According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, an estimated 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea? Perhaps the more worrying statistic is that 80% of the moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea cases are undiagnosed.
Read on to learn more about sleep apnea, including what it is and what causes it. In this guide, we’ll also offer you sleep apnea home treatment tips.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition that prevents a person from breathing properly while they sleep. It means that people who suffer from sleep apnea don’t breathe in enough oxygen, which can cause them to gasp and suddenly wake up. A lot of people might not even be aware that they temporarily stop breathing because they’re asleep.
Sleep apnea can leave a person feeling more tired than usual, increase their risk of developing high blood pressure, and increase their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. But the long-term dangers of untreated sleep apnea are even more serious and can also cause mental health problems, memory loss, and increase the risk of heart disease and failure.
Lifestyle changes and home care can help to improve your sleep quality and your life quality. However, if these don’t work then your doctor may provide you with a breathing device, such as a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, medication, or surgery.
What Causes Sleep Apnea?
There are a variety of factors that might increase your risk of developing sleep apnea. For example, people aged 40 and over are more likely to experience sleep apnea, as are those who have a family history of the condition.
Having a large overbite, a large tongue, tonsils or uvula, or having a smaller jaw might be other reasons why you experience sleep apnea. Lifestyle habits, such as smoking, being overweight, or consuming lots of alcohol might also cause sleep apnea.
Home Remedies: Alternative Treatments for Sleep Apnea
If you think you might have sleep apnea and want to try some home remedies or treatments before going to the doctors, there are several things you can try. Some of these are simple lifestyle changes, while others are better sleeping positions. Make sure you give them all a go and see if you can improve your sleep.
1. Lose Weight
Being overweight can cause you to develop sleep apnea, so if you’re overweight, one of the first things you need to do is lose some weight. Those who are obese have an increased risk of their airways being obstructed and experiencing narrow nasal passages. Both of which stop you from being able to breathe as easily when you sleep.
Ensuring you maintain a healthy weight will reduce symptoms of sleep apnea, and may even eliminate the condition altogether. If you aren’t sure about how best to lose weight, speak to your doctor or a dietician.
2. Sleep in a Raised Bed
Raising the head of your bed may be able to help reduce the amount of sleep apnea episodes you encounter. Sleeping at an angle of 60 degrees can help people who struggle from sleep apnea but can’t sleep on their sides (as this also helps to reduce it).
There are beds and chairs that have adjustable head portions which can help you achieve the 60-degree angle. If you don’t have one of these beds of chairs, then you can just pillows or a body wedge to prop yourself upright.
3. Sleep on Your Side
As mentioned, sleeping on your side can reduce the amount of sleep apnea episodes you have at night. That’s why adjusting your sleeping position to your side is a great home remedy.
If you struggle to sleep on your side, there are several devices that can help you. For example, you can get a body positioning pillow that stops you from sleeping on your back.
4. Try Yoga
Another home remedy is to try yoga. Studies have shown that participating in regular exercise can help to improve sleep apnea, increase your energy levels, and strengthen your heart. And if you’re looking for a type of exercise that can improve your respiratory strength and oxygen flow then yoga is your best bet.
Through performing breathing exercises, yoga can help to improve your oxygen levels. This means attending a yoga class a few times a week might help to reduce your sleep apnea and leave you feeling more refreshed.
5. Quit Smoking and Reduce Your Alcohol Consumption
Aside from losing weight, you might also want to add quit smoking and reduce your alcohol consumption to your lifestyle changes. Tobacco can cause inflammation and make your airways swell, which makes it more difficult to breathe. While alcohol relaxes the muscles in your throat and can cause throat inflammation that can block your airflow.
Quitting smoking and reducing the number of alcohol units you have can help to reduce sleep apnea episodes and increase energy levels. These two lifestyle changes will also lower the risks of developing other serious health conditions.
When to Seek Medical Help
If you’ve tried all of the above home treatments, but none of them are working it might be time to seek medical help. Excessive sleepiness during the daytime (for example, falling asleep at work or school) also indicates that you need to seek medical help.
You can either go to your doctor or do an online search for sleep apnea treatment near me. Treatment for sleep apnea often involves a CPAP machine. This device is to be worn over your nose and mouth while you sleep and helps to keep your airways open while you sleep.
Alternatively, your doctor or sleep specialist may recommend surgery. Large tonsils or adenoids can sometimes be surgical removed to help improve airflow in the throat, which should help treat sleep apnea.
Try Some of Our Sleep Apnea Home Treatments Tonight
Give some of our sleep apnea home treatments a try tonight and see if you can get a better night’s sleep. Remember to give yourself time if you’re introducing lifestyle changes, as your body needs to adapt to the changes. If you’re worried about your sleep apnea, make sure you seek medical help.
Keep your body and mind healthy by checking out some of our other health, fitness, and yoga articles.