There’s no arguing that obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the US. A simple walk down any American street reveals that as many as 75 percent of the people are overweight. That’s 2 out of every 3 people!
And what’s worse, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 33 percent of these people are obese (1). What is not as apparent, however, is that insomnia and other sleep disturbances have also reached epidemic levels.
Is this just a coincidence? Researchers say no.
The Sleep/Weight Connection
According to the CDC, there has been a significant increase in hospital discharges for a number of obesity-related medical conditions.
Discharges for sleep apnea alone have increased 436 percent! And that’s just in children.
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An estimated 18 million American adults have sleep apnea, a condition often associated with excess weight. And the reason is simple according to researchers.
As you gain weight, especially in your trunk and neck area, the risk of sleep-disordered breathing increases because of compromised respiratory function, which makes it harder to breathe.
It’s A Two-Way-Street
The problem is that obesity not only contributes to sleep problems like sleep apnea, but sleep problems can also contribute to obesity. It’s is vicious cycle. And scientists at the University of Chicago have further shown that when you build up a “sleep debt” over a matter of days, it can actually impair your metabolism and disrupt your hormone levels (4).