Sleep apnea is a serious disorder that causes interrupted breathing while you’re asleep. This sleep disorder is usually accompanied by loud snoring and exhaustion during the day. In some cases, sleep apnea can even cause chronic sleep deprivation which may consequently result in irritability, moodiness, depression and even serious health issues, including liver problems, weight gain, diabetes and heart disease.
The symptoms of sleep apnea include daytime sleepiness, loud snoring, headaches, memory loss, waking up abruptly followed by shortness of breath, etc. Should you or your partner notice any of these symptoms, you should make some changes in your life that will help you fight sleep apnea.
Exercising regularly is an important step in fighting sleep apnea for several reasons. Proper and regular workout affects the quality and duration of your sleep. Activities like yoga, aerobic or resistance training can alleviate sleep apnea symptoms. Exercising is also of the utmost importance for losing weight.
Obesity is one of the major factors that cause sleep apnea because the back of the throat in overweight people has extra tissue that can cover the airway, blocking the airflow. If you aren’t generally an active person, it’s time you changed that. You can start hiking, jogging, running or simply riding a bike with your friends.
Change your diet
A healthy and balanced diet will help you lose extra weight and fight sleep apnea. If you’re overweight, you should aim at losing 10 percent of your weight. It has been shown that this amount can reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea. To achieve this, you simply have to stick to a healthy diet and avoid eating unhealthy foods. Your diet should include fibre, healthy fats, plenty of vitamins and other essential nutrients.
Smoking is one of the habits that can greatly worsen the symptoms and cause the inflammation in the airways. Cigarette smoke can increase fluid retention in your throat, narrow down the airways and disrupt the flow of oxygen. Thus, leaving this bad habit behind is crucial if you want to alleviate sleep apnea.
Avoid alcohol, sedatives and sleeping pills
Substances like alcohol, sedatives, sleeping pills and tranquilisers can interfere with the quality of your sleep. In addition, all of these substances will deprive you of oxygen by depressing your brain activity. If you have difficulties giving up any of these substances, at least don’t take them before you go to bed. However, it’s highly advisable that you stop taking them altogether.
Modify your sleeping position
Getting enough sleep is another factor that can help you fight sleep apnea. You need to ensure that you get enough quality sleep and your sleeping position can help you achieve that. Avoid sleeping on your back because it’s much easier for your tongue and tissue to obstruct your airway.
Instead, you should sleep on your side and place a pillow to keep your head slightly raised. Another possible position is sleeping on your stomach. Whichever choice you make, it’s important that you wake up feeling well-rested and energised.
Sleep apnea is a serious condition, so it’s important that you schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as you notice the first symptoms and they will prescribe an appropriate treatment. You will most likely be prescribed a breathing device to help you with your problem. Among the most common options are CPAP machines; there are varieties suitable for different types of sleep apnea and they may help prevent unpleasant apnea episodes while you’re asleep.
Continuous Positive Airflow Pressure (CPAP) devices are typically used to keep your airway open by providing a constant flow of air.
There are other devices that can help you control sleep apnea. For example, you can use dental devices that you can place inside your mouth or around your head to adjust the lower jaw. This way, these devices bring your jaw and tongue forward, opening your airway.
However, dental devices are typically used for mild to moderate sleep apnea, so they might not be suitable for you if you’re experiencing more severe symptoms.
With several lifestyle changes and proper treatment, you can control sleep apnea and alleviate its symptoms. What’s important is that you don’t underestimate the severity of this condition and get professional help.