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Take steps (literally) to lower your risk of sleep apnea and obesity

Posted on May 30th, 2023

Did you know you can reduce your risk of sleep apnea and obesity? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, taking steps to be more active and losing weight are two of the most important things you can do to protect your health. 

So if you want to live healthier and prevent sleep apnea, start by following these tips.

Walk or jog every day 

Aim to spend at least thirty minutes a day either walking or jogging. These activities strengthen your heart and lungs. And they increase the amount of oxygen that flows through your body. Besides helping reduce your risk of sleep apnea and obesity, these activities can also…

  • Reduce stress levels
  • Improve your mood
  • Boost your energy level

According to a study published in Nature Medicine, you should take at least 8,200 steps in total each day. This amount of activity is enough to protect you from…

  • Obesity
  • Sleep apnea
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Major depressive disorder

To keep track of your steps, you can use a device like Fitbit or another fitness tracker. Or you can use the health app on your smartphone. 

You shouldn’t rely solely on these types of tools to gauge your health, however. These tools aren’t a substitute for having a healthcare professional evaluate your health status. But these tools can be a great motivator to get you moving more. (Just keep in mind that fitness trackers aren’t always 100% accurate.)

Eat a balanced diet 

Besides moving your body every day, you also need to eat a balanced diet. Eating the right foods can help you maintain or lose weight and give your body the nutrients it needs to stay healthy. Avoid processed foods high in fat and sugar, like chips, cookies, and candy. Instead focus on fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains.

Get enough high-quality sleep 

Finally, getting enough high-quality sleep each night is essential for your well-being. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults should get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night to stay healthy. 

Not getting enough high-quality sleep puts you at higher risk for obesity and other health problems, including…

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke 
  • Depression

To help you sleep better, you should establish a consistent sleep routine and create a sleep-conducive sleep space. Aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, including weekends, to regulate your body’s circadian rhythm. Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet to promote a comfortable sleep environment. 

Avoid sleep-disrupting substances, like caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol, in the hours leading up to bedtime. Instead, partake in relaxing activities, such as reading a book or taking a warm bath to help you wind down. Lastly, limit your screen time before bed and avoid using electronic devices in bed. The blue light emitted by screens can interfere with your sleep. 

When you exercise regularly, eat well, and sleep enough, you can lower your risk of sleep apnea and obesity and live a healthier life overall. So don’t wait – get up and get moving! It’s never too late to start taking better care of yourself. 

Dr. Meghna Dassani has practiced dentistry for over two decades and is passionate about the role dentists play in whole-body health. You can learn more at her website:

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