6 Lifestyle Habits to Help Sleep Apnea
Sleep Apnea is a medical condition that makes breathing difficult; this condition stops breathing for short periods of time while you’re sleeping, resulting in a lack of oxygen. When this happens, sleep is interrupted and your quality of well being suffers. Most patients are unaware they are suffering from sleep apnea; they assume their sleep cycle is normal. If left untreated, sleep apnea can cause various medical issues, such as mental health problems, memory loss, increased risk of heart failure or poor immune function. Luckily, Dr. Greenbaum specializes in Sleep Apnea therapy and can work alongside your sleep therapist to find the best course of treatment for you. In addition to traditional sleep apnea treatment, there are several lifestyle changes you can make to improve sleep apnea symptoms.
1. Maintain a healthy weight
Sustaining a healthy weight and lifestyle can greatly impact your sleep apnea symptoms, and in some cases combined with sleep apnea treatment, weight loss can help eliminate sleep apnea. When a patient is overweight, in the upper body specifically, the weight can increase the risk of airway obstruction and narrow nasal passages, making it difficult to breathe. A healthy weight can keep pressure off the airways, reducing sleep apnea symptoms. Maintaining a health weight has endless benefits and should be taken into consideration as you receive sleep apnea treatment.
2. Alter Your Sleeping Position
The way you sleep at night can greatly affect sleep apnea symptoms. Sleeping on your back can worsen these symptoms, making it more difficult to breathe. Dr. Greenbaum can work with you to find the best sleeping positions that will create a more healthy sleep cycle to work alongside your sleep apnea treatment.
3. Incorporate Yoga into Your Daily Routine
Studies have shown that daily exercise has many health benefits, such as reducing sleep apnea symptoms. For those that would like an alternative to traditional exercise, adding yoga into your daily routine can improve your respiratory strength and oxygen flow. Sleep apnea restricts oxygen and blood flow, causing medical issues. Yoga has deep breathing exercises that can improve oxygen levels. Anyone can practice yoga and reap the medical benefits.
4. Avoid Alcohol & Smoking
Limiting alcohol intake and eliminating smoking (of any kind!) will reduce any sleep apnea symptoms and produce a healthier lifestyle. Alcohol and tobacco relax the throat muscles that control your breathing, as well as causing swelling in your airways that can worsen sleep apnea.
5. Sleep with a Humidifier
Dry air can cause irritation in the throat and body, so try adding a humidifier overnight as you sleep to generate moisture in the air to open up airways encouraging clearer breathing and decrease congestion. Adding essential oils, such as peppermint or lavender to the humidifier can help soothe the throat and and reduce inflammation.
6. Talk to Your Doctor about Oral Appliances
Oral appliances, when given by a doctor, can aid with sleep apnea by repositioning the jaw or tongue to keep the airway open during sleep. Dr. Greenbaum will work closely to properly fit you with an oral appliance that will promote better sleep health. The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine supports oral appliances as an effective therapy for sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea affects many people, but there are numerous treatment options, both in the doctor’s office and at home that can improve your overall health. If you’re interested in learning more about sleep apnea treatment, reach out to Dr. Greenbaum to schedule a consultation and take the first step toward a healthier life.
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