Health research based on the analysis of records from an NSW sleep clinic revealed Australian are losing sleep due to their increasing waistlines.

The analysis gathering data from 1987 to 2007 of the sleep clinic discovered a gradual increase in the weight of patients seeking for treatment.

The severity of breathing-related sleep disorders, according to the study had increased in correlation with the increase in the patient's obesity level.

Dr Jeffery Pretto and colleagues stated in the report published in the Medical Journal of Australia that there is a continuing trend towards increasing body weight ... in people undergoing diagnostic sleep studies.

The conclusion based on the study findings stresses that the increasing severity observed in sleep-disordered breathing is primarily due to the increasing level of obesity.

The diagnostic sleep assessment from 1987 to 2007 at the John Hunter Hospital, in Newcastle involved more than 14,500 patients who were referred to the adult sleep clinic.

The patients' average body weight - during the study period- was seen to rise by 11 per cent (from 89kg to 99kg) for males and 16 per cent (from 73kg to 85kg) for females.

The sleep disorders also involved sleep apnea - a condition whereby the person's airway collapse causing them to wake, characterized by one or more pauses or shallowed breathing, leading to a cycle of disturbed sleep.

Male patients experienced an additional 5.5 problematic events per hour of sleep and female patients had an extra 2.8 events - for every unit rise on the body mass index.

A worrying problem is that while Australia nears the obesity levels in the US, the nation is well behind in terms of the rate of overweight patients getting sleep-disorder treatments.

Dr Pretto said sleep laboratory services and treatment centers will be receiving higher demands in the coming years.