If you suffer from poor sleep due to carrying excess weight, you may already be familiar with CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure, which is a treatment for sleep apnea through which a machine keeps your airways open by wearing a mask over your mouth and nose. Studies published in "Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine" do not conclude that CPAP treatments produce weight-loss results, but many people report an increase in energy, which may help in leading healthier lifestyles.
Realize that CPAP alone will not produce weight-loss results. Illinois Neurological Institute Sleep Center followed obese patients that underwent CPAP treatments for one year and some experienced initial weight loss, but none ended the year with significant results -- some patients even gained weight. The sleep apnea treatment alone was not enough to bring about results.
Get enough sleep and lower your stress. A study by Kaiser Permanente, published in "International Journal of Obesity" indicated that getting between six and eight hours of sleep per night lowers stress and may help with your weight-loss goals. CPAP treatments are the most effective form of treatment for sleep apnea, which means that using the treatment will help you lose weight if you suffer from this sleep disorder.
Use your extra energy from a good night's sleep to burn excess calories with exercise. The Kaiser study set the minimum for exercise at 180 minutes per week, which is in line with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommendation of at least 150 minutes per week for overall good health. Exercise may be broken up into 10-minute segments throughout your day for the same calorie-burning advantages.
Cut caloric intake. The Kaiser Permanente study recommended cutting daily calories by 500 and following the DASH Diet -- dietary approaches to stop hypertension. This eating plan suggests maintaining sodium levels at or below 2,300 mg per day, consuming six to eight servings of whole grains, four to five servings of vegetables, four to five servings of fruit, two to three servings of low-fat dairy, and six or less servings of lean meats. Additionally, eat legumes, nuts and seeds four to five times per week, plus five or less servings of sweets per week and two or three servings of healthy oils each day. Avoid trans and saturated fats, alcohol and caffeine.
Meet with your doctor. Together you can decide what your dietary needs consist of and set more specific calorie goals. You will also want your doctor's approval before beginning a new exercise program. Combine your CPAP treatment with sensible weight-loss strategies for a good night's sleep and a slimmer waistline.
- National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: What Is CPAP?
- "Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine"; Does CPAP Lead to Change in BMI?; Rachel Redenius, et al.; April 2008
- "International Journal of Obesity"; Impact of Sleep, Screen Time, Depression and Stress on Weight Change in the Intensive Weight Loss Phase of the LIFE Study; C.R. Elder, et al.; March 2011
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Physical Activity Guidelines
- MayoClinic.com: DASH Diet