What is Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a condition that many people do not realize can lead to weight gain. It works like this. Sleep apnea causes you to stop breathing all through the night for periods of time. As your oxygen levels plummet your brain screams at you to wake up. You wake up and start breathing again. This usually follows with a snortle sound and you go back to sleep.
The problem with this is you do not remember waking up. Your brain though, is being pulled out of deep sleep and REM sleep stages, and only hanging out in the light sleep stage. Light sleep is not very restorative.
The damages start to show up the next day.
When you wake up you feel exhausted. It is because you are sleep deprived of quality sleep. You had perhaps 40 micro wake ups throughout the night. Deep sleep is where you get rejuvenated, but with sleep apnea you are not getting the deep sleep. You just keep waking up, just as you pass into it.
Hormones go haywire
This messes with your hormones. A sleep deprived person will have higher levels of ghrelin in their blood which is the hormone that makes you hungry and lower levels of leptin. Leptin is the hormone that tells you that you feel full. What this does to your body is you are going to feel hungrier and eat more because your body is not getting the signal that it is full.
On top of that you are going to be craving high carb and high fat foods aka junk food for that quick energy fix. To your brain, you are running on low energy, so it wants some quick energy. What do you think happens when you are hungrier, body doesn’t know when you are full, and you are craving junk food? Weight gain is what happens. Since apnea is also very stressful to the body, your cortisol levels will be elevated which tends to deposit fat around the midsection. Here is a study on this.
One last thing that happens when you are sleep deprived is your body shifts more into a glucose burning mode instead of fat burning mode and slows down your metabolism to conserve energy. Since you are low on energy the body wants to preserve your fat stores because it doesn’t know when you are going top off the energy tank.
You might have symptoms of sleep apnea if you are waking up with a headache, dry mouth, feeling exhausted all day, able to fall asleep anywhere and anytime, frequent bathroom trips at night, and snoring.
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