How Body Fat Can Affect Your Sleep
Being overweight or obese causes health problems but who doesn’t know that? What most people don’t know is that excess body fat can actually affect your sleep. Your shut-eye time is highly compromised in unexpected ways because of body fat, such as snoring, sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome.
Risk of Being Overweight or Obese
As we all know, we are progressing towards high-calorie diets, with a significant decrease in physical activity, which has effectively given rise to obesity. The excess fat causes heart disease, diabetes, and puts you at risk for strokes. Similarly, a few extra pounds can negatively affect your sleep as well. The more weight you gain, the more it affects your health. A high degree of obesity puts the person at a greater risk for health complications.
Snoring and Sleep Apnea
The most frequent complication in relation to sleep caused by being overweight or obese is sleep apnea and snoring. The excess body fat insulates your body and also finds its place in your airway. Your crowded airway causes you to snore because the airflow becomes turbulent. As the airway gets more crowded, the flow of air can completely die down as well. These pauses in airflow result in sleep apnea, which literally means, “without breath”.
When sleep apnea worsens, a person can develop obesity hypoventilation. Hypoventilation is when the person is unable to properly ventilate oxygen and carbon dioxide, which causes a high concentration of carbon dioxide. Hypoventilation is a serious condition as it can complicate heart diseases and even result in death. Sleep apnea can also cause the person to sleep a lot during the day and it creates problems with memory, focus and mood levels. It also increases your risk of heart attacks, high blood pressure and diabetes.
Restless Legs Syndrome
Discomfort in the legs during late hours of the day is referred to as restless legs movement. It prompts the person to move their legs for relief. Although restless leg syndrome can be caused by many reasons, it’s also linked to obesity. Scientists are yet to find the link between the two, but most people suffering from obesity experience restless legs syndrome. Some people find that eating something late at night provides relief from this syndrome. These extra calories only worsen the condition of obese people and whether the two are linked is still a matter of uncertainty.
Disrupted Sleep May Also Cause Obesity
Research indicates that the opposite is true as well. Difficulties in sleeping are also linked to being overweight and essentially to obesity. Some people suffer from sleep-related eating disorder which causes them to eat during sleep unconsciously. People realize this disorder when they find missing food or the fact that they are gaining weight unconsciously. Sleep deprivation also causes weight gain because it disturbs the metabolism. Lastly, disturbed sleep increases our resistance to insulin which in turn puts us at risk for diabetes.
In conclusion, weight gain and sleep problems are clearly linked, even conversely. This complex relationship should be treated immediately or you risk developing health complications.