Home Remedies for Sleep Apnea
According to the National Sleep Foundation, an estimated 18 million adults and 10–20% of children who snore in the United States have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA is a condition that causes you to stop breathing for short periods while you’re sleeping due to a partial or total blockage of the upper airways.
Even if continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy is still the best sleep apnea treatment option, there are some lifestyle changes and natural remedies that can reduce the symptoms of this sleep disorder and improve your quality of life.
How can I cure sleep apnea naturally?
As we mentioned before, sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders worldwide and even if it can not be cured with home remedies, they can slow down the progression and reduce the symptoms of the disease.
Sleep apnea affects around 34% of adult men and 17% of adult women, according to the American Heart Association. It can become a serious health problem since it can decrease oxygen levels in important organs, such as the brain and heart.
There are two types of sleep apnea you should know about:
OSA (the most common type) and central sleep apnea (less common). The first one occurs when the throat muscles relax, causing the airway to narrow or close, not letting the air through and is associated with obesity and big tonsils.
The central type occurs when the brain fails to send signals to your breathing muscles, causing them to malfunction. It is associated with people that have suffered strokes or are taking opioid medications. Unfortunately, most people don’t realize they suffer from this disorder unless they have severe sleep apnea, which can lead to a poor immune response, mental health issues, and pulmonary and heart diseases.
The most common symptoms of sleep apnea are:
● Loud snoring
● Changes in the breathing pattern noticed by family or partner.
● Gasping for air during the night
● Hypopnea during sleep
● Dry mouth
● Fatigue during the day.
If you’re still not sure if you are suffering from sleep apnea you can go to a physician to perform a sleep study and confirm the diagnosis. Through Sleeplay you can perform these sleeping tests easily at home with the world’s smallest and most comfortable device.
Once you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, a sleep specialist can discuss with you which treatment is better suited based on your needs. The most common initial treatment is a combination of lifestyle changes and the use of a CPAP machine. However, sometimes people are afraid that the CPAP mask won't be comfortable enough or of possible side effects.
These issues can be avoided by choosing the right mask for you and making a few adjustments. But lifestyle changes and home remedies can also be a powerful ally if you don't want to rely exclusively on the CPAP treatment in the long term.
And even if there is no cure for sleep apnea in most cases, studies show that certain lifestyle changes can reverse your sleep apnea or make it less intense.
Home Remedies for Sleep Apnea
There are many approaches to treating sleep apnea, and the one you and your healthcare provider decide to take is going to depend on the type of sleep apnea you have, what’s causing it, and how severe it is.
Possible treatment options for sleep apnea include:
● Lifestyle changes
● Oral appliances
● CPAP therapy
● Nerve stimulators
Even if there is a long list of solutions to reduce these symptoms and improve sleep quality, today we’ll focus on the lifestyle adjustments, habits, and home remedies that can help you get better sleep and keep the obstructive sleep apnea syndrome at bay.
Maintain a healthy weight
Sleep medicine doctors commonly recommend that people with sleep apnea lose excess weight, due to the fact that carrying extra body weight is the strongest risk factor to develop sleep apnea. This happens mostly because an excess of fat in or around the neck puts additional pressure on the throat muscles and ultimately restricts normal airflow.
A new study shows that modest weight loss in people with obesity can eliminate the need for upper airway surgery or long-term CPAP therapy. Even if it sounds really difficult, you can work with a trainer, follow a dietary plan, and follow a regular exercise schedule that can help you get these results with discipline.
Regular exercise goes hand in hand with a healthy diet to help combat obstructive sleep apnea. Even if all types of exercise are helpful in the long term to reduce sleep apnea there are a few mouth and tongue exercises that have a stronger effect.
One of these exercises consists in: Place the tip of your tongue against the back of your top front teeth. Slowly slide your tongue backward with the tip moving along the roof of your mouth. Repeat 5-10 times. If you want to know different mouth and tongue exercises you can check this Sleep Foundation article. According to a meta-analysis, exercise can improve symptoms even in people who do not end up losing weight. This can be explained due to a stronger neck musculature that can resist the high pressure of the neck fat.
Additionally, mouth exercises have been shown to reduce most of the symptoms of sleep apnea, including snoring. The purpose of mouth exercises is to improve the muscles in the airway and decrease snoring. Repetitive muscle training can involve the tongue, facial and airway muscles, and lips.
Temperature control of the sleep environment
Evidence suggests that untreated patients with obstructive sleep apnea sleep longer, have better sleep efficiency, and are more alert in the morning after a night's sleep at a 16°C room temperature compared with 24°C. However, there were many patients that didn´t experience that benefit.
There is still not enough evidence to prove that this has a positive effect in the long term. So we recommend asking your sleep medicine doctor if it is a good idea in your case.
Tea for sleep apnea
Some people say that sleepytime tea is one of the best natural alternatives for sleep apnea treatment due to its relaxative properties but it does not directly attack the sleep apnea problem. While a hot cup of tea can help you sleep at night, it’s safe to say it’s not meant for treating sleep apnea.
The key ingredient of this tea is almost always chamomile, which is known as a medicinal herb with anti-anxiety properties. While the herb was used widely in the past, its use has waned over the years. However, the herb has seen a revival in recent years.
Relaxing, meditating or doing yoga can increase your energy levels, strengthen your heart, and improve sleep apnea. Yoga can specifically improve your respiratory strength and encourage oxygen flow. However, even if it is useful in the early stages of the disease, it doesn’t have that big an effect when the disease is moderate or severe.
Breathing exercises can increase the oxygen levels in the blood, which drop during the night in people who experience sleep apnea.
Alter your sleeping position
Nowadays more than half of obstructive sleep apnea cases are dependent on position, which is why one of the most common home remedies for sleep apnea is a body positioning pillow or another similar device. In the majority of patients, just changing from back sleeping to side sleeping can dramatically reduce the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea.
Some people prefer to make their own positioner by securing a tennis ball or another item onto their back, which keeps them from turning while sleeping.
Place a humidifier near your bed side
Humidifiers add moisture to the air, which decreases the risk of dry air irritating the airway and nose. This makes them a great option to decrease nasal congestion, improve the opening of the airways, and promote clearer breathing.
Avoid alcohol and smoking
You might notice that the majority of home remedies for sleep apnea are just to avoid habits that impact your physical health. Smoking is harmful to your lungs, blood vessels, and general health in a huge number of ways. It can also lead to swelling of the upper airways, which causes and even exacerbates sleep apnea.
Alcohol, on the other hand, is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant that slows down activity in the brain, impacts mood, and relaxes muscles in the body. Muscles in the airway can relax after alcohol consumption, which can cause excessive snoring and disrupt breathing.
You should also avoid other sedatives due to their effect in the CNS (which are really similar to alcohol consumption).
Use oral appliances
Another appropriate home remedy for sleep apnea is wearing an oral device that holds the tongue or lower jaw in a certain position to help facilitate adequate breathing. These appliances are arguably the most successful method of at-home sleep apnea treatment, and they’re backed by a wealth of clinical research and testing.
This option can be especially valuable for children who have sleep apnea, as the repositioning of the mouth and jaws often has the added benefit of reducing—or even eliminating—the need for orthodontic treatment during their teenage years.
It is important to mention that you will need a dentist's advice and prescription to get the right appliance for your characteristics.
Treat nasal allergies or congestion
Do the Mediterranean diet
A great option not only to improve your sleep apnea, the Mediterranean diet has a great positive effect on losing extra weight and for cardiovascular health due to its high levels of omega-3, which can lead to reduced bad cholesterol (LDL) and vascular protection reducing the incidence of high blood pressure, myocardial infarction and other coronary diseases.
It is important to mention that these recommendations don't substitute medical advice. Consult your doctor to know if you should implement them and how to do it correctly.
Recommendation: CPAP machines and supplies
Even if there are many home remedies to improve sleep apnea, most of them have only partial effects in the patients, or there is not enough scientific proof to consider them as the best treatment option.
Weight loss, for example, is considered highly effective, but it can take months to obtain results and it’s not healthy to stay that entire time with the sleep apnea symptoms.
In the present, CPAP therapy has been considered the best treatment option for sleep apnea since 1981. CPAP therapy consists of delivering a constant flow of air via a mask and CPAP machine while you sleep, helping to keep your airway open.
The CPAP machine is a medical device that contains a motor and a filter that turns room air into pressurized air and delivers it through a CPAP mask into your nose, or your nose and mouth while you sleep, to help keep your airway open. You will notice a positive change from the first day after using it, and it will avoid all the bad effects of sleep apnea in your body.
CPAP machines can reduce snoring, lower the risk of heart disease, improve brain function, lower risk of type 2 diabetes, and in the end lower medical expenses.
Most people are afraid of getting one because they think they will be uncomfortable to use, or produce certain side effects like skin sores, dry mouth, runny nose, or difficulty falling asleep. However, current machines and masks are made to avoid many of these problems.
At Sleeplay you can find a variety of new CPAP machines, which are not noisy at all, and include humidifiers to avoid dry mouth. There are also different models of masks that won't affect or cause any discomfort in your skin.
Obviously the feeling of connecting a machine to your face will always be difficult in the beginning, but most patients start getting better after two to three days using the machine, which in turn makes them feel glad to get rid of this annoying disease.
As a conclusion, there are so many home remedies options to solve the sleep apnea problem, including a mediterranean diet, mouth and tongue exercises, using oral appliances or even acupuncture. But remember that some of them have proven to be more effective than others.
Even if home remedies can be a positive thing when you suffer from sleep apnea, they are most often seen as a complement to current medical therapies. The most prescribed treatment for this disease is CPAP therapy due to its effectiveness in the long term.
So most people recommend applying the lifestyle changes combined with the CPAP therapy, if you are not sure where you can get this machine it is completely possible through sleeplay after you receive your medical prescription.
Elevate your sleep today. Sleeplay has premium products, like CPAP Machine, masks and supplies that help you for sleep apnea. Enter here to know more.
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