You may already know that sleep apnea has the potential to cause serious side effects, including high blood pressure, cardiac conditions, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and cognitive decline, including sleep apnea and dementia. There’s another side effect to the condition that is equally as dangerous, but often not discussed. This side effect is unexplained weight gain and obesity. But, how does living with sleep apnea affect your weight? Read on to learn more about the connection between how you sleep and the scale.

What Contributes to Weight Gain?

You may immediately think that weight gain or obesity is the result of poor dietary choices. While it is true that food and how we eat contributes to our waistlines, sleep apnea adds an extra layer of risk.

When you’re living with sleep apnea, you’re not getting good quality sleep. As a result, you may wake up feeling fatigued, despite being asleep for several hours. When you’re tired, you aren’t going to want to cook or do meal prep. You will probably be more inclined to hit the drive-through to get something fast and easy and get home.

Also, when you’re tired because you’re not getting good quality sleep, you’re less motivated to work out. You’re probably not feeling like doing much of anything, which means sitting on the couch and leading a sedentary lifestyle.

Another way that sleep apnea contributes to weight gain and obesity is that when you have sleep apnea or another sleep disorder, your body never reaches the level of sleep where hormones are regulated. In particular, how the body handles insulin and how it controls your blood sugar are affected. Since your body cannot manage your blood sugar, it means you gain weight, will struggle with losing weight and also see an increase in your risk of developing diabetes.

If you’re noticing that you’re struggling to lose weight or you’ve had unexplained weight gain, along with feeling as if you aren’t getting enough sleep no matter what time you go to bed each night, or if you’re experiencing mood swings, have trouble concentrating, are waking up frequently throughout the night and experiencing snoring or gasping for breath, you may be living with sleep apnea or another sleep disorder.

We would love to talk to you about your symptoms and how we can help. Many patients who undergo treatment for sleep apnea or other sleep disorders frequently find that they have more energy to get active once again and make choices to improve their health. Schedule a consultation today by calling 479-337-4070.