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It sounds too good to be true: lose weight in your sleep! But it is indisputable that an ever-expanding body of peer-reviewed scientific evidence suggests just that: treating sleep apnea can help you shed those unwanted pounds.

The reasons are still not fully understood. Some studies indicate that untreated Sleep Apnea disrupts rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Research indicates that animals deprived of REM sleep tend to eat more. People with Sleep Apnea may also become too tired to exercise and so put on weight.

Essentially, people who do not treat their Sleep Apnea don't sleep as well. And studies suggest that sleep loss appears to do two things:

1. Makes you feel hungry even if you are full. Sleep loss has been shown to affect the secretion of cortisol, a hormone that regulates appetite. As a result, individuals who lose sleep may continue to feel hungry despite adequate food intake.

2. Increases fat storage. Sleep loss may interfere with the body's ability to metabolize carbohydrates, which leads to high levels of blood sugar. Excess blood sugar promotes the overproduction of insulin, which can lead to the storage of body fat and insulin resistance, a critical step into the development of diabetes.

Conversely, weight loss also impacts sleep:

An Australian study reported that obese individuals (a group of over 300 patients who received a surgical procedure to help weight loss) not only showed significant sleep problems, but also showed a reduction of these problems with weight loss:

1. Habitual Snoring (82%) reduced to 14%
2. Observed sleep apnea (33%) reduced to 2%
3. Abnormal daytime sleepiness (39%) reduced to 4%
4. Poor sleep quality (39%) reduced to 2%

The bottom line is that the more we learn about the body's physiology, the more we understand how intertwined nutrition, exercise and sleep actually are. Even if increased risk of heart attack, hypertension, stroke and diabetes weren't enough to get you to take a good hard look at treating your Sleep Apnea, potential weight loss is yet another excellent reason for you to take control over this common disorder.

(excerpts reprinted from http://www.soundsleepsolutions.com/mbreus1/articlesNresources/artic...)

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