Snoring and your health...
Don't underestimate the impact on your weight from your partner's snoring either! If you commonly lose up to around 1-1.5 hours of sleep each night due to your partner's snoring it's referred to as 'secondary snoring' and will impact just as greatly on your own health!
It is now widely known that less sleep often correlates with weight gain over time as lighter sleepers have lower levels of leptin and higher levels of ghrelin which promote hunger (in particular for simple sugars or carbs). In fact the University of Chicago found that sleeping less than six hours a night caused a 40% drop in insulin sensitivity, leading to greater risk of obesity, high blood pressue and type 2 diabetes. 7-8 hour is the optimum amount and yet a shocking 90% of Australians reporting suffering from sleep disturbances at some time with 30% struggling to cope with ongoing, regular, sleep issues.
So - if you snore or your partner does, chances are you will be gaining weight. It's a vicious circle as when this weight enlarges the fat cells in the throat further, the soft tissues of the throat will encroach even more on your airways. And of course the snoring is worse and you are at risk of high blood pressure.
If you are on a weight loss program, either going it alone or with a commercial or medically controlled program, you must take your sleep issues into account. In fact your counsellors should be mentioning it to you - so if they don't please bring it up in discussion.
Time and again I take phone calls from distraught customers saying they eat well, exercise reasonably but they cannot shift the weight, particularly from their mid-section. There are a couple of great books I'd recommend if you really want to delve into the science behind why sleep deprivation and weight control are linked. It's fascinating reading and has certainly changed many lives once the light bulb goes on!
The Sleep Diet by Dr Carmel Harrington
Sleep Interrupted by Steven Y. Park MD (this one is not for the feint hearted - it's quite scientific but a terrific learning experience - buy it through Amazon)
Accidentally Overweight by Dr Libby Weaver (available online and in bookshops - a great easy read and very enlightening!)
I can provide about a dozen more titles if you are really keen so drop me a line! I also run regular health tips specifically related to sleep and snoring issues and how they affect our health and the latest findings via my online forum/blog at www.facebook.com/snoreassist so feel free to Like my Facebook page and join the chat. I am also a wellness coach and am passionate about people getting their sleep right as it impacts on every single aspect of our physiology though most people don't realise this.
I am currently adding to this page but it's a question of how many facts do my readers really want? If you'd like to know more please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will add you to my newsletter subscription list!
Lack of quality sleep is associated with a compromised immune system as while we sleep our bodies regenerate and fight off disease by the production of immune cells called monocytes and a natural chemical called interleukin-1. Less sleep (or less quality sleep) equals less monocytes, leaving us exposed to a range of nuisance illnesses as well as life threatening major illnesses with long term sleep deprivation. Even one to two hours less sleep than we need contributes to this. These days losing an hour of two of sleep is not just about the fact that perhaps you couldn't sleep that night try as you might, but it's also due to the fact that as as society we are placing less emphasis on the need for correct quality and quantity of sleep. If one of your parents snored badly and also suffered from heart disease please ensure you get check as snoring and heart health are linked in recent studies.
Studies of patients undergoing chemotherapy who are prescribed opiates to ensure quality sleep during treatment, reflect faster recovery, better tolerance of the treatment and higher long term survival rates. People often suffer insomnia through either fear of the disease and treatment, or because they believe insomnia is simply a side effect of the treatment. That's wrong and it's essential to ensure good sleep during any treatment involving the immune system.
Poor sleep causes sugar and carb cravings, but high intakes of sugar and carbs interfere with sleep so it's a vicious circle! Sleep expert Steven Y. Park MD has treated tens of thousands of people and cured them of a host of common health issues by helping them to breathe better during sleep. He has conclusively proved that the ailments themselves that are interfering with sleep, were brought about as a result of poor sleep (in particular sleep breathing) in the first place!
5 Surprising Great Side Effects of Treatment!
Snoring interferes with correct hormonal functions. If you snore you may produce excess cortisol, the stress hormone. This hormone can promote excess visceral (belly) fat around internal organs and makes it very difficult to regulate your metabolism and therefore your weight. Poor sleep (in either the snorer or long suffering partner) means lower levels of leptin and higher levels of ghrelin which promote hunger - in particular for carbs and simple sugars. So ensuring you have better quality sleep stabilises your hunger and satiety hormones and regulates your metabolism - and will give you the best possible chance of losing weight!
The University of Chicago found that sleeping less than 6 hours per night causes a 40% drop in insulin sensitivity, leading to a greater risk of related illnesses. Better sleep reduces these percentages.
Long term sleep deprivation for the snorer or their partner can lead to mood disorders and ironically, chronic insomnia through long term disrupted sleep patterns. Many people are treated for the 'side effect' of poor sleep - rather than for poor sleep itself! Fix your snoring and people are happier - they tell me so every day!
Snoring may cause circulatory disorders, but great sleep helps to protect your heart.
Many women commence snoring around menopause. Many people believe menopausal women put on weight simply as a result of that stage of life. However given around 60% of peri and post menopausal women have poor quality sleep, experts now attribute a large proportion of the incidence of belly fat to sleep deprivation from night sweats, insomnia and snoring. So treating the causes may protect you from significant weight gain or indeed help you actually lose weight.
If you are perimenopausal or well into menopause, you may find that you partner has reported you have suddenly started to snore. Indeed around 60%+ of peri and post-menopausal women have poor quality sleep. This may be from their own snoring or their partner's. Either way it is imperative it's treated as night time awakenings can lead to the development of insomnia.
We'd like to all deny it, but the facts are once a woman enters menopause the gap between the ratio of male vs female snorers narrows suddenly. There are various reasons touted for this from weight gain, hormone fluctuations and the simple fact that as we age our throat muscles are like any other muscle and become a little slacker allowing the tongue to drop back to the soft palate, vibrate, and produce the sound we know as snoring.
Unfortunately it's a vicious cycle as the more we snore the more we seem to crave carbohydrates, the more weight we put on and the less we feel like exercising due to tiredness from lack of quality sleep. Night sweats, hot flushes and increased urination at night are bad enough to cope with, let alone the sudden development of snoring. Also it's not great for our partners (if they aren't already snoring themselves!).
Do you feel like you're prone to putting on more weight when you're stressed or not sleeping well, even if you're eating the same amount of food as you always have? Too much cortisol can slow your metabolism, causing more weight gain than you would normally experience and making it harder to lose weight even when you are trying.
So by getting better quality sleep, you can lower your cortisol level which will better balance your blood sugar levels, control mood swings, eradicate fatigue and simply make you feel a whole lot better!
Excessive stress even affects where we tend to store fat. Higher levels of stress are linked to greater levels of abdominal or visceral fat. Increased levels of cortisol can not only make you crave unhealthy food, but excess nervous energy can often cause you to eat more than you normally would.