The following sleep tips for plus-size people can help you get better sleep as a plus-size individual. Fortunately, there are things you can do!
More than ever, people are embracing the shape of their bodies. Thanks to an approval movement that is breaking down bias. It’s all about encouraging body positivity and improving total self-image.
However, that doesn’t mean bigger people don’t have their challenges. Specifically when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep.
Sleep is essential to overall health and well-being. According to experts, adults need about 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night to feel their finest.
Sleep deficit, the cumulative impact of not getting enough sleep, is a serious issue. People who suffer from this condition are at an increased risk of multiple health issues.
These illnesses consist of diabetes, a weakened immune system, and high blood pressure. They can also experience psychological strains like anger, forgetfulness, and depression.
Research also suggests that sleep problems may add to weight gain. How? It increases hunger and weakens glucose metabolism.
Moreover, research studies reveal that many overweight people struggle with some kind of sleep problem.
Together, we’ll discuss a few of the most common sleeping issues plus-sized people deal with. Most importantly, we’ll explore what can be done about them.
Table of Contents
- 1 Sleep tips for plus size people and tricks to improve your sleep
- 2 Sleep & fitness
- 3 Weight loss and sleep tips for plus size people
- 4 Common sleeping problems plus-size individuals face
- 5 Sleep tips for plus size people: consider these accessories
- 5.1 Mattress types
- 5.2 Pillows
- 5.3 Bed mattress features
- 5.4 Bed frames
- 6 Last thoughts: Sleep tips for plus size people
Sleep tips for plus size people and tricks to improve your sleep
Do you realize that being overweight can be the source of your sleep problems?
Luckily, there are many techniques to lose weight and improve your sleep:
- Schedule exercises in the early morning or afternoon.
- Try moderate workouts, such as walking rapidly or active yoga, for a minimum of 30 minutes, five times a week.
- Avoid exercising three hours before bedtime, as it may be hard for your body to calm down.
Analyze your sleep schedule
- If you feel sluggish when you get up in the morning, it will probably help to sleep at least 7 hours per night.
- Establish a habitual bedtime and wake time.
- If you think you suffer from any sleep condition, consult an expert.
- Avoid heavy meals before bedtime
- Choose lean meats like fish and chicken
- Avoid fast food
- Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables
- Avoid foods high in carbs and fat
- Consult a nutritionist
Sleep & fitness
The advantages of regular workouts are well-documented.
Exercise can not only help you slim down and burn fat.
It also enhances your cardiovascular health and improves your mood!
Likewise, losing weight (in the belly) improves sleep quality and will help you sleep much faster, better, and deeper.
Lastly, it’ll make you feel more refreshed and alert the next morning.
In fact, 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise is enough to improve your sleep that night.
Examples of aerobic exercise are taking a brisk walk or participating in an active yoga class.
A research study about this topic was published in the journal Nature and Science of Sleep.
It says that having a fitness regimen may help you get rid of sleeping conditions.
It also enhances the quality of life, along with a lower risk for obesity-related conditions.
According to experts, morning or afternoon workouts are most beneficial to enjoy a night of better sleep.
Early morning exercises help with longer and much deeper sleep.
Afternoon exercises help you fall asleep faster.
Weight loss and sleep tips for plus size people
Now we know that losing weight is key to improving your sleep.
But in turn, sleep is an essential part of effective weight loss!
Studies suggest that people with poor sleep experience unwanted changes in their metabolic system.
An adult who sleeps only 4 hours a night is hungrier and has more cravings than someone who sleeps 10 hours a night.
But it’s not just that! These cravings are especially for calorie-dense foods that are high in carbs.
The hormonal agents that control hunger, called ghrelin and leptin, are affected by your amount of sleep.
But little sleep also zaps your energy. It’s tough to get in the mood for a workout when you’re already exhausted.
This is another way for your sleep to interfere with your goals.
It’s known that a healthy diet is crucial for weight reduction.
Diet plans that are too limiting might leave you starving at bedtime.
These cravings don’t just disrupt your sleep. They slow your body’s ability to convert proteins into muscle.
Be sure you are consuming enough healthier meals throughout the day.
By doing this, your body can draw energy from fats during the night.
Lastly, prevent heavy meals before bedtime to ensure a good night’s sleep.
Common sleeping problems plus-size individuals face
Restless leg syndrome
Restless leg syndrome or RLS is sometimes referred to as the Willis-Ekbom Disease.
It is an unpleasant feeling that causes an irresistible desire to move the legs.
RLS usually occurs in the evening when you’re trying to sleep and is often more severe at night.
The symptoms are generally described as
- needles and pins experience
Unfortunately, overweight adults, especially women, are at a greater risk of RLS.
A study about this topic was released in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
It stated that men and women with a BMI higher than 30 were almost 1,5 times more likely to experience RLS.
This is no surprise.
The brains of much heavier individuals have lower dopamine receptor levels.
The chemical dopamine is naturally created by the body.
Its function is to transmit signals between nerve cells.
About 80% of RLS patients also experience a condition known as PMLS, or routine limb motion of sleep.
Victims involuntarily fling their limbs every 15 to 40 seconds while they sleep.
Most victims have these movements throughout the entire night.
It’s easy to see how this hinders the patient from a good night’s sleep.
Walking around frequently helps eliminate signs of RLS.
But this is not always practical or long-lasting.
Some home remedies that may help reduce the discomforts resulted from RLS are
- massages and baths
- cool or warm packs
- avoiding caffeine
Medications utilized to deal with RLS
- a class of drugs called dopamine agonists
- medications like gabapentin that treat nerve discomfort
- sleeping pills
- opioid pain relievers
- muscle relaxers
Obesity hypoventilation syndrome
Obesity hypoventilation syndrome (OHS) is a treatable however serious breathing issue by overweight individuals.
This illness results in low oxygen levels and too much carbon dioxide in the blood.
The 3 primary characteristics of OHS are:
- Weight problems
- Daytime hypoventilation (insufficient movement of air in and out of your lungs)
- Disordered breathing throughout sleep (like obstructive sleep apnea)
Signs of OHS include:
- daytime sleepiness
- lack of energy
- loud and regular snoring
- sleep apnea
OHS can be deadly if left unattended.
Individuals who suffer from OHS must talk with a physician.
Treatment generally includes weight reduction and therapy to resolve your sleep disorder.
Asleep research study might be bought and other therapy prescribed, such as a CPAP (constant favorable respiratory tract pressure) or BPAP (bi-level favorable airway pressure).
In unusual cases, a tracheostomy may be needed to sufficiently deal with the low oxygen levels.
Researchers are investigating medications for the treatment of OHS.
At this point, none are authorized for use.
Overheating and sleeping hot
Obese or overweight people tend to overheat and sleep hot more during the night.
This can be disruptive to your sleep.
Body-fat tissue is an intense heat insulator that makes the distribution of heat harder.
A research study about this topic was published in the journal of The North American Menopause Society.
This study found that older women with a higher body mass index (BMI) experience more hot flashes throughout menopause.
Women experiencing hot flashes related to menopause might consider natural treatments, such as:
- black cohosh
- prescription drugs, such as hormonal agent therapy or low-dose antidepressants.
People who tend to sleep hot can usually discover relief by lowering the thermostat.
A ceiling fan can also cool down your bedroom. Using lightweight cotton bedding and clothing can also help.
Another method to cool down during the night is with a mattress made to keep you cool. This is maybe one of the best sleep tips for plus size people!
Memory foam is a popular option. However, it can soak up heat and make you hotter.
Some are instilled with copper, which assists in pulling heat away from the body.
Others are instilled with cooling gel, which can be literally cool to the touch.
Latex mattresses are also a good option because they have holes that allow air to travel through.
These holes make the mattress naturally cooler.
Sleep-related eating disorder (SRED) is a sleep condition in which individuals consume while they are asleep.
For instance, individuals with SRED might sleepwalk into the kitchen area and prepare a meal.
They’ll then eat it without even knowing or understanding they did it.
During SRED relapses, they might take in foods they don’t typically consume during the day.
They may even consume inedible objects or odd combinations of food, such as kitty litter.
Some consequences SRED has are:
- Cavities from consuming sugary foods
- Weight gain
- Injuries from preparing food, such as lacerations or burns
- Metabolic conditions such as diabetes or high cholesterol
- Illness from undercooked foods or consuming poisonous substances
Nighttime eating syndrome (NES) is a close cousin of SRED.
People with NES can’t fall to sleep unless they consume.
NES is usually diagnosed if nightly consumption continues for at least 2 months.
Treatment for SRED and NES generally involves an examination by a sleep expert.
Medication or treatments that might help victims are:
- cognitive-behavioral therapy
- relaxation training
More than 18 million adults in America experience sleep apnea. This illness is also known as obstructive sleep apnea. The most significant risk this causes is weight gain.
Sleep apnea is quite similar to snoring. It happens when your tongue is up to the back of your throat and blocks your windpipe.
The difference is that with sleep apnea, besides snoring, you also don’t breathe for several minutes.
This is the direct result of your air passage collapsing because of your tongue. This causes you to choke, cough, or gasp.
No wonder this wakes you consistently during the night. Sleep apnea can be dangerous.
It triggers low blood oxygen, which can cause hypertension and cardiovascular disease.
The worst part is that obese individuals are already at high risk for these conditions!
But here’s a tip: Raise the head of your bed. It might help reduce episodes of sleep apnea.
For more severe or frequent sleep apnea episodes, please consult a doctor or sleep specialist.
Doctors typically recommend gadgets like CPAP for the treatment of sleep apnea.
A CPAP machine increases air pressure in your throat. This prevents your airway from collapsing when you breathe during your sleep.
CPAP masks can be bulky and uncomfortable, but numerous users get used to them in time.
It would be more practical and less interfering to treat sleep apnea by losing weight.
Studies show that many people saw a 50% improvement in sleep apnea by losing just 10-15% of their body weight.
Individuals who lost as much as 60% of their body fat saw their sleep apnea episodes vanish entirely!
Obese people are more likely to struggle with heartburn.
This is a condition in which acid flows up into the esophagus, triggering inflammation and heartburn pain.
There are multiple reasons why plus-sized individuals are prone to heartburn.
One of those reasons is that the excess belly fat puts pressure on the stomach.
Another reason is a hiatal hernia that triggers acid to flow back up the esophagus.
A third reason is hormonal changes that cause an overproduction of acid.
Heartburn is more severe than just occasional gastric acid reflux.
With time, the acid can trigger problems like constricting of the esophagus.
This can cause problems swallowing and can also develop ulcers or sores.
These sores and ulcers can bleed, end up being unpleasant, or make swallowing tough.
Worst case, they can cause Barrett’s esophagus, a forerunner to esophageal cancer.
At any time of the day, acid reflux can occur. However, it typically raises its awful head in the evening and interferes with your sleep.
Attacks of acid reflux can be lowered by adjusting your way of life. Prescription acid-reducing medications can also provide some relief.
But medication alone probably won’t help. It’s highly recommended to minimalize the consumption of:
- carbonated beverages
- prepared tomato sauces
- hot foods
- high-fat foods
It may help to raise the head of your bed. Either with wedges under the mattress or with an adjustable bed frame.
By doing this, you rely on gravity to help acid flow back down the esophagus.
Perhaps the best way to reduce heartburn is to drop weight.
A study about this topic was released in the journal Obesity. Obese individuals who registered in a structured weight-loss program experienced fewer episodes of acid reflux.
This weight-loss program contained a healthy diet and regular physical activity. In fact, the more weight they lost, the more their signs improved.
There is a direct link between snoring and being obese. Snoring might not be as disruptive to the person itself, but it is to the person they’re sleeping with.
Beware: snoring can end up being louder over time. It also leads to sleep-breathing conditions, like sleep apnea.
The link between body fat and snoring depends on where your fat settles.
According to snore experts, snoring is triggered by neck fat compressing your airway when you’re lying down.
The fat that settles on your tummy rises on the diaphragm. Whereas fat on your chest compresses the ribcage.
All of these problems can inhibit the lung’s capacity and limit breathing. This, of course, causes snoring.
This fat distribution theory also explains why pregnant women are more likely to snore.
It also explains why males tend to snore more than females.
Men typically have more fat on the belly. Women, on the other hand, usually gain weight on the thighs, hips, and butt.
Still, women aren’t safe from snoring. When women strike menopause, their fat redistributes. In unfortunate cases, it can cause them to snore, too.
What are interesting sleep tips for plus size people who want to stop snoring? There are various things you can try…
For example, nasal strips or anti-snoring gadgets. Some sleep experts might advise surgical treatment.
CPAP pressurized air masks are frequently used to treat sleep apnea as well.
But don’t give up hope!
Here are some more natural options:
- Changing sleep positions. Sleeping on your side may prevent blockage of the windpipe by your tongue.
- Losing weight. Even a slight weight reduction can reduce the pressure fat puts on your neck, chest, or stomach.
- Limiting or avoiding alcohol before bedtime. Alcohol can relax the muscles in your throat and make you more prone to snoring.
- Raising the head of your bed.
Many people have difficulty getting comfy at night. This is even more challenging for plus-sized people.
Excess body weight increases pressure on joints. Most of all on the ankles, knees, and hips.
Gradually, this can trigger the cartilage in these joints to wear down.
Naturally, this results in pain and minimalizes movement. Lying down can add more pressure on the abdominal areas or hips.
This can cause even more unpleasant pain. Finding a pain-free and comfortable sleep position can be annoying.
It results in a lot of tossing and turning. Which hinders you even more from getting that much-needed sleep.
But what might possibly help, you ask?
Try sliding a pillow between your legs when sleeping on your side.
This position is most comfortable when you bend your knees a little, especially your top leg.
There are knee pillows and body pillows explicitly made for this!
Altering mattresses may be another choice. Specifically, if you’re not fitting correctly into your bed.
Mattresses can intensify existing pain or perhaps trigger new pain.
They do this by sagging or simply not providing enough support.
It’s only natural to desire a mattress that is comfortable and supporting.
Memory foam and latex mattresses are perfect for plus-sized people.
They provide pressure point relief at the hips and shoulders and keep the spine lined up.
These are such important qualities! They help a lot to reduce pain.
A mattress with excellent edge assistance will make it easier to get in and out of bed.
Some mattresses also come infused with copper. This metal is believed to help relieve joint aches and discomforts.
Sleep tips for plus size people: consider these accessories
The comfier you are, the better you sleep.
Some bed linen items and accessories can help you get all comfy in bed.
In the following paragraphs, we’ll discuss a few of these items that might help.
Memory foam is known for its comfort, contouring, and responsiveness.
Beds made with memory foam generally offer excellent pressure relief, spinal column alignment, and motion seclusion.
However, they can run hot if not instilled with cooling gels or minerals.
Latex matrasses are worth considering as well.
Even though latex beds are less contouring than memory foam.
They do offer similar pressure relief, spine alignment, and motion seclusion.
They also have small holes that help with airflow and, as a result, are naturally cooling.
Traditional mattresses are made with steel coil building.
These coils give the mattress more bounce than beds without innerspring.
These beds typically have less pressure point relief and spine positioning.
Hybrid mattresses offer a mix of two different mattress materials.
They usually combine innerspring and a thicker layer of foam.
Knee pillows are much shorter versions of body pillows.
They are designed to fit conveniently between your knees while pushing your side to assist with back and sciatica pain.
Body pillows are long, narrow pillows.
They’re developed to lay along your body, in between your legs as you push your side.
These pillows help improve spinal column positioning and minimize back or hip pain.
Wedge pillows are triangle-shaped, tapered pillows made from firm foam.
They’re designed to keep your head elevated in the evening.
This way, they assist with issues like:
- acid reflux
- sleep apnea.
Hot sleepers might appreciate a cooling pillow.
These types of pillows are made from gel-infused memory foam or latex.
Bed mattress features
Pressure point relief
Mattresses nowadays are made with comfort in mind.
As a result, this feature is essential for heavier individuals.
Since heavy individuals are most likely to experience persistent aches and discomforts.
Look out for a mattress that’s firm enough to relieve pressure points at the shoulders and hips.
Another essential feature to look out for is spine alignment.
Mattresses that keep the spine lined up when on your side help reduce back pain.
Overweight women, especially when menopausal, tend to sleep hotter or suffer from night sweats.
Check out mattresses containing the following features to enjoy a chiller night:
- naturally cooling latex
- infused with heat-dispersing copper
- infused with cooling gel
Heavier people need a bed mattress that is sturdy enough to support their weight.
However, the bed needs to be flexible enough to last a while.
Standard mattresses can accommodate people up to 250 pounds.
Beds made for 2 adults mostly have a 500-pound weight limit.
Mattresses that isolate movement are interesting when sleeping with a partner.
This feature keeps you from waking your partner when you roll over or get out of bed.
A medium-firm to firm mattress should provide excellent support for heavier individuals.
A mattress that’s too soft will let heavier people sink in too far.
This way, it’ll be more challenging to get in or out of bed.
Support along the edge of the bed has many benefits.
First of all, it protects you from falling off the edge.
Second, it supplies support to help you climb in and out of bed.
They have to make sure the bed can hold at least a certain weight.
Not just their own weight and their partner’s.
The bed must also hold the extra weight of the mattress.
Luckily, some sturdy metal and steel bed frames, even heavy-duty bunk beds, have a capacity of 2,000 pounds or more and are perfect for tall, big and plus-size adults.
Adjustable beds allow you to raise the head and/or feet of the bed mattress.
This is a feature that is often underestimated!
Not only does it give you the comfort to read, watch television, or sleep in the same place.
It also allows you to reduce snoring, relieve sleep apnea and acid reflux attacks.
All of this, simply by raising the head of the bed by 4 inches.
Last thoughts: Sleep tips for plus size people
Everyone is worthy of a good night’s sleep, no matter the size. Whether you’re enjoying your body or beginning a weight-loss journey.
However, you may experience more sleep issues by being overweight. Many of these issues can be helped by losing weight.
Hopefully, many of these sleep tips for plus size people will be helpful.
If not, look for services that can help solve your sleep issues. After all, sleeping well and waking up refreshed is essential.