Sleep apnea sufferers are often looking for any and all treatment options that will allow them to get a night’s rest. People who suffer from this dangerous sleeping disorder often find themselves battling day-time drowsiness. This is a result of the constant waking that those who suffer from sleep apnea endure each night. Getting a full, restful night of sleep can be a challenge.
We have extensive experience treating sleep apnea at the Bethesda Center for Family and Cosmetic Dentistry in Bethesda, Maryland. We’ve researched the best foods to help people who suffer from sleep apnea.
In a world that’s always on the go, it’s easy to get caught up in endless empty calorie options. Paying closer attention to the foods you eat can make a big difference for your body. Fatty fish such as salmon, have been shown to provide adults who suffer from sleep apnea with a better night of sleep. This is largely due to the fish being rich in omega-3 fatty acids. This healthy lipid helps you fall asleep and get a more restful night of sleep.
Snacking on cheese and whole grain crackers a few hours before bed time can also help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep. This is because the cheese contains the amino acid tryptophan. This amino acid, also found in turkey, can help induce drowsiness. Whole grain crackers are loaded with complex carbohydrates. The combination of the two is ideal because the complex carbohydrates make the tryptophan more readily accessible by your brain.
The benefits of complex carbohydrates are also found in oatmeal. Oatmeal provides you with both melatonin and complex carbohydrates. This ideal combination offers sleep apnea patients a better night of sleep. Tart cherries or tart cherry juice also is an excellent source of melatonin. Studies have shown that 16 ounces of tart cherry juice two times a week helps greatly improve sleep quality and duration.
Other nutrient rich foods can also encourage your body to sleep better. A glass of milk is full of calcium. The calcium helps your body naturally produce more melatonin on its own. Milk which is fortified with vitamin D also helps people with sleep apnea sleep better. Sweet potatoes are another nutrient rich food that has been shown to improve sleep quality. Sweet potatoes are naturally high in potassium. This helps you relax and fall asleep more easily.
Some sleep apnea patients find it most beneficial to do a complete overhaul of their diet. Studies are now showing that eating a Mediterranean diet can greatly improve your overall health. This way of eating has also provided great results for sleep apnea patients.
A Mediterranean diet consists of high quantities of fresh vegetables in combination with lean meat options and healthy fats. Over the past several years, the foods commonly found in a Mediterranean diet have become less common. However, the decrease isn’t due to a lack of flavor. Mediterranean diets are known for being delicious and healthy. A study done by the European Respiratory Journal examined patients who suffered from sleep apnea over a six month period. The study involved 40 patients. Half of these sleep apnea patients followed a Mediterranean diet while the remainder followed a prudent diet. All patients also used a CPAP machine to help treat their sleep apnea. Those patients who were on the Mediterranean diet experienced a significant reduction in sleep apnea symptoms by the end of the study.
Improving your nutrition with a Mediterranean diet means adding olive oil, nuts, fish, beans, fruits, and vegetables to your everyday diet. Not only will this reduce your sleep apnea symptoms but this healthy method of eating also helps prevent heart attack, stroke, and heart disease. Replacing red meat with fish and eliminating refined sugars greatly helps improve your health. Snacking on items such as cucumbers and hummus is both delicious and healthy. Choose to avoid foods that have high fat and sugar content while limiting your dairy intake. It’s also important to avoid fast food, fried food, and other foods with empty calories.
Making lifestyle choices such as paying close attention to your diet are some of the best things that you can do. When combining these changes with your sleep apnea treatment you can take control of your life and reduce or even cure your sleep apnea. It’s important to discuss any and all changes with your doctor so they can modify your treatment plan to incorporate these changes. They may want to monitor you periodically as your symptoms improve. By doing this they can adjust your treatment plan to match your needs.