What is the Connection Between Obesity and Sleep?

The Obesity Epidemic

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicts that if nothing is done to reverse the nation's current obesity trends, 42% of Americans could be obese by 2030. Obesity is often associated with a disorder known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).  With OSA, patients snore and stop breathing.  This results in patients awakening in order to breathe again. The repeated disruptions result in a form of sleep deprivation, by disrupting the continuity of sleep. Any disorder (OSA, RLS, PLMS, Insomnia, etc) that limits sleep or disrupts it continuity can result in a decrease in the level of Leptin, a hormone that acts to inhibit appetite.

In some patients, the Leptin level may be normal or even increased; however, the body becomes resistant to the action of Leptin. The result is in an increased appetite and a craving for the wrong kinds of foods; fatty and sugary foods.  This combined with a general lack of energy due to a disorder leads to a decrease in exercise.  The combination of increased calories and decreased exercise results in “the perfect storm” for the obesity epidemic we are seeing in America today.

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