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How Does Sleep Apnea Cause Weight Gain?


Stressing woman looking at the mirror.

Statistics show that 100 million people worldwide have sleep apnea, and about 50 to 70 million of them are Americans. It’s a disorder in which you may have shallow breathing, or you may stop breathing for a period of time while you are sleeping.


People with obstructive sleep apnea or OSA may experience symptoms like headaches, fatigue, and frequent nighttime urination. It can also lead to obesity. The question now is, how does sleep apnea cause weight gain? To answer this query, let us first examine their relationship.


Correlation Between Sleep Apnea and Being Overweight

While sleep apnea can cause weight gain, being overweight can also lead to OSA. Such a sleeping disorder leads to fatigue, increased appetite and cravings, and hormonal changes that can affect body weight. On the other hand, obesity can cause fat accumulation in the neck, narrowing the airway and increasing the likelihood of obstruction during sleep.


Sleep apnea can cause weight gain in many ways. Here are some of them:


  • Slow Metabolism If you have sleep apnea, you may experience symptoms like being tired and becoming less active. It can slow down your metabolism. And when you’re inactive, you’ll burn fewer calories. All of these can contribute to obesity or weight gain.


  • Increased Appetite and Cravings Several studies show that poor sleep can lead to increased appetite and cravings for foods rich in calories, such as pancakes, puddings, and whole milk. You'll gain weight if you eat more calories than you burn.


  • Hormonal Changes When you don’t get enough sleep, the production of the hormones called leptin and ghrelin is also affected. The former is an appetite suppressant, and the latter is an appetite regulator. Leptin resistance can contribute to obesity and cause weight gain. High levels of ghrelin can increase your appetite and, therefore, cause you to gain more weight.


Contact Us Today for Treatment of Sleep Apnea

If you’re unsure that you have a sleep breathing disorder, reach out to The Center for TMJ and Sleep Apnea immediately. We offer sleep apnea and snoring diagnosis and treatment. You may contact us at 704-220-1930 to schedule an appointment.

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