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Obesity causes a host of health problems and puts a strain on all of your body’s systems. It increases your risk of issues like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure. What you might not realize, though, is that the extra weight you’re carrying could be interfering with your sleep.

What does weight have to do with sleep? People who are obese are more likely to have sleep apnea. When a person has sleep apnea, their breathing is interrupted repeatedly throughout their sleep, perhaps even hundreds of times, which leads to the brain being deprived of oxygen. One symptom of sleep apnea is loud snoring, especially if your snoring can be heard in another room.

Sleep apnea can disrupt your everyday life. It can cause you to perform poorly at work or school, it can be a factor in some motor vehicle crashes, and it is responsible for academic underachievement in children and adolescents. A lack of restorative sleep can leave you moody, forgetful, and irritated, with morning headaches and chronic dark circles under your eyes. Even worse, untreated sleep apnea increases your risk of serious health problems like high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure, diabetes, depression, and ADHD.

Sleep apnea is a serious problem, but it’s only one of a host of ailments caused or exacerbated by obesity. The good news is that even by losing a little bit of weight, you can reduce your risk of health problems. You can make lifestyle changes to incorporate more healthy food and regular exercise into your life, and that may help you lose the weight you need to lose. If you’re struggling, though, it may be time to consider bariatric surgery.

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