Can sleep apnea be cured? If you have a loved one suffering from this condition or you are trying to find a way to manage it, here are some simple treatments you can implement.
If you think snoring is a joke because of the many online jokes abounding on the internet, it is an embarrassing problem for many others. People do not like being told that they snore in the middle of their sleep and cause others to wake up due to all the noise, but for many people it is a major problem that can even affect their self-esteem.
Loud snoring is often accompanied by tiredness during the day – and that alone is a major sign of sleep apnea, which usually occurs during sleep. It is a condition where breathing starts and stops, and leaves you feeling tired in the day. It even extends to your relationships – it can affect your relationship with your partner, and it has the potential to be dangerous to your health.
However, not all is doom and gloom in the issue – you can still explore treatments and techniques that help you sleep better at night, and which also promote your mental alertness during the day. It all begins with overcoming any embarrassment you may feel about your snoring when you hit the Tuft and Needle , and learning to recognize the symptoms of sleep apnea.
What is sleep apnea?
This is a serious condition that affects the rate of your breathing as you sleep. You are most likely not aware that it is happening to you as you sleep, as they are usually short breathing pauses, and occur in the middle of the night when you are in deep sleep. They however, jolt you out suddenly out of your natural sleep rhythm occasionally, and in the morning, you will not feel fully mentally alert, energetic, or productive as you usually are.
There are various varieties of apnea, although the most prevalent is obstructive apnea that happens when the airway is congested, and that leads to snoring and loud pauses in breathing. You may only discover it when a roommate or your partner complains about your snoring, since you are unaware of it. It will lead to you becoming self-conscious about it or try to make light-hearted jokes, but it is not a condition you should ignore.
Other types of sleep apnea are central sleep apnea – where the CNS (Central Nervous System) fails to signal the muscles controlling your breathing, and people with the condition will not snore as much; and complex sleep apnea, a combination of central and obstructive sleep apnea.
These include waking up at night feeling short of breath, loud snoring almost every night, daytime fatigue no matter how many hours you sleep, pauses in your breathing, and choking or gasping in your sleep.
Other warning signs occur during the day when you are awake. These include Excessive daytime sleepiness, moodiness or depression, waking up with a sore throat or dry mouth, morning headaches, difficulties in concentration, going to the bathroom frequently at night, and frequent insomnia.
Note that not everyone who snores has sleep apnea, as normal snoring alone will not really interfere with the quality of your sleep to the extent sleep apnea does.
Tips for managing sleep apnea
Maintain a healthy weight
Weight gain actually increases the risk of you developing sleep apnea for a number of reasons. One of these is that you gain weight in the inner part of your neck as you gain weight, and that will affect your breathing capability and throat muscles. In fact, the higher your weight is, the more likely you are to develop sleep disturbances. A sure way of knowing this is measuring your neck circumference – if you are a man, it should not go beyond 43 cm (17 inches), and if you are a woman, it should not be beyond 38 cm (15 inches).
Make sure you receive treatment for chest congestion and acid reflux
Sleep apnea is usually in individuals that suffer from other medical conditions as well. These include acid reflux (heartburn), chronic coughing, and respiratory illnesses such as the flu or a common cold. The congestion in the nasal cavity will bring problems when you are trying to breath in your sleep.
In the issue of acid reflux, it is likely that acid is making its way into your larynx and throat, and this will cause irritation as well as inflammation around specific muscles in the throat. Coughs irritate the upper airways as well, as they induce snoring.
The way to manage this is controlling your diet, not eating anything when you are about to go to bed, reducing your exposure to allergies, and raising your head as you sleep.
Change your sleeping position
One instance of this is raising your head while you sleep, so look for a good quality pillow. In addition, avoid sleeping on your back – this increases your chances of snoring ad making your symptoms worse since it presses the palate tissue and your tongue against the back of your throat. A better option would be sleeping on your stomach or side.
Humidify your bedroom
This strategy works for some people, as they report reduced incidents of snoring and clearer breathing when they make use of a humidifier in their bedrooms.
This is because humidifiers are thought to drain the sinuses, therefore leading to greater air circulation in your airways. Applying essential oils can also help, especially eucalyptus – since they can open the airways naturally and soothe you when you have a stuffy throat or nose.
Consider using a sleep device or snore guard temporarily
This may be an expensive option, but it can work to control your snoring habit. It works by boiling the pliable device and fitting it into the mouth, so this helps in bringing your lower jaw slightly forward and helps the airways stay open.
Sleep apnea is a common problem that affects about 50 to 70 million Americans, and it can be embarrassing to talk about – but the good news is you can deal with it if it happens. You just need to take simple measures to modify your sleep habits and your diet, and manage your weight as well – the importance of these measures cannot be understated.