Sleep medicine is a relatively new field. As we conduct more research we are discovering the large impact sleep has on health. Most of the focus to date has been on the impact of sleep on diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and mental health.
Newer studies also show that an insufficient amount of sleep negatively affects a person’s weight and behavioral factors. The reports that adults who get less than 7 hours of sleep per night are over 6% more likely to be obese, almost 7% more likely to be physically inactive and 8% more likely to be smokers, than those who get at least 7 hours of sleep per night.
Common Sleeping Disorders
The states that insomnia is the most common sleep disorder affecting 40% of US adults. And the next most common sleep problem, sleep apnea, affects 25 million US adults. What is even more worrying is that, according to the , sleep apnea and obesity are linked, and a 10% weight loss can significantly improve the person’s sleep apnea.
The number of sleep doctors has increased to address such sleep issues while sleep telemedicine ensures adequate access, regardless of location. The FDA recently approved an online sleep disorder test to complement the online sleep doctor – we are the tipping point of sleep assessment and care!
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. There are 2 forms of this condition::
obstructive sleep apnea (OSA): interrupted breathing as a result of a blockage of the airways, usually collapsed soft tissue in the back of the throat.
central sleep apnea: the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe due to an instability in the respiratory control center.
If a person regularly stops breathing during sleep and does not have it treated, the brain might end up not getting enough oxygen, leading to catastrophic consequences. Therefore, if you suspect that you or your loved ones suffer from sleep apnea, do not hesitate to with us.
Sleep apnea is treated with CPAP (first line), oral devices, upper airway surgery, and weight loss surgery. Though EVERY sleep physician’s recommendation includes weight loss, most of the burden of managing weight is left to the patient.
In our practice, many patients delay seeking help for snoring (an initial sign of sleep apnea) or try to avoid using CPAP by attempting to lose weight. However, many fail due to poor support. And now we better understand that poor sleep makes weight loss more difficult!
How Sleep Disorders Affect Your Weight
Previous studies have shown hormonal imbalances may lead the body to constantly feel hungry and reduce the ability to resist snacking. These hormones, also known as ghrelin (high) and leptin (low), also have other weight-related functions besides being implicated as ‘hunger hormones’.
Our doctor reflects on his own experiences to understand his patients better:
“The way I think of the connection between poor sleep and the desire to snack is to remember my days in college and medical school pulling an all-nighter or even being on overnight call as a physician. I would binge eat, especially craving high calorie and fatty foods – we all have our personal cravings (don’t judge me). Not surprisingly, women and men have different pathways to this similar response.”
Newer studies have also revealed that our perception of food through taste and smell can be augmented by poor sleep. Thus, leading us to eat more calorie-dense foods. There is an evolutionary theory behind this response. When the body is under stress and uncertain of its next meal, it reduces our resistance to calorie loading.
Considering what Dr. Bhar has learned about the connection between sleep and weight, our are designed to take this aspect into account. For example, as part of your program with us, we will contact you to check up on your progress and regularly motivate you. This way you will be more determined to keep on track!
If you are snoring or have poor sleep and cannot seem to lose weight – you may be in a biological vicious cycle. The way to break this cycle is to diagnose sleep apnea with a home sleep study and to treat it with CPAP, allowing you to get better sleep and concurrently focus on weight loss.
CPAP may be discontinued when adequate weight is lost – and your bed partner would appreciate you for the lack of snoring. Do not wait to seek medical attention, contact our from the comfort of your home to arrange a guided at-home sleep study.
Whatever your sleeping disorder is, regardless of how small it may seem to you, do not wait for it to get worse. With our board-certified sleep and respiratory physician within your reach, you can get properly diagnosed and treated without having to leave the comfort of your own home. Our fantastic specialist, Dr. Bhar believes that high-quality care only comes from a trustful and compassionate physician-patient environment. We will take care of your needs from head to toe.
Our telemedicine system means geographical barriers are out of the question! We can order tests, radiology and blood work either through electronic orders or by sending you the prescription. But also, we provide CPAP equipment setup and support for your home. For more information about how we work, don’t hesitate to talk to our sleep specialist by calling our office at 478-238-3552!
The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.