Respiratory Sleep Disorders and Obesity

Obese man sleeping in bed, relaxing at night on comfortable mattress, rest

If we know that the lack of physical activity and the fact of eating too much lead to overweight and obesity, we talk less often about sleep … And yet!

Lack of sleep has many damaging effects on metabolism and food balance, as numerous studies conducted in recent years have shown. A survey carried out by the Institute for Sleep and Vigilance has shown that chronic sleep deprivation increases the risk of obesity by 50% (for men) and 34% (for women). The consequences of nights that are too short are therefore reflected directly on the scale, but not only! Because overweight and even more obesity promote the appearance or worsening of various respiratory disorders, such as sleep apnea syndrome … And these pathologies in turn strongly disrupt sleep, generating a real vicious circle which must be at all costs try to get out.

Sleeping badly make you fatten

The negative effects of lack of sleep on weight are primarily due to hormonal mechanisms, as it is during sleep that the brain secretes the appetite-regulating hormone, leptin. Conversely, it produces the appetite stimulating hormone ghrelin during the day. Nights that are too short and a long standby time therefore lead to an overproduction of ghrelin, to the detriment of leptin.

Consequences? The feeling of fullness decreases, while the feeling of hunger increases … Perhaps you have already observed it: we are much more likely to snack when we feel particularly tired. With the added bonus of a particular appetite for fatty and sweet foods!

Obesity and sleep disorders

Obesity, already favored by a lack of sleep, in turn increases the risk of developing sleep disorders. It is in particular a triggering factor for OSAHS, an obstructive sleep apnea and hypopnea syndrome.

The links between overweight and sleep breathing disorders are mechanical: excess fat located in the neck, tongue, pharynx and abdomen causes narrowing of the airways, which become blocked during sleep.

Observing and prevention

When one suffers from obesity, it is therefore essential to set up an appropriate dietary monitoring, to minimize, among other ailments, the occurrence or worsening of these sleep disorders. This follow-up can be carried out in a hospital, in a clinic, or in a private practice by nutritionists or dieticians.

It should be noted, however, that while obesity is a triggering factor for OSAHS, weight loss will unfortunately not necessarily lead to the disappearance of this syndrome … But that should not prevent prevention, on the contrary!

It is very important to educate patients about these issues, because although a dietary rebalancing does not always have a direct impact on sleep apnea syndrome, it helps to minimize the symptoms. You can really improve the patient’s quality of life by raising awareness of the importance of a healthy lifestyle!

This prevention should also not only concern patients suffering from sleep apnea: good advice on a balanced diet should, on the contrary, be integrated into the overall care of any patient affected by obesity, or by all other pathologies that may be linked to food. “

In short, obesity, often linked to hormonal imbalances that reduce the feeling of fullness, promotes the onset or worsening of sleep diseases. You should therefore be careful about your lifestyle and diet when you suspect a sleep apnea syndrome.

And conversely, it is important to research the existence of a sleep breathing disorder if you are concerned by a problem of overweight and even more obesity. Once these diseases are diagnosed, the establishment of a good nutritional balance can prevent or improve their effects.

In the slightest doubt, it is better not to hesitate to consult, in order to benefit from an appropriate follow-up. Because quality sleep is the guarantee of better health!

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