Folks suffering from sleep apnea, which is a disorder that interrupts your rest with short and shallow breaths, know all too well the results of not getting the full eight hours they need.
Sleep is as important to our health and well-being as eating and breathing. Just as we suffer when we don’t consume healthy foods or when we find ourselves short of breath, not getting a good night’s sleep is detrimental to our over health.
While we sleep, we reboot our system. Our cardiovascular system repairs itself, our brain takes time to file lessons, and when we wake to take on the day we feel refreshed and feeling good. When our slumber is interrupted from deep sleep into light our bodies don’t have the repair time they need, which leaves us feeling sluggish and not at our best.
For the sufferer of sleep apnea, the loss of sleep isn’t a conscious choice and if you are reading this article then we think it’s a safe bet that chemical or pharmaceutical remedies aren’t what you are looking for. Never fear. We have compiled some home remedies for you to try.
First things first
Before we get into how to cure or cope, with your sleep apnea, let’s make sure this is the disorder with which you are dealing.
1. Chronic snoring
This type of snoring tends to be loud and it is believed that the pauses in breathing that define sleep apnea are most likely to occur within the snoring. This snoring does not have to happen every night for it to be sleep apnea. But if left untreated the snoring might grow more frequent and deafening.
It is worth mentioning that not all snoring is the result of sleep apnea. Snoring can be caused by a myriad of things including allergies, the consumption of alcohol, and the anatomy of your sinuses or mouth.
2. Gasping or choking
This will also happen during the night, possibly after your pauses in breath during the snoring. Often the sufferer is the last to know that the gasps and/or choking actually occurs. Usually, their sleeping partner is the first to notice the signs.
3. Daytime drowsiness
Being tired during the day even though you got what your thought to be enough hours in can be another sign of sleep apnea. While short breaths seem like they would wake you up, we’ve mentioned that these breaths can happen during snoring and the sufferer might not be aware that their sleep is being interrupted.
In short, if you are often tired during the day but you know you get to bed at decent hour then you may be suffering from sleep apnea and not even know it.
4. Other symptoms
If you are also waking up with headaches in the morning, having problems remembering things, unable to concentrate, feeling sad or easily annoyed, have a need to urinate often, or a constant sore throat or dry mouth then you may have sleep apnea.
When you fall asleep the muscles that help keep your airway tight loosen by relaxing, which proposes no problem from the person not suffering from sleep apnea. For those who are, odds are it is one of these problems.
The tongue and muscles in the throat are more relaxed than they should be.
The tonsils and tongue might be large in comparison with the windpipe aperture.
Due to maturity, the signals your brain sends to your throat muscles reminding them to stiffen while sleeping is limited.
Excess weight, which can make the walls of your windpipe can thicken which limits the ability to open fully.
Your body may be shaped with a bonier design, particularly in your head and neck, which lends to a narrower windpipe.
1. Lose weight
This one isn’t as easy for some as it is for others. Yet it is hard to deny that keeping a good weight for your height is healthy in a wide array of areas other than just your sleep. Although we think it is worth mentioning that weight loss does not happen overnight so while dieting and adding exercise to your schedule make sure to try some other natural sleep apnea remedies.
2. Sleep positioning
If you snore more when you are sleeping on your back but don’t when you sleep on your side, or if the opposite is the case, then this simple therapy technique of sleeping on the side that aids your disorder might be what you need. Include that with an appropriate mattress for back sleepers and the results could be tremendous. Of course, be aware that you may change positions in the middle of the night.
There are several herbs recommended by professionals to help ease your sleep apnea suffering. While they have the potential to eliminate your sleep apnea they can also aid you in getting some of the best sleep you’ve ever experienced. The three most popular herbs to induce intoxicating sleep are lavender, valerian, and chamomile.
This remedy has the science to back it with numerous experiments backing this claim.
This remedy isn’t for everyone, especially those who are afraid of needles, yet this type of treatment is centuries old; older than the actual term sleep apnea. This is another cure that has a scientific backing.
In Science Direct, a prestigious scientific journal, a report was published on nearly 40 patients in Brazil who used acupuncture to help with their sleep apnea with positive results. The idea is that the acupuncture helps open the upper passages in the throat and helps it stay open while you are dreaming.
Believe it or not, like anything else, what you eat can affect your disorder. Recommended foods include fish, olive oil, whole grains, avocado, and vegetables like leafy greens, broccoli, brussel sprouts, and cabbage.
Foods to avoid include bananas, meats, butter, fast foods, alcohol, which are all the things that, if avoided, will help you lose that weight. An experiment published in the British Medical Journal showed that a balanced menu with low-energy foods was able to help patients with this disorder lose weight, which ultimately helped them sleep better.
6. Breathing Exercises
Whether using yoga or meditation breathing, practicing Zen filled breathing techniques can aid in your quest to cure your sleep apnea. This remedy is called a practice for a reason, once you start meditation and breathing exercises you need to keep it up for them to work.
The good news is your body gets used to the exercise and every time your practice your meditation grows deeper. In the meantime, your diaphragm grows stronger, which allows for more oxygen to get in.
Another breathing exercise that some believe helps with sleep apnea is the Buteyko Breathing Technique, although there is no scientific evidence to prove its benefits. The system of breaths, specific to this technique, were created by Dr. Konstantin Buteyko who was trying to find help for patients suffering from asthma or other respiratory ailments.
The Buteyko Breathing Technique replaces your current breathing style with monotonous breathing exercises.
7. Nasal Irrigation
Have you heard of a neti pot? Well, this is one of the many different ways you can irrigate your sinuses, which is another method of relieving yourself of sleep apnea symptoms. The idea is to flush your nasal cavity with a saline solution, which cleans it and clears out any mucus or antigens that have made a home there.
Other methods besides the neti pot include syringes or squeeze bottles.
8. Gargle with salt water
This one falls into the same mindset of the nasal irrigation. The healing powers of salt water when it comes to your sinuses and throats are amazing. It is recommended that you mix one teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water for a proper gargle mixture.
Salt water gargles also help with sore throats, cankers sores, toothaches, oral infections, bad breath, bleeding gums, and it helps cleanse your mouth.
9. Stick to a schedule
Our circadian rhythms are the natural sleep clocks inside our brains. But when they are disrupted because we stayed up too late to work on that project or we don’t stick to a sleep/wake up schedule, then these rhythms can get thrown off and sleep apnea can be a result.
While we are advocates for naps, don’t overdo it and try to get to bed the same time every night.
10. Sleep apnea pillow
These specialty pillows are designed specifically for folks who suffer from sleep apnea. They can coax you into a sleep position that works best for your sleep apnea, which is typically your side. It is believed that sleeping on your back aggravates sleep apnea symptoms more than any other position.
There are many different styles and manufacturers of sleep apnea pillows available.
11. Sing it out
You read that correctly, singing therapy is yet another way of curing your sleep apnea. The act of singing makes the muscles in your air passages stronger with every note. When they get stronger, the odds that those muscles will collapse when sleeping grows less and less frequent.
The suggestion is to focus on vowel sounds when you are doing your singing exercises. When you sing the “ahs” or “yahs” in repetition focus on opening your mouth nice and wide. This forces the back of the throat to open. If you can move your tongue down and toward the front of your mouth the air will pass freely over your throat.
The best part about this technique is all the fun you can have pretending to be a rock star.
We feel confident that if you try one or several of these natural treatments, your sleep apnea should be easier to deal with if not cured altogether.