Improve sleep for energy, weight loss

September 3, 2012

Those with problems sleeping often are stuck in a vicious cycle that can sabotage their weight-loss efforts. Many who find themselves tired all the time actually are suffering from a sleep disorder, including the most common issue — obstructive sleep apnea.

Dr. James Cygan, medical director for the Aspirus Regional Sleep Disorders Center, reviews results of polysomnograms, sleep studies from patients at Aspirus facilities in Wausau, Medford and Rhinelander and from Riverview Hospital in Wisconsin Rapids.

“The biggest issue is people with apnea are chronically sleep deprived, and they might eat more to get that energy. Then, apnea is worse, and patients don’t feel like exercise, with no energy,” Cygan said.

Apnea causes the throat to collapse during sleep, blocking proper air flow. Patients might snore loudly and hold their breath for long pauses. The throat muscles are supposed to contract involuntarily. Genetics and poor diet might both play a part, Cygan said.