Sleep Disorders And Weight Gain Go Hand-In-Hand

The relationship between sleep and weight is a strong one. Over the years there is a growing body of research showing a link between sleep disorders and weight gain. And it can be a vicious cycle. Insufficient sleep can lead to weight gain, which can lead to a serious problem called sleep apnea, which produces more sleep deprivation and more packing on of the pounds. Large population studies show that both adults and children are more likely to be overweight and obese the less they sleep at night.

  • In smaller, controlled studies, scientists found that when people sleep eight hours one night and then half that amount the next night, they end up eating more on the days when they’ve had less sleep
  • One pivotal study showed that losing just 2-3 hours of sleep a few nights in a row caused people to gain an average of two pounds
  • There are three hormones that have an impact on good sleep: cortisol, leptin and ghrelin. Without these hormones, your appetite isn’t suppressed, you start craving starchy carbs, and your metabolism plummets
  • Studies show that, for some patients, losing excess weight has greatly improved sleep apnea, which in turn dramatically improved their overall health and sleep
  • Eliminating sleep apnea can decrease your chances for more severe health problems including stroke, cardiovascular failure, diabetes and high blood pressure


Obstructive Sleep Apnea is characterized by a collapse of the upper airway during sleep.  Excess weight and fatty tissues block air passage and weaken muscles in the throat and pharynx resulting in snoring, labored breathing, and excessive daytime sleepiness. By reducing the amount of fat in these critical areas, airways are clearer which allows for deeper more restful sleep.

Dr. Charu Sabharwal, the Medical Director of Comprehensive Sleep Care Center, states “Sleep apnea is a vicious cycle. Many patients I see don’t have the energy to exercise and lose weight, as they are exhausted due to a poor night’s sleep. They often gain more weight which leads to more severe sleep apnea which compounds their problems.”

If you are overweight and have signs or symptoms of sleep apnea, take the first step.  Call and schedule a consultation with one of our sleep medicine physicians or ask your doctor about a sleep referral to the Comprehensive Sleep Care Center.

The Comprehensive Sleep Care Center (CSCC) is one of Washington, D.C. metropolitan area’s most experienced medical practices for diagnosing and treating the many causes of sleep disorders in both children and adults. Unlike many sleep clinics, our sleep medicine team is devoted entirely to treating sleep related disorders, ensuring that our doctors focus on the issues that matter most to our patients. Each of our physicians are board-certified in sleep medicine and have devoted their entire practice to the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders. Our sleep medicine team are experts at what they do, with extensive knowledge and experience in the very latest in sleep medicine. As an important partner in your health, our sleep medicine team works to uncover the answers you and your referring physician needs to ensure your best possible care and sleep health. Our team is committed to providing the highest level of comfort, expertise, and professionalism throughout your care.

Comprehensive Sleep Care Center


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[Ask The Expert is a promotional program sponsored by Loudoun Now. The writers have held out that they have experience, training, education and/or certifications to qualify as experts in their fields. Although shared on Loudoun Now‘s online platforms, the writers are solely responsible for this content.]

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