Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that affects people with sleep apnea. It is characterized by pauses in breathing or shallow breathing during sleep, usually lasting 10-20 seconds. These pauses can happen from 10-100 times an hour and are caused by the relaxation of the muscles at the back of the throat. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type, where the airways become blocked, making breathing difficult. Central sleep apnea is another type, which is related to the function of the brain and is often a symptom of an underlying illness.
Mild to moderate sleep apnea can be successfully managed through lifestyle changes, while severe sleep apnea may require a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine and other treatments prescribed by a sleep specialist. People with sleep apnea Australia may also experience daytime sleepiness and other symptoms, which can be assessed through a sleep study.
If you suffer from sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, or mild sleep apnea, you may experience daytime sleepiness, fatigue, and exhaustion most mornings. People with sleep apnea can attest to this feeling. Fortunately, there are natural home remedies that can help improve the symptoms of sleep apnea and help you live a quality life.
If you have been diagnosed with severe obstructive sleep apnea, moderate obstructive sleep apnea, or obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, it is recommended to speak with a sleep specialist about the best way to treat your sleep apnea. Treatments can include using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine or a sleep study. Reading below will help you learn more about treating sleep apnea.
Being overweight increases in most cases increases your chances of developing sleep apnea and also worsens the condition if you already have it.
Excess fat around your neck area can impair your breathing and ensure you don’t get a good night’s rest.
The first step to treat sleep apnea is to lose weight. This can be achieved by-
- Cut down your intake of processed food
- Reduce your consumption of beverages high in sugar
- Exercise regularly daily even if it means dedicating 30 minutes to it
Don’t sleep on your back
Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. Risk factors for developing sleep apnea include loud snoring, high blood pressure, untreated allergies, and being overweight. One of the most common treatments for mild Obstructive Sleep Apnea is body positioning. Research has shown that sleeping on your back can cause difficulty breathing, increase the risk of developing sleep apnea, and worsen existing episodes.
Therefore, it is beneficial for sleep apnea patients to sleep on their side. To help facilitate this, side-sleeping backpacks are available that have a bulging part on the back, to make sure you turn back to your side if you try to lay on your back. If you don’t have money to buy one of these, you can use a tennis ball or another item to attach to the back of your pajamas to keep you from sleeping on your back. Other treatments for sleep apnea include the use of positive airway pressure, or PAP Therapy, which uses air pressure to keep the airways open, and Treatment Emergent Central Sleep Apnea, which is used to help those with central sleep apnea fall asleep more easily. If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to serious health problems.
Make healthy lifestyle changes
Asides losing weight and maintain a good sleeping position, you need to make sure all round, you engage in activities that promote your being healthy. Some healthy lifestyle changes are:
- Reducing your intake of coffee and alcohol. These can cause the throat muscles to relax and increase loud snoring.
- Stop smoking. Even after the pack reads “smokers are liable to die young”, some people still go ahead to purchase cigarettes. This is so wrong. Asides ruining your lungs and liver, smoking cause your upper airways to swell. Thus, if you smoke, sleep apnea might not be so far from you.
- Purchasing allergy medications or nasal decongestants to reduce fluid buildup and increase airflow in the nasal passage.
Making these healthy changes reduce your episodes of sleep apnea and also improve its symptoms.
Raise the head of your bed
A lot of people don’t know that sleeping with a bed that’s low at the head area worsens sleep apnea. Getting an adjustable bed and fixing its head at an angle of about 60 degrees can reduce your sleep apnea episodes.
This is an amazing option for people with sleep apnea that worsens when they lie on their back and do not enjoy sleeping on their side.
It could also an adjustable chair if you enjoy sleeping in your sitting room. Alternatively, you can use pillows to elevate your head or purchase a body wedge.
Using dental or oral devices
This is another popular home remedy for sleep apnea. There are oral devices you can wear to hold your jaw or tongue in a forward position to promote better airway passage.
Devices like these require a prescription from a specialist. So, if you are looking to get it, go see your doctor.
Playing the didgeridoo
Although it is an unpopular recommendation, research has demonstrated that playing the didgeridoo, a wooden wind instrument popular in Australia, can help patients with mild obstructive sleep apnea manage their condition. The special breathing technique used to play the didgeridoo helps to strengthen the airway muscles, thus reducing the risk factors associated with sleep apnea, such as falling asleep suddenly, untreated sleep apnea, loud snoring, and developing a sleep disorder. People who participated in the study experienced less daytime sleepiness and fewer apnea episodes compared to those who did not participate. Positive airway pressure, which is used to diagnose, treat, and stop breathing pauses associated with sleep apnea, can also help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of developing emergent central sleep apnea.
See also: Eliminate those CPAP machine problems with these simple rules
Some causes of sleep apnea
The following have been identified by doctors as factors that contribute or cause sleep apnea.
- Being overweight as mentioned earlier
- Having a small jaw
- Having a family history of the condition
- Smoking and consuming alcohol
- Being aged 40 and older
- Having a large tongue, uvula or tonsils
Foods that aid sleep apnea
For what you can consume to improve the symptoms of sleep apnea, check the food categories below-
Foods with melatonin
Foods rich in melatonin are highly recommended for people with sleep apnea. You find melatonin a lot of fruits and vegetables. They enhance sleep naturally and are good for your overall health.
Some of them you can try are asparagus, cherries, grapes, cucumbers, and corn. Cherries juice is a much more natural source of melatonin so you may want to start with that.
You can also get melatonin from omega-3 foods. They significantly improve sleep apnea symptoms. Seafood items are one of the greatest sources of omega-3 fatty acids. So, you can try getting some shrimp, tuna and salmon for a start.
Tryptophan infused foods
Tryptophan is another healthy source of serotonin and melatonin. It is an amino acid that aids proper growth in infants and help the body maintain its proteins. It is essential you consume foods rich in this acid if you have sleep apnea.
Some good sources of tryptophan are oats, turkey, chicken, peanuts, bread, milk, dried prunes and cheese.
Foods you should avoid if you have sleep apnea
If you suffer sleep apnea, try as much as possible to avoid-
- High-fat dairy foods
- Fatty meats
These foods worsen the condition and can cause inflammation all over your body.
Sleep apnea is a condition that takes away quality sleep from you and makes you quite unproductive by daytime. The remedies above will go a long way in improving your symptoms and overall health.