Sleep Apnea is a common disorder, but many people who are suffering from it aren’t even aware. Being unaware of any disorder is dangerous, especially Sleep Apnea – if untreated, it may increase the risk of heart failure.
Feeling tired after a full night’s sleep or snoring loud enough to wake you up may be signs of Sleep Apnea.
Today, we will first learn a little bit more about Sleep Apnea and its symptoms. Then, we will discuss some natural preventive remedies.
Let’s begin the lifestyle journey to improve your sleep!
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep Apnea is a common and serious life-threatening condition, marked by pauses in breathing (or shallow breaths) during your sleep. Breathing pauses occurring up to five (or more) times per hour, may last 10 to 20 seconds or longer. The disorder often disrupts sleep, leading to poor sleep quality or daytime sleepiness.
Apart from snoring and gasping, some other symptoms of the disorder are morning headaches, difficulty concentrating, memory problems, mood swings or symptoms of depression, and a dry throat upon awakening.
There are two types of sleep disturbances: Obstructive Sleep & Central Sleep.
For people suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (the most common form of sleep apnea), airflow to the lungs is blocked because the airway is obstructed or has collapsed during sleep.
Whereas, central sleep apnea results from miscommunication between your breathing muscles and the brain region known for controlling your breathing. As per studies, central sleep apnea is less common than obstructive sleep apnea.
And if someone experiences a combination of obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea, it is known as Complex Sleep Apnea.
The Importance of Treatment
The disorder can lead to several critical complications if left untreated. A few of them are:
- Irregular Heartbeat
- High Blood Pressure
- Increased Risk For Heart Attack, Diabetes, Stroke, & Heart Failure
What 5 Lifestyle Changes Can Help Your Sleep Apnea?
1. Body-Weight Maintenance
Doctors recommend patients with sleep apnea to lose weight. Because commonly Obesity, in the upper body, may increase the risk of airway obstruction and narrow nasal passages.
Hence maintaining a healthy weight can reduce sleep apnea symptoms by keeping your airways clear.
Although weight loss can eliminate sleep apnea, the condition can return if you regain the weight.
2. Angling Your Head
It is found that sleeping with the head at an angle of about 60 degrees may help reduce the number of apnea episodes. For people who have the disorder, which worsens if they lie on their back and they find it difficult to sleep on their side, this solution may be effective.
If you don’t have a bed with an adjustable upper portion, you can use pillows or purchase a body wedge for your torso to keep your head elevated.
3. Avoiding Alcohol & Smoking
Try limiting your alcohol intake and quit smoking as both can help reduce sleep apnea complications.
- Refraining from smoking can ease symptoms because smoking leads to swelling in the upper airways and results in sleep apnea.
- Refraining from drinking alcohol is also helpful because consuming alcohol can relax the throat muscles, and increase the likelihood of snoring.
4. Regular Exercise
Regular exercise can help in many ways. Similarly, by increasing your energy levels and strengthening your heart, Yoga can also help to cure sleep apnea. It betters your respiratory strength and encourages oxygen flow.
Ultimately, Yoga reduces the number of sleep interruptions you may experience due to apnea.
5. Using A Humidifier
Humidifiers can add moisture to the air.
Dry air generally irritates the body and the respiratory system. Using a humidifier, this can open your airways, and encourage clearer breathing.
For added benefits, consider adding peppermint, lavender, or eucalyptus oil to a humidifier. These oils have their own anti-inflammatory and soothing benefits.
Time To See The Doctor!
If someone has issues with excessive daytime sleepiness — for instance, if they fall asleep at work — they should find the right doctor. They should also look for a doctor if a loved one witnesses them showing signs of frequent short breathing while they sleep.
Sleep apnea is critical because if a person stops breathing, the heart works hard to pump blood across the body to provide the oxygen that the body is not getting throughout apnea episodes. This extra pressure can damage the heart and result in high blood pressure and heart rhythm issues.
To prevent sleep apnea, visiting a qualified healthcare professional should be your priority.
Although home remedies and lifestyle changes for sleep apnea can help in reducing symptoms, prescribed medications are usually necessary to treat this condition.
It is recommended that, before pursuing alternative treatment, discuss your options with your doctor. Or, if your symptoms begin to worsen, seek medical attention immediately.