Your Doctor Should Be Prescribing Sleep for Weight Loss

A new review article published in the prestigious British medical journal The Lancet, the best prescription doctors should be writing for obesity and type 2 diabetes is sleep.

We’re Just Not Getting Enough Sleep

Researchers noted that a changing approach to life is causing us to not get enough sleep. They blame a more commonly 24-hour lifestyle where people are constantly attached to digital devices as being to blame for our society’s collective metabolism problem.

They note that a lack of sleep has been associated with increased risk of chronic illnesses and even early death. They also note that poor quality sleep affects the body’s ability to metabolize glucose, properly keep its energy balance, and control food intake. As a result, our high-calorie, high-fat, and high-carb diets and low levels of physical activity are even more damaging to our health than they might otherwise have been.

Are You Getting as Much Sleep as You Think?

If you look at some recent surveys, this may not seem like a problem because Americans are sleeping a lot (more than 8.5 hours a night), but the survey results are inevitably inaccurate for a number of important reasons.

First, people tend to overestimate the amount of time they sleep. This was shown in a 2006 study showing that people while people said they slept an average of 7.5 hours a night, they were actually only sleeping about six hours..

And people with sleep apnea are likely getting even less sleep. In sleep apnea, people awaken regularly because their breathing stops. This causes disrupted sleep, which is why many of these people feel tired in the morning and throughout the day. In addition, sleep apnea has been correlated with type 2 diabetes risk, and people with sleep apnea have a harder time losing weight.

It’s important to do what you can to try to improve your sleep. Give yourself adequate time for sleeping. Make your room a better place for sleeping by keeping it cool, quiet, and dark. Turn off digital distractions, like phones and tablets, or, better yet, leave them outside your bedroom.

But if you do these things and find you’re still not getting a restful night’s sleep, perhaps sleep apnea is to blame. That’s when we can help.

To learn more about sleep apnea treatment, please call (206) 241-5533 for an appointment with sleep dentist Dr. Lance Timmerman in Tukwila near Seattle.

Lance Timmerman

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