Sleep apnea is a common “silent killer”. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in the back of your throat relax. When the muscles relax, your airway narrows or closes as you breathe in and your breathing may be inadequate for 10 to 20 seconds. Your brain senses this inability to breathe and briefly rouses you from sleep so that you can reopen your airway. This awakening is usually so brief that you don’t remember it. These disruptions impair your ability to reach the desired deep, restful phases of sleep which may cause you to feel sleepy during your waking hours.
People with obstructive sleep apnea may not be aware that their sleep was interrupted. In fact, many people with this type of sleep apnea think they sleep well all night. However, sleep apnea dramatically increases your risk of high blood pressure, heart attacks, diabetes and obesity.
Symptoms usually begin insidiously and are usually present for years without before being diagnosed.
Sleep Apnea is usually diagnosed by spending a night in a “sleep lab” where your sleep, brain waves and vital signs can be monitored. But many people are reluctant to undergo the testing.
A simple home monitor is available which involves simply wearing a monitor on one fingertip attached to a recorder the size of a cellphone which is worn on the wrist. The monitor can record oxygen levels, heart rate, stage of sleep, snoring and other parameters that can determine if it is likely that sleep apnea is present.
Your Resting Metabolic Rate is a measure of how many calories you burn each day maintaining basic body functions. It represents the number of calories you would have to take in each day in order to stay at a constant weight. You can increase the number of calories you burn in a day by increasing your activity level. But, you can generally not decrease your calorie usage below your resting metabolic rate.
Knowing your Resting Metabolic Rate allows you to determine how many calories per day you can eat and still maintain your weight or lose weight. For example, assume your Resting Metabolic Rate is 2,000 calories per day and you want to lose one pound per week. You could add 40 minutes of exercise per day which would burn about an extra 200 calories each day, and decrease your calorie intake to 1,700 calories per day. This would give you a net deficit of 500 calories per day. Since one pound of fat contains 3,500 calories, this should result in losing your goal of one pound per week.
Resting Metabolic Rate can be used to more precisely determine how many calories per day you should eat and how much exercise is required to meet your weight loss goals.
Measuring your Resting Metabolic Rate is easily and painless. While sitting quietly in a chair you breathe through a mouthpiece that measures the amount of oxygen you inhale and exhale. The amount of oxygen your body uses correlates with how many calories per minute you are burning.