May 5, 2016 About 65 percent of Americans are overweight or obese. And nearly 18 million Americans suffer from some kind of a sleep disorder. What do these statistics have in common? Sleep disorders are more common in overweight adults and children alike. In fact, the National Sleep Foundation reports that 77 percent of older adults who are obese report some kind of sleep problem. So, while an occasional hamburger won’t damage your sleep health, a diet high in fat does affect both daytime sleepiness and poor sleep quality at night. A recent study by University of Adelaide in Australia and published in the journal Nutrients found men in the top quarter of fat intake were 78 percent more likely to report daytime sleepiness and nearly three times as likely to have sleep apnea. Poor diet and sleep create vicious cycle When you are tired during the day, this actually increased your cravings for high-fat and high-carb foods. Eating these foods can calm the nervous system by triggering the release of the hormone dopamine, which stimulates pleasure and calmness. However, the more you consume of those foods, the worse your sleep health becomes. People who get five hours or less of sleep a night are prime targets for sleep-related weight gain. When you’re stressed, also common among those getting little sleep, the likelihood of sleep disorders and weight gain also increases. On the flip side, if you’re reducing stress levels and getting the recommended 7.5 hours of sleep per night, you’re able to make healthier food choices because your body is already producing enough dopamine. Get a handle on your sleep health The implications of both sleep apnea and obesity on your overall health are truly alarming. Patients with sleep apnea are more likely to suffer from diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Perhaps most concerning is that many are living with the potentially fatal disease completely unaware. If you have tried unsuccessfully to lose weight and/or suffer from daytime sleepiness and unrefreshed sleep, take our quiz to see if you could have Obstructive Sleep Apnea. If you suffer from several of the common symptoms of a sleep disorder, our trained sleep disorder dentists can provide you with a take-home sleep test device, worn in the comfort of your own bed. We will review your sleep patterns and work with your general physician to diagnose your sleep disorder. As an alternative to a cumbersome CPAP machine, we offer oral appliance therapy to treat mild to moderate Obstructive Sleep Apnea. We are a Medicare approved “DME provider” for oral sleep appliances. In honor of Better Sleep Month this May, take the first step to improving your sleep health and your overall health. Give Caffaratti Dental Group a call today at 775-358-1555 to assess your Obstructive Sleep Apnea risk and start your journey toward better sleep health.