Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that can affect adults and children. If you suffer from sleep apnea, your breathing will stop and start again repeatedly throughout the night. If left untreated, it can pose several health risks ranging from minimal to severe.
If you have sleep apnea the best thing you can do is work with a doctor and/or sleep specialist to find a treatment plan that works best for your needs. There are, however, lifestyle changes that you can make to help manage your sleep apnea more effectively.
- Lose Weight. Nearly half of all patients who have sleep apnea are also overweight. Studies show that patients who lose 10 percent or more bodyweight greatly improve AHI (Apnea-Hypopnea Index) numbers and symptoms of sleep apnea. For some, losing weight can even cure the condition.
- Quit Smoking and Limit Alcohol Consumption. It’s already well known that smoking and drinking excessively are unhealthy lifestyle choices. But, were you aware that they can also worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea?
Drinking alcohol reduces muscle tone at the back of your throat which can hinder airflow. And, smoking causes swelling in your upper airway which can intensify snoring and breathing interruptions.
- Maintain a Healthy Diet. Unfortunately, one side effect of having sleep apnea may be making poor food choices. Sleep apnea affects your ability to get the proper amount of sleep, and research shows that when you don’t sleep well you are more likely to hunger for carbs. It has also been proven that lack of sleep can affect your leptin and ghrelin levels. These hormones control when you feel full or hungry. Setting yourself up on a healthy diet and not giving into these cravings can help you lose weight and get better sleep.
- Manage Your Allergies. When you have sleep apnea, breathing at night is already an issue. One that doesn’t need to be worsened by being stuffed up from allergies. When your allergies are aggravated it can cause your upper throat to swell, further narrowing the airway, making breathing even more difficult. Use a saline spray or neti-pot before bed to help keep things open. If that doesn’t help, talk to your physician about how to control them.
- Use a CPAP Machine. If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, it will likely be recommended that you use a CPAP machine. These machines are highly efficient at improving breathing while you sleep. There is an adjustment period when using one, but you will be glad you did. You can talk to our specialists to determine which device is right for you.
If sleep apnea is impacting your life, you must make lifestyle changes that improve your chances of quality sleep. For information about CPAP machines and other sleep products made to help treat sleep apnea, visit us at Valley Sleep Therapy or call us at (480) 361-0124. Browse our online CPAP supplies store or visit us in Mesa, AZ today.