Presse Santé

Sleep Apnea: 6 Tips to Breathe Better While You Sleep

Sleep apnea is a disorder that results in poor sleep quality due to uncontrollable pauses in breathing, shallow breathing during sleep, and sudden jerky awakenings. During the night, a person with sleep apnea can stop breathing up to 30 times an hour, often for very brief moments and without the person realizing it. In fact, a frightening discovery is that many people with sleep apnea think they sleep well.

This finding is alarming: it is not just severe snoring, but a serious, and even life-threatening, medical diagnosis that can lead to various negative symptoms and decreased quality of life. . Because interruptions in normal breathing cause a decrease in the supply of oxygen to the brain and other parts of the body, people with sleep apnea need to wake up suddenly and take a breath of air to reopen their airways. L’ensemble du processus d’arrêt et de redémarrage de la respiration associated with l’apnée du sommeil can provoke symptoms such as ronflements forts, bruits d’étouffement, un mauvais sommeil et des sentiments de fatigue et d’anxiété pendant the day.

Lack of sleep can cost you years of life

Long-term complications of sleep apnea can include an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, depression, memory problems, viruses, and sexual dysfunction. Sleep disturbances have also been correlated with car accidents, poor job performance, poor grades in school, and increased susceptibility to colds and the flu.

Many people with sleep apnea wear a breathing mask to help control symptoms, but this doesn’t stop the underlying problems associated with sleep apnea, including swelling of the throat muscles. Fortunately, sleep apnea can be treated and prevented by making lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, reducing inflammation, improving your diet, and starting regular exercise.

6 tips to reduce sleep apnea

1. Achieve and maintain a healthy weight

One reason weight gain increases your risk of sleep apnea so much is that you’re more likely to gain weight inside your neck. This affects the muscles of the throat and the ability to breathe. The more overweight you are, the more likely you are to have trouble sleeping, as fatty deposits around your upper airways can interfere with normal breathing. Some experts recommend that you measure your neck size and neck circumference. If you are a man with a neck circumference of more than 17 inches or a woman with a neck circumference of more than 15 inches, you have a significantly increased risk of sleep apnea.

Unfortunately, obesity, lack of sleep, and sleep apnea seem to be part of a vicious cycle, as lack of sleep can lead to a lack of weight loss. Obesity not only increases the risk of sleep apnea, but sleep apnea can also contribute to many of the same diseases as obesity. Research shows that sleep apnea has negative effects on multiple organ systems and is associated with cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance, systemic inflammation, visceral fat deposition, and dyslipidemia.

If you are overweight or obese, losing about 10% of your body weight is a reasonable goal to aim for. This amount has been shown to help reduce symptoms by helping to prevent your airways from collapsing while you sleep and by reducing swelling around your throat muscles.

2. Avoid excessive alcohol, smoking and excessive use of sedatives

Alcohol has been shown to affect sleep quality and can also relax the muscles in the throat, including the uvula and palate, which are needed to help control breathing. Over-the-counter sleeping pills, sedatives, and prescription tranquilizers can have the same effects. This can lead to worsening of snoring and other symptoms, as well as increased daytime sleepiness.
Tobacco and alcohol can also contribute to inflammation and fluid retention in the airways, disrupting normal sleep. Smokers are three times more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea than people who have never smoked, in case you need another reason to quit. Try to quit smoking, and if you drink, plan not to have any beverages at least three hours before bedtime.

3. Treats acid reflux, congestion and cough

Many people with sleep apnea and severe snoring also have other medical conditions that interfere with normal breathing, such as acid reflux/burning ears, congestion, and chronic cough. Nasal congestion causes difficulty breathing through the nose and can worsen symptoms or even contribute to the development of obstructive sleep apnea. In the case of esophageal reflux, the acid may reach the throat and larynx, where it causes irritation and inflammation of certain throat muscles. Coughing can also irritate the upper airways and increase snoring. Adjusting your diet, reducing exposure to allergies, and raising your head during sleep can help reduce reflux and congestion.

4. Humidify your bedroom

Some people report less snoring, less congestion, and clearer breathing when they sleep with a humidifier in their bedroom. A humidifier can help stimulate sinus drainage and move more air through your airways. You can also apply essential oils like eucalyptus oil to your chest before bed to naturally open your airways and relieve congestion in your nose or throat.

5. Adjust your sleeping position

Elevating your head while you sleep can help reduce snoring. It is also advisable to avoid sleeping on your back, as this position has been shown to aggravate snoring and symptoms by pressing the tongue and palate against the back of the throat. Sleeping on your side with a pillow that keeps your head slightly elevated is often the best sleeping position to relieve sleep apnea symptoms. A second option is to sleep on your stomach instead of your back.

6. Consider temporarily using a snoring device or sleep aid

Although you ultimately want to solve the problems causing your sleep apnea symptoms, you can help control your snoring temporarily by using an over-the-counter device called an “anti-snoring” that is inserted into your mouth. Snore guards help bring your lower jaw forward slightly and keep your airway more open.

Symptoms of sleep apnea

The most common symptoms and signs of sleep apnea are:

– loud snoring, especially if the snoring is interrupted by silence (pauses in all breathing and sound)

– always feeling tired or sleepy, even after a full night’s sleep (also called hypersomnia, which is excessive daytime sleepiness)

– waking up suddenly or abruptly and feeling startled by shortness of breath

– experience a pause in breathing, pauses in breathing occur more than four or five times an hour and, in severe cases, can occur almost every minute during the night

– other people report that you breathe abnormally during sleep (stopping and resuming normal or hoarse breathing)

– shortness of breath on waking

– night sweats and frequent urination

– dry mouth, sore throat or bad breath when waking up

– headache

– have other sleep problems, including difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep (insomnia)

– have difficulty concentrating, memory problems, and brain fog during the day (and even have trouble driving or performing other tasks)

– being more irritable, anxious and depressed than usual due to lack of sleep

– have lower immune function and a higher risk of other disorders as a side effect of hormonal imbalances.

What causes sleep apnea?

Risk factors for sleep apnea are:

– Obesity and overweight

– In older ages, sleep apnea is much more common in adults than in children or adolescents, and the risk continues to increase after 45 years of age.

– being a man

– Narrowing of the airways or congestion, the narrowing of the airways can be hereditary or caused by chronic congestion, enlarged tonsils and swelling of the adenoids due to diseases.

– Having a family history of sleep disorders

– Excessive consumption of alcohol and cigarettes

– frequent use of sleeping pills, sedatives or tranquilizers

– Have a history of medical complications, including heart disease, stroke, autoimmune disorders, or thyroid disorders.

* Presse Santé strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information provided can not replace the advice of a health professional.

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