Sufferers of the sleep disorder obstructive sleep apnoea could benefit from following a low energy diet to lose weight, research published on bmj.com reveals.
Sleep apnoea is a common disorder caused by abnormal pauses in breathing during sleep, which leaves sufferers feeling tired after a night's sleep.
The research, led by Kari Johansson from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, investigated whether a low energy diet followed by counselling to keep weight under control benefited patients with sleep apnoea.
The study included 63 men between 30 to 65 years of age who suffered from moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnoea. The participants had a body mass index range of 30 to 40.
Of the 63 patients, 58 completed a very low energy diet for nine weeks followed by a one year weight maintenance programme.
The low energy diet was based on the Cambridge weight plan, comprising a range of meal replacement products – such as shakes, soups, bars and porridge – which contain necessary vitamins and minerals.
Patients who lost weight after nine weeks on the diet maintained this after a year and this had a positive effect on their sleep apnoea, the study found.
One year on, 48 per cent of patients no longer required a mask designed to help breathing during sleep and 10 per cent had total remission, researchers said.