Sleep apnea is a condition that affects normal breathing function while sleeping. Men tend to suffer from this problem more frequently than woman.
This nighttime disorder is considered “serious” because it stops the flow of oxygen to different parts of the body while our body is resting. Sleep apnea has a number of causes and the typical symptoms of this condition are interrupted breathing, snoring, choking and sleep walking, among others. Learn more about the natural treatments for sleep apnea in the following article.
Sleep apnea: learning about the problem
This condition affects normal breathing function while we sleep; it can cause shallow breathing or short interruptions in normal airflow, that last between 15 and 20 seconds.
Sleep apnea keeps people from sleeping calmly at night, causing them to experience very light sleep or nightmares, and preventing the body from fully recovering its strength. This results in low energy levels, low productivity, bad moods, irritability, and reduced awareness.
If this condition is not properly treated, sleep apnea can lead to daytime sleepiness, slow reflexes and put the people who suffer from it at a higher risk of having accidents. Additionally, it causes health problems such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes and heart disease.
The symptoms of sleep apnea can be hard to identify since they happen at night, while we sleep. A family member or your partner will be the one who will detect certain changes in your sleep if you suffer from sleep apnea.
Some signs that you may be suffering from this problem are:
- Interrupted breathing.
- Very loud snoring.
- Choking or wheezing.
- Daytime sleepiness.
- Restless sleep.
- Feeling of breathlessness when you wake up at night.
- Going to the bathroom often very early in the morning.
- Waking up with a dry mouth or throat.
- Headaches in the morning.
- Unable to concentrate at work.
- Mood swings.
- Sleeping in strange positions.
- Sweating excessively at night.
- Suffering from nightmares.
- Breathing through your mouth.
- Poor overall performance.
Some risk factors that can provoke sleep apnea are: smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, obesity, swollen tonsils or tongue, blocked nasal passage and family history. Additionally, men tend to suffer from this problem more frequently than women.
Habits, remedies and tips to treat sleep apnea
There are two main sleeping positions that you should pay attention to:
On your side
Sleeping on your side, regardless of whether it’s the right or left side, allows more air to enter your lungs. The opposite happens when you sleep on your stomach or on your back. Of course, you’re unable to monitor your sleeping positions while you are asleep, so try placing a large pillow against your back or sleeping against a wall to stay on your side.
Another trick you can try is to sew or tie a bothersome object to your pajamas on the backside and the chest so you realize when you’ve turned onto your stomach or back and can correct that posture.
With your head raised
Use more than one pillow to raise your head above its normal height. This will improve your nighttime breathing. If you feel that this posture isn’t a very comfortable one, you can add height to your pillows little by little. You should also make sure that your chest is raised. If you are about to buy a new bed, for example, you can get one that has different reclining parts. Another alternative is to put something under the front legs of your bed so that it is at an angle. Many experts say that this is even more effective than using several pillows.
Other tips for treating sleep apnea include:
Being overweight or obese can worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea. Start by eating a healthier diet, doing physical exercise at least twice a week, eating more fruits and vegetables, avoiding fried foods, sugars and fats, and drinking two liters of water per day. Slimming down a bit will significantly improve your symptoms and allow you to open up your airway.
Cigarettes are another factor that makes sleep apnea worse. Smoking causes liquid to build up in your throat, and this can then cause swelling in your upper airways. Plus, if you quit smoking, your overall health will greatly benefit.
Avoid alcohol consumption
Alcoholic beverages, just like sedatives, relax your throat muscles, thus changing their function. We also suggest avoiding excessive caffeine consumption during the day, but especially later in the day, because this can interfere with a normal sleep rhythm.
Avoid large dinners
Going to bed with a stomach full of food can have negative affects on your rest. Plus, it affects how air gets into your lungs.
Natural remedies for sleep apnea
This herb has been used for a very long time to help us relax and sleep better, which improves the quality of our sleep. It is perfect for people who suffer from insomnia or nightmares due to sleep apnea.
The best oils for getting a better night’s sleep are chamomile, lavender and primrose. The latter alleviates inflammation of the airways. You can apply it to your temples with a gentle massage or use a diffusor to have it spread through the entire bedroom. If you want to decongest your nasal passage, you should stick to eucalyptus oil. Add a few drops to a pot of boiling water and inhale the vapors.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this article on natural treatments for sleep apnea!