Healthy Living

Lifestyle Tips for People with Sleep Apnea

Lifestyle Tips for People with Sleep Apnea

Key Takeaways

  • Fat deposits in the upper airway obstruct your normal breathing. Obesity exacerbates sleep apnea.
  • An elevated head frees the air passage by preventing acid reflux, therefore, affecting your sleep positively.
  • Let the bed be exclusively for sleeping and sex.
  • Exercising will help you get a better night's sleep.
  • Keep your bedroom dark, cool and comfortable, and try using a humidifier.

People with sleep apnea disorder may not be aware of the problem at all. In most cases, they think they are getting good sleep but are then tired throughout the day. Here are a few ways to help change lifestyle habits to cope with sleep apnea.

Lose weight

Having a poor night of sleep induces higher cravings for food rich in high calories. If there is a lack in energy to exercise because of sleepiness, this may lead to noticeable weight increase. Excess weight around the neck area affects the throat muscles’ breathing capability. So what’s the problem? Fat deposits in the upper airway obstruct normal breathing. Obesity exacerbates sleep apnea.

How to lose weight

Regular exercises: Exercising is a good way to get a good sleep. What's more, it regulates hormones, burns calories, and breaks up nasal congestion while adding body mass. Simple exercises such as brisk walking as well as 30 minutes of moderate activity will help improve your sleeping pattern. Add more exercises to your regimen so that you challenge your muscles. Some examples are yoga and weight training.

Use essential oils: Natural oils like ginger, grapefruit and cinnamon assist in controlling appetite, digestive systems, and hormones. Therefore, helping you lose weight.

High-fiber diet: Your diet should comprise of fiber such as seeds, legumes, nuts, fruits, and veggies. And you know what? Your daily fiber intake should range between 25-50 grams per day.

Reduce alcohol consumption, sedatives and sleeping pills

Alcohol in itself is a sedative, but it does not allow you to get to sleep faster. This means you have poor quality sleep. It suppresses your breathing. In addition to that, smoking and alcohol inflame the airways causing fluid retention which leads to sleep disturbance. If you must take alcohol, do it 3 hours before going to bed. Alcohol abuse often leads to oversleeping.

Treat coughs, acid reflux and congestion

Nasal congestion can lead to the development of sleep apnea. The esophageal reflux may lead the acid right into your throat, causing irritation and swelling around your throat muscles. Gravity keeps the acid in its rightful place – which is the stomach for digestion. When you sleep, the acid may leak back into the esophagus and damage the lining. According to some researchers, the acid may cause spasms of your vocal cords leading to sleep apnea. You tend to breathe harder when you have sleep apnea because the breathing stops. So, it induces the reflux to enter your esophagus. Reflux cause people to wake up from sleep. Improve your diet to reduce occurrences or exposure to allergies. An elevated head frees the air passage by preventing acid reflux, therefore, affecting your sleep positively. If you get to sleeping well it will leave you feeling rested and refreshed.

Humidify the bedroom

A humidifier can help drain the sinuses and allow more air movement through the airways. A humidifier eases symptoms of common cold and flu. An essential oil like eucalyptus soothes a stuffy nose or throat. In fact, it naturally opens your airways so that you have less congestion and an improvement in breathing. Like everything else, use it properly and clean it properly. Otherwise, it may cause the growth of bacteria and molds. Find many hacks to clean the humidifier.

Use a sleep device

The goal of using a sleep device is to open the airways to enable you to breathe properly. There are various devices on the market that can be used. Some examples are as follows:

CPAP(Continuous Positive Airway Pressure)

CPAP is used to treat sleep apnea to relieve the sleep apnea problem. You wear a nasal or face mask during sleep. Some patients who have used it observed mental sharpness and elevated energy during the day. A word of caution: some patients find it uncomfortable and they suffer mild and temporary nasal congestion, abdominal bloating and soreness in the eyes. It is important to have patient education before using the device.

Other breathing devices

Dental devices

There are two main categories of dental devices:

1. Tongue retaining mouthpieces: The device holds your tongue to allow the airway to stay open. It may be hard getting used to it. Also, it can be less comfy. Some patients complain of excessive salivation or dry mouth. If you have failed CPAP this is the best choice. People with mild apnea may also prefer the mouthpiece device.

2. Mandibular Advancement Devices (MADs): It resembles the mouth guard athletes wear. You snap it over the top and bottom teeth. MAD opens the airway moving your lower jaw forward. Also, it improves the strength and rigidity of your airways through stretching the activity of the tongue’s muscles and the muscles of your airways.

Implants

Many patients remain untreated because of inconsistencies in the levels of adherence to other therapies like CPAP and dental devices. The implants look like the cardiac pacemaker. It is designed to significantly reduce or eliminate sleep apnea. They are surgically implanted systems to help people with mild or severe sleep apnea. The implant sends mild pulses to your hypoglossal nerve in the neck. In fact, it is kind of a pacemaker for your tongue with the aim of keeping your airway open all night long. One of the advantages of the device is the freedom to sleep without having to worry about wearing masks.

Surgery

Limitations of CPAP or dental devices may be a viable solution to your apnea problem. A clinical evaluation and treatment plan is needed before the surgical operation can take place so as to maximize safety and increase outcome.

Keep the bedroom at a cool temperature

The bedroom temperature can make and break your snooze. For optimal sleep, your bedroom should be dark, cool and quiet at night. A warm room may result in restless nights and sleeping problems. It is easier to shut the eyes at night in a cool room rather than in a hot one.

Let the bed be exclusively for sleeping and sex

As much as bed rest restores normal brain activity, it’s also healthy for people suffering from concussions or brain injuries. Lazing in bed can be detrimental to ones' health. There are lots of risks associated with oversleeping such as stress and depression that come with it. Oversleeping or under sleeping are likely to cause weight gain. Obstructive sleep apnea results in oversleeping.

Develop a sleep schedule

Napping interferes with your sleep. So, avoid naps even if you feel very tired. Avoid nightlights because it contributes to shifting your body clock to a later schedule. Strictly follow your sleep schedule and avoid straying from it. Did you know that even one-night stay can ruin the entire schedule?

Closing thoughts

Scheduling a doctor’s visit is the most important thing to do in order to solve the sleep apnea condition. Most of the people who suffer from this condition are either in denial or are unaware of it. Obviously, some of them have trouble waking up in the morning at the same time going to bed at the right time. Not all patients remain compliant using CPAP so other alternatives should be explored; for instance some end up tossing at night when they wear the mask. Work with your physicians to develop the best sleep schedule and practices for you.