This next discussion ended up being classified as weird science. Experts have found that people who snore at night seem to be better calorie burners at rest during the day, than non-snorers. HOWEVER - the snorer's calorie burn does not seem to be significant enought to offset the obesity that often accompanies sleep apnea. Typically most sleep apnea sufferers struggle with obesity as well. So that slight calorie burn edge, is not enough to counter-act weight gain from other sources, including the poor quality sleep issue that they suffer with.
In fact, losing weight is a cornerstone of treating sleep apnea. Treatments have included bariatirc surgery to help with weight reduction or behavioral interventions to achieve weight loss. Both of those approaches have had varying results. So researchers have wanted to have a closer look at the metabolic issues involved. It's a given that people with sleep apnea have a greater chance of being obese, and being obese is a direct risk factor for sleep apnea.
Looking at the daytime resting energy expenditure, researchers found that for every dip in oxygen levels (that would typically correspond to a gasp for air after a 10 second lapse in breathing) during the sleeping period of the sleep apnea patients in the study, there was a corresponding 27 calorie increase in daily resting energy expenditure. That may not seem like alot, but imagine if the person has 20-30 episodes per night - that equals an extra 540 to 810 extra calories burned during daytime rest periods. Experts suggest that the explanation for this extra calorie burn may be due to more daytime waking hours (due to poor quality of sleep) or the struggle to breathe simply burns more calories.
Another theory is that the struggle to breath is similar to an adrenaline rush and those repeated episodes of "adrenaline rush-like expressions" could explain the addtional calories being burned. There is no doubt that sleep apnea research will continue, in essence motivated by the realization that sleep apnea is the #1 cause of heart attack or stroke in persons who suffer with the condition. Snoring is also the #1 medical cause of divorce. If you suffer with snoring or suffer with a snorer, speak to a sleep expert or pulmonologist.
Published On: December 22, 2008