As dentists in Victoria, TX who treat sleep disordered breathing, we are very interested in all aspects of how sleep apnea affects our patients. Recent research suggests that sleep deprivation, as we see in sleep apnea patients in our Victoria Tx dentist office, causes changes in hormones that affect appetite and fat deposition. Ghrelin, the hunger controlling hormone is increased. Leptin, the hunger suppressing hormone is decreased. Also, the stress hormone cortisol is increased which can affect fat deposition. These changes can cause people to crave fatty foods, sweets, and junk foods in general. Maybe thats why society calls them “comfort foods”, food for thought?
This can be a vicious cycle in that eating those foods can cause weight gain and fat deposition in and around the oral cavity and airway which can make the sleep disordered breathing and the sleep even worse than it was initially. These patients will often feel a lack energy and sometimes a mental fogginess as well. Patients who feel this way may have a very difficult time finding the motivation to exercise because of the way that they feel.
So what should they do? The answer is that they should find an experience healthcare provider who is trained in sleep disorders such as a sleep dentist like myself who can screen them and get them a proper sleep test if needed. If the sleep is treated, then the patients should not have the hunger hormones dysfunctional anymore and should be experiencing more refreshed sleep.
If you or someone you know is dealing with sleep problems such as what we described here I would urge you to seek treatment. Patients often dont know what sleep issues that they are living with unnecessarily until they get treatment. Call our Victoria, TX dentist office if you would like have an evaluation at 361-573-7722.