Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition which prevents the sufferer from breathing properly at night. Fortunately, there are some natural ways to deal with it.
Sleep. Heard of it? It’s that thing none of us are getting anymore. An ever-increasing amount of us suffer from sleep disorders. And while any disruption to our slumber is bad for our health, some should be treated more seriously than others. Obstructive sleep apnea is one of those.
Sufferers of the condition experience an uncontrollable narrowing of their air passages during the night, one that can cause repeated pauses in breathing. These pauses can last anywhere from seconds to a minute. Scary stuff!
While individuals with apnea will often feel fatigued in the morning, what’s worrying is many people don’t even know they have the condition.
Using a continuous positive airways pressure device (CPAP mask) is often seen as the most effective means to combat the disorder. However, an alarming proportion finds wearing a CPAP mask so uncomfortable they’d rather take their chances without it.
Fortunately, however, other more natural remedies for obstructive sleep apnea do exist. We will take a brief look at five of the most effective below…
1. Drop a few pounds
No, I am not calling you fat. Statistics are.
If you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, there’s a good chance you are carrying a little bit more weight than you ought to be. This is not always the case. But if it is (and be honest now), then losing a few pounds will do wonders for the condition.
When we gain weight, we don’t just get a bit fatter around the gut, we put on weight in all manner of places you would not expect. Including around the neck. Fatty deposits anywhere around our airwaves can increase the chances of breathing difficulties.
A rough rule of thumb is if you a man with a collar size over 17 inches or a woman with one over 15 inches then you have an increased risk of developing sleep apnea.
If you are a man, or a woman, with a larger than average neck and you’re concerned you may have sleep apnea, check out this guide on how to make sure.
2. Adjust your position
Very few of us actively think about how we sleep. It is just something we do. Some of us sleep on our front, others curl up into little balls and some of us pass out on our back.
It’s the latter, those back sleepers, who are at the greatest risk of sleep apnea. Due to a little thing called gravity, adopting this position means the tongue presses back against your throat and palate, and causes problems.
Research conducted by the University of Maryland suggests sleeping on your side and elevating the head to be the best position, followed by sleeping on your stomach.
3. Quit Smoking
I’m not even going into any detail on this one as it’s such a no-brainer. If you smoke and you suffer from sleep apnea. Stop smoking. Anything to do with breathing is made worse with the consumption of cigarettes. I know it is hard, but please try.
4. Avoid alcohol within 4 hours of bedtime
While everyone knows the impact smoking has on breathing conditions, the link between alcohol consumption and respiration is less well known.
Alcohol relaxes us, it relaxes our muscles. Which sounds lovely but it’s not always a good thing. Especially when we need those muscles to help control our breathing. Such as the muscles in our throat.
Alcohol effectively decreases our bodies drive to breath. Which is definitely not a positive outcome if you are a sufferer from a breathing condition such as obstructive sleep apnea.
It’s also thought that alcohol consumption can increase the chances of fluid retention and inflammation in our airway. Again not something apnea sufferers should be encouraging.
Cutting out alcohol completely does many good things for our sleep but if the prospect of giving up the drink for good is too much, avoiding the vino before bed is the next best thing.
5. Sing yourself to sleep
Singing, however badly you do it, has been found to reduce the severity of sleep apnea.
I know it seems a little bit random but the reason is quite simple when you think about it. Singing is a form of exercise. Regular practice leads to stronger and better-conditioned muscles in the throat.
Now to feel the effect, you don’t have to rush off and join the nearest glee club. You don’t even have to remember the lyrics to any song. No, experts suggest a simple set of daily vocal exercises are enough to strengthen weak throat and palate muscles.
There you have it – five simple and natural remedies that will help you control your obstructive sleep apnea.