Research has shown that sleep can actually help people lose weight. More specifically, the quality and the duration of sleep has much to do with a person's metabolism and the ability to burn fat. For people that suffer with sleep apnea, getting a proper fitting CPAP masks and machine can help solve their difficulty with sleep apnea and help them maintain a healthy body weight.
Hormones in Action
This recent study spearheaded by David Rapoport, the director of the Sleep Program in New York City School of Medicine, studied the effects of Ghrelin and Leptin. Each of these hormones has a pronounced effect on our sense of appetite. Ghrelin sends a trigger to the brain that the body is hungry and needs to eat. Leptin is the counter agent which tells a person that they have had enough to eat.
When a person does not get enough sleep, the amount of Leptin created in the body significantly decreases. The next morning when the person wakes, they often feel hungry throughout the day, even after eating a normally filling meal. To exacerbate the situation, sleep deprivation also causes the amount of Ghrelin in the body to increase, increasing the appetite. The combination of improperly balanced hormones leads to overeating.
One study conducted by the University of Chicago showed that on average 12 normally healthy men reported a 45% increase in their desire for high calorie foods after going two days with limited sleep.
At Stanford University, a study of 1,000 people revealed even more startling data. People who did not get the recommended eight hours of nightly sleep showed the expected problems with their Leptin and Ghrelin levels but also had more body fat. In fact, there was an inverse relationship between weight and sleep. People that recorded the lowest nightly hours of sleep showed the highest average body weight.
Obvious Links to Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea, the disorder that causes the cessation of breathing multiple times during sleep, greatly reduces a person's ability to get restful and meaningful sleep. Consequently, this leads to a severe lack of energy and causes people to avoid exercise because they just don't have the energy to exercise. Combine the lack of energy with the surge in appetite and it is easy to understand why many people fighting sleep disorders are also struggling to maintain a healthy weight.
This is precisely the reason why sleep experts stress the importance of complying with the use of their CPAP machine to combat sleep apnea. People with sleep apnea who use their CPAP machine consistently have shown a significant relief from the effects of the sleep disorder. Improved energy, better memory, and an overall feeling of better health are just some of the effects people attribute to getting a better night's sleep. Couple this with a more regulated appetite and it is clear that getting plenty of healthy rest at night can greatly improve a person's overall well being.