When Lacking Zzzs Packs on Pounds

<b>When Lacking Zzzs Packs on Pounds</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Americans often dislike what they see when they step on a scale, leading them to try diet pills, fad diets and countless other weight loss “remedies.” But many people fail to consider a crucial player in the weight gain game — a good night’s sleep.

Take obstructive sleep apnea. In this common sleep disorder, soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep, blocking the airway. Patients with obstructive sleep apnea stop breathing many times during the night, and every time they stop breathing, their brains pull them out of deep sleep.

Researchers have always seen a clear association between obstructive sleep apnea and obesity. People suffering from obesity are more likely to develop sleep apnea, and people with sleep apnea are more likely to be obese.

But some studies show a clear link between decreased REM sleep, or deep sleep, and weight gain. A study presented at an Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, which used 163 obstructive sleep apnea patients, found that patients with the smallest amount of REM sleep were almost 20 pounds heavier than other patients. Following treatment, patients who experienced the biggest increase in REM sleep also showed the most weight loss.

The relationship between REM sleep and body weight may not be restricted simply to sleep apnea patients — after all, lifestyles and work hours often shorten the number of hours that Americans sleep.

Too little sleep can cause any number of health problems, including headaches, difficulty concentrating, excessive daytime sleepiness and increased risk of heart disease and diabetes. If you’re not sure whether you exhibit signs of sleep deprivation, go to the American Sleep Apnea Association Web site at www.sleepapnea.org, and get your Snore Score.

Setting aside enough hours for sufficient sleep — or, if needed, getting treatment for a sleep disorder — will improve your energy levels and quality of life. Fitting back into your skinny jeans might just be an extra bonus.

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