Habits to Help you Cope with Sleep Apnea
We all know the importance of a good night's sleep. However, not all of us can get it. Here are some habits to help you cope with sleep apnea.
A restful night’s sleep is important when it comes to enjoying a good quality of life. However, some disorders prevent people from getting good rest. One of these disorders is sleep apnea. In the long run, this affects a person’s health. That’s why it’s important to know how to cope with sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is one of those disorders which, thanks to modern medicine and various nocturnal habits, can be improved. The first step to a comforting and healthy night’s sleep is knowing what sleep apnea is and how to cope with it.
What is sleep apnea?
While we sleep, our breathing slows down and takes on a smooth and constant rhythm that oxygenates the body and allows it to perform all its functions correctly. Sleep apnea is the interruption of breathing for seconds or even minutes, preventing oxygen from reaching the brain.
At first, the person may not realize that s/he has stopped breathing. However, when the disorder becomes more advanced, the person’s quality sleep is also affected, causing the person to wake up several times throughout the night. This causes changes in their normal sleep patterns and results in damaging consequences.
There are two types of sleep apnea:
- Obstructive apnea occurs when there is an abnormal growth of tissues around the respiratory tract or throat. This type of apnea is easily detected because the person who suffers from it usually snores. It can be mild, moderate or severe, depending on the number of times you stop breathing during your sleep. Also, a person’s age plays a role.
- The other type of sleep apnea, Central Sleep Apnea, is much more serious. This is because the central nervous system is involved. In this case, the respiratory center stops receiving the brain’s order to breathe. This situation interrupts deep sleep and causes the person to wake up several times during the night.
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Factors that influence sleep apnea
Certain factors increase the likelihood that a person will suffer from sleep apnea. Some of them are:
- Old age: Apnea doesn’t discriminate sex. However, there is a higher percentage of adult men who suffer from it.
- Obesity: It has been proven that excess weight increases the likelihood of sleep apnea by ten times. This figure increases even more if the person is morbidly obese.
- Smoking or alcoholism: Both of these factors alter the respiratory center.
- Pathologies of the respiratory tract: This is fairly common in children because of the excessive size of tonsils.
- Excess intake of sleeping pills or sedatives: This produces a change in the nervous system. Alternatively, there are excellent natural remedies.
Other aggregate factors worsen the situation. For example, overwork, stress, being exposed to high levels of carbon dioxide, heart disease or stroke, hypertension, and not getting enough sleep.
The first sign of this disorder is drowsiness during the day. The constant awakenings at night prevent the person from a restful night’s sleep. Therefore, they often may not be as attentive in their workday, when studying or performing everyday tasks.
Oxygen deficit, even for shorter intervals, causes a lack of memory and nervousness. It can even cause nausea, hallucinations, and blurred vision.
Given these symptoms, the specialist orders a series of medical studies to determine what kind of apnea the patient has. In addition to the physical examination of the mouth and throat, they may also perform specific sleep studies.
Once the type and severity of the disorder are determined, the specialist will decide on a treatment. Most medical advice focuses on changing the patient’s habits.
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What are healthy ways to cope with sleep apnea?
With these good habits, you’ll be able to cope with sleep apnea, or at least alleviate it:
- To avoid apneas, you should start sleeping on the left side of your body. This position helps the heart to pump better and the airways to expand without difficulty. Also, it will keep you from snoring.
- Avoid drinking alcohol six hours before bedtime.
- Quit smoking.
- Don’t use sleeping pills.
- Exercise regularly.
- Eat healthily.
- Watch your weight.
- Avoid watching television, using your computer, mobile phone, or listening to loud music before going to bed.
With these simple nocturnal habits, you can successfully face sleep apnea. Of course, it’s essential to go to the doctor and to follow his or her instructions. That way, you can enjoy a good night’s sleep and a healthy lifestyle.