Sleep is critical for health management. Sleep reduces stress, aids in hormone and neurotransmitter production, increases energy, and much more. Lack of sleep is also a common contributing factor for the development of obesity, since even though sleep is a sedentary activity (ie, doesn’t burn calories), it is also responsible for improving metabolism, coping with stress, reducing hunger, and increasing activity levels.
But while a lack of sleep may contribute to the development of obesity, obesity can also contribute to poor sleep quality as well, which often has a negative impact on your:
If you struggle with obesity and are not getting adequate sleep, there is a strong chance that losing weight can help.
How Obesity Affects Sleep Quality
Although everyone needs sleep, there are many factors that go into getting a good night’s sleep, and there are many different ways for obesity to disrupt sleep ability.
For example, those with obesity may have a more difficult time getting comfortable on mattresses not designed for their weight. Those with obesity put their body under more stress, and stress is known to decrease sleep quality. Obesity can also lead to concurrent conditions, like heartburn, and heartburn is also known to hurt sleep quality.
But perhaps the most common way that obesity interferes with sleep is with sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a common condition in those with obesity. When you sleep, the muscles in your neck relax. Those with obesity have excess weight in their neck that puts pressure on their neck muscles. This then causes your throat to close, blocking your airways and preventing you from breathing. Symptoms of this condition sometimes go unnoticed, but some signs include:
- Loud snoring.
- Choking sensation that awakens you from sleep.
- Unexplained extreme tiredness during the day.
Many with the condition do not know they have it. That is because when your body notices you stopped breathing, it temporarily wakes you up so that the muscles are tense again, allowing you to breathe. Most people then immediately fall back asleep, forget they were ever awake, and the cycle repeats itself.
Better Sleep Quality After Bariatric Surgery
Since obesity leads to poor sleep quality, it stands to reason that losing weight can help improve sleep. Those that undergo weight loss surgery would be most likely to see this benefit, because their weight loss would be substantial. This idea is confirmed in the research.
A study in 2012 looked at 45 weight loss surgery patients and found that after surgery, patients reported getting both more sleep and a better quality sleep than before surgery. Another study, which looked specifically at gastric sleeve, found that 6 months after surgery, bariatric surgery patients showed an improvement in sleep quality, and a reduction in daytime sleepiness.
Since better sleep is also correlated with increased energy and a faster metabolism, this better quality sleep may also contribute to additional weight loss and better health.
Bariatric Surgery to Improve Sleep Quality and Duration
Sleep quality may not be the number one reason that patients consider bariatric surgery, but it is one that should not be ignored. Better quality sleep means more energy, more focus, better stress management, and greater problem solving capabilities – all of which improve a person’s health and quality of life.
If you struggle with obesity and have struggled with poor sleep quality and daytime tiredness, it is likely that you will see some improvements in your sleep after you have lost weight through bariatric surgery.