Obesity increases your risk of developing sleep apnea, a potentially hazardous sleep disorder that causes individuals to stop breathing repeatedly throughout the night. The Cleveland Clinic has found that weight loss surgery may resolve or prevent sleep apnea among those who struggle with obesity.
These small lapses in breathing may occur hundreds of times during the night, lasting anywhere between a few seconds and a few minutes. Normal breathing usually resumes with a loud choking or snorting sound that can further disrupt your sleep, as well as that of your partner.
Sleep Apnea a Leading Cause of Daytime Fatigue
With each pause in breathing you will shift out of deep sleep. Despite resting for a full night, you may wake feeling excessively tired. It is deep sleep that provides us with feelings of renewal and restoration that we associated with sleep. Without maintaining a deep sleep level for an extended duration your body will remain fatigued.
Obstructive sleep apnea is the leading risk factor for excessive daytime sleepiness. Other signs and symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Loud snoring
- Waking in the middle of the night short of breath
- Morning dry mouth or sore throat
- Morning headaches
- Trouble concentrating due to fatigue
Approximately 85 percent of people with sleep apnea are obese. The condition is most common among those who are over 40 but can also develop in those much younger—especially among those who are overweight.
Sleeping Better after Weight Loss Surgery
The most common method of treatment for sleep apnea is the use of a continuous positive airway pressure or CPAP machine. This machine encourages regular breathing throughout the night by pushing air through the nose or mouth via a face mask. CPAP is effective in restoring one’s ability to sleep, which reduces the level of fatigue and other symptoms you may experience during the day. However, this device can only manage the condition—it does not correct it.
Weight loss surgery is found to be the most effective treatment for correcting sleep apnea. Studies have found bariatric surgery causes remission of sleep apnea in between 80 and 85 percent of cases.
Bettering Behaviors to Improve Sleep
While sleep apnea is the leading cause of daytime sleepiness, it is not the only factor that may be impacting your ability to rest soundly at night. Correcting other behaviors may help improve your ability to fall asleep, stay asleep and wake feeling refreshed.
These healthy habits include:
- Engaging in physical activity daily
- Reducing caffeine intake
- Limiting distractions in the bedroom, such as TV, computer and telephone
- Creating a regular sleep schedule
Sleep apnea is not typically resolved overnight following weight loss surgery, but you may see gradual improvements as you lose weight. Try engaging in healthy sleeping behaviors like those listed above to begin improving your quality of sleep starting tonight.