases in the body. In addition, leptin, which makes you feel full and satisfied, decreases.

These hormonal changes make you feel hungry and you end up overeating. The excessive intake of calories results in weight gain.

The cycle does not end here. There are other factors that start contributing to this situation. Depending on the age every individual needs at least 6 – 8 hours of good uninterrupted sleep. 

People with sleep apnea, however, suffer from sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation hinders weight loss and contributes to obesity. 

Sleeping late at night often leads to people eating junk food. It becomes difficult for them to control their food cravings due to changes in hormonal levels. 

As a result of insufficient sleep, they feel fatigued during the day and lack the motivation to exercise or workouts. It slows down the metabolism and you burn lesser calories.

More fat gets deposited around the neck making it thick and further narrowing the upper air passage. This leads to sleep apnea worsening as a result of obesity.


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