Summer in the South means fun in the sun! With summer comes lighter clothing that, unfortunately for most people in the U.S. these days, is more revealing. That’s because over one-third of Americans are fat. Well, more than fat; they’re obese.
The latest estimates show that 40 percent of the population is obese, according to a March 2018 article in the NY Times. Over 7 percent are classified as severely obese. (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/23/health/obesity-us-adults.html)
Diet is certainly a factor. Americans are known to be over-consumers of sugar. And, while the American Heart Association recommends daily intake of sugar to no more than about 6 teaspoons for women and 9 teaspoons for men, the average U.S. adult consumes over 19 teaspoons daily on average.
Fortunately, Americans are becoming more aware of “you are what you eat.” Consumption of sugar has gotten more press these days, emerging as a key contributor to the weight problem of Americans.
Yet, losing weight is a tedious process. While diet and exercise are part of the normal requirements for weight loss, sleep quality has been found to be an influencing factor by crisscrossing brain signals.
Apparently, having the willpower to bypass the dessert cart may be more challenging if you have a sleep disorder. Studies now show that Sleep Apnea can contribute to improper alterations in hormones that regulate satiety and hunger. This means that the brain is actually working against our efforts to lose weight when we are sleep deprived.
Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder that deprives the body of sufficient oxygen during sleep. People who have Sleep Apnea can have pauses in oxygen intake, not breathing for up to a minute. These pauses can occur hundreds of times over the course of a night, which robs the heart and brain of sufficient oxygen. Not only does this present a tremendous health risk, it tips the brain’s ability to regulate hunger controls out of whack.
In addition to lacking the energy and drive to exercise, Sleep Apnea sufferers also endure a reaction in the brain that revs up carb cravings for a quick fix of energy. It’s difficult to opt for a handful of raw almonds when your brain is pushing you to down a few Oreos.
Consuming sweets and carbohydrates gives us a temporary energy surge. Because the brain knows this will perk you up, carb cravings are triggered by the brain. The combined “need” to consume carbs and lack of energy results in guess what? Right – weight gain! For those who are trying to lose weight under these conditions, they are fighting an uphill battle.
Research has found that the brain is actually very active during sleep. In REM sleep, the brain is busy removing toxins and other elements that have accumulated during the day. During this time, the brain can restore itself to peak efficiency to properly regulate hormones and other functions in the body. Some hormones trigger hunger cravings and others signal feeling full.
The intake of sufficient oxygen levels during sleep allows the brain to reset itself to keep these hormones operating efficiently for the coming day. When you wake up refreshed from a good night’s sleep, your brain has no need to trigger carbohydrate cravings to pull you out of sluggishness. Nor does it need to urge you to eat more when you really don’t need it.
In addition to fatigue, sleepiness, feeling foggy and food cravings, Sleep Apnea has been linked to a number of serious health problems. These include heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, migraines, Alzheimer’s disease, a
Once diagnosed, a common therapy for many Sleep Apnea sufferers is a CPAP device. This is a mask worn over the face that is attached to a fan that pushes air into airway passages. Although CPAP is an effective oxygen delivery system, it is estimated that only 22% of those who have been prescribed CPAP are consistent users. This is due to patient claims that they can’t move around comfortably in bed, the mask makes some feel claustrophobic, and some find the devices noisy, inconvenient and embarrassing.
For mild to moderate levels of Sleep Apnea, we offer an FDA approved, custom-designed oral appliance that eliminates the need for CPAP. Our Oravan mouth pieces are comfortable and will not interfere with sleep. They are also effective for heavy snoring (a common precursor of Sleep Apnea).
If you are a heavy snorer or suffer with Sleep Apnea (or sleep with one), these problems will not resolve on their own. Begin by calling 843-871-6351 for a free Consultation. During this time, I’ll explain the small, comfortable Oravan mouth pieces we will custom-design for you. You’ll quickly find that you can sleep soundly and wake up feeling refreshed.