Sleeping well and feeling healthy go hand in hand. Waking up feeling refreshed after a night of solid rest sets you up with the energy you need to face the day ahead. But unfortunately, there are several things that can get in the way of that sleep. And when that happens, your mind and body will notice the effects pretty quickly.
The majority of people experience sleep disruptions every now and then. These can be the result of being busier than usual, ill, eating large meals late at night, or experiencing jet lag. These are all temporary disruptions and should not be of concern. However, there are some conditions that can prevent you from getting a good rest at night, and they don’t improve on their own unless treated.
Sleep apnea is one of those conditions, and it’s more common than you may think. It’s estimated that more than 20 million people are affected by this disorder in the US alone, and many of them are unaware of it until the condition starts to take a toll on their health.
Sleep apnea patients suffer from breathing interruptions, caused by the closure or collapse of the upper airways. These interruptions cause the patient to wake up several times during the night, and the situation is worse for those with obstructive sleep apnea, which is a more severe form of the disease.
Although it’s true that sleep apnea has a physical cause, there are things you can do to improve the symptoms and rest better every night. In many cases, making a few lifestyle changes can go a long way in helping you overcome sleep apnea. Here are six suggestions you can try at home.
Because obstructive sleep apnea mainly affects the respiratory system, working to improve the functioning of your lungs can help reduce the symptoms. Practicing yoga every day is an effective way to achieve this, even if you only have time for a daily short session. The reason why is because yoga trains your mind and body to breathe effectively, which in turn can increase oxygen blood levels. Once this happens, you breathing capacity improves, and you’ll be more likely to rest better.
Sleep on your side
Position matters when it comes to being able to breathe freely at night. Researchers suggest that resting on your back can make sleep apnea symptoms worse. Conversely, resting on your side or with your head elevated can improve the quality of your nightly rest. It’s a small change, but it can bring huge benefits!
Watch what you eat, and when you eat
For most of us, eating large meals late at night is a sure way to get indigestion wake up feeling bloated and tired. Timing your meals right makes a difference, as does making the right food choices. In general, fresh and wholesome foods are a good choice for evening meals. You should also keep in mind that being obese or overweight put the respiratory system under pressure, so working towards a healthy weight is a goal that all apnea sufferers should have.
Use a humidifier
Dry environments are known to aggravate respiratory conditions, from asthma to sleep apnea. This is why it’s important to keep your bedroom moisture levels in between 30% and 50%. To get to that level, invest in a good-quality humidifier. These devices help keep the airways open, which is exactly what apnea sufferers need. What’s more, they don’t interfere with conventional apnea treatment, like CPAP therapy.
Cut down on alcohol
Don’t fall in the trap of thinking that a glass of wine before bed will help you rest better. You may fall asleep faster, but you’ll also worsen apnea symptoms. Studies show that alcohol consumption increases the breathing interruptions that characterise apnea. In fact, it’s proven to cause breathing disorders even in healthy people. So cut down on alcohol, or quit it altogether
These six tips can help alleviate the effects of apnea, but if you’re affected by this condition, you should always seek the advice of a sleep specialist.
Talking with a sleep specialist is the first step to help you enjoy a more restful sleep. Contact us at SleepQuest now to start the journey. No-one’s ever regretted getting a good night’s sleep.