How to get rid of sleep apnea: 10 simple solutions

Sleep apnea is a serious health condition that can have devastating effects on your health and quality of life. If you have sleep apnea you may think it's safe to ignore how this affects your health and your family  but lack of sleep can have consequences. By making some lifestyle changes, whether that is shedding excess pounds, how often you exercise, or how you manage stress, you can help improve how your body deals with the symptoms and how they affect your quality of sleep. Keep reading for some simple solutions to help with your sleep apnea.

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Sleep Apnea 101 | Symptoms | 10 Simple Solutions

Sleep apnea is a serious health condition that can have devastating effects on your health and quality of life.

If you have sleep apnea you may think it’s safe to ignore how this affects your health and your family  but lack of sleep can have consequences.

By making some lifestyle changes, whether that is shedding excess pounds, how often you exercise, or how you manage stress, you can help improve how your body deals with the symptoms and how they affect your quality of sleep.

Keep reading for some simple solutions to help with your sleep apnea.

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts.

The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

In this condition, the soft tissue in your upper airway during sleep collapses, causing pauses in breathing or periods where breathing is shallow or weak.

Central sleep apnea (CSA) is less common. It occurs when the brain doesn’t send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing, which causes a disruption in breathing.

Finally, it is possible for a person with sleep apnea to have both obstructive and central sleep apnea at the same time and it is known as mixed sleep apnea.

how to get rid of sleep apnea
Sleep Apnea Illustration

What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?

Whether you have obstructive, central, or mixed sleep apnea, the symptoms are the same.

These sleep apnea symptoms include:

Loud snoring

If you snore loudly when sleeping, chances are that you may have sleep apnea.

If your snoring is so loud that it wakes up other people who are sleeping in your home, it is more likely that you have developed sleep apnea.

Disruptions in your breathing while sleeping

When you have sleep apnea your breathing may be interrupted or shallow. You might stop breathing for a few seconds or several minutes during the night, disturbing your quality of sleep.

This leads to chronic fatigue that affects how you feel and how well you can function during the day.

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Excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS)

If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, your excessive daytime sleepiness should decrease over time.

In some cases though, people who suffer from sleep apnea may still feel tired or sluggish even after their treatment has been successful.

If you have been discharged from a specialist and you still feel tired, let your sleep specialist know about it so he or she can investigate further.

Other problems associated with sleep apnea may include high blood pressure, heart disease, heart failure, diabetes, weight gain, depression, and breathing interruptions while sleeping.

Please note these are not all the symptoms but are some of the most common. Sleep apnea is often treated using a CPAP, or constant positive airway pressure, machine or other air pressure machines.

However, this method is not effective for everyone.

What are 10 simple solutions that can help with my sleep apnea?

There are a number of ways to cope with a sleep apnea condition. They include:

1. Eat a healthy diet

Keep your weight under control and maintain a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, fiber, and protein.

Avoid foods high in saturated fat as well as those high in refined sugars since they can cause obesity, heart disease, and other conditions that may exacerbate your sleep apnea.

2. Exercise regularly

Since you are more likely to suffer from obstructive sleep apnea if you are overweight, maintaining a healthy weight is a great treatment for sleep apnea.

Regular exercise helps with weight loss if you have any excess weight and also lowers blood pressure, which in turn will reduce how much effort is required for your heart to pump blood throughout your body.

3. Quit smoking

Smoking increases how much effort is required for your heart to pump blood.

It can also cause emphysema which may lead to central sleep apnea.

Eliminate the habit if you are having problems breathing during sleep or have chronic fatigue, weight gain, depression, or high blood pressure.

4. Maintain a regular sleeping schedule

Your body likes routine and will function better if you stick to a regular sleep-wake cycle.

Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, including on weekends will help you maintain your body’s natural sleep-wake rhythm.

5. Use an oral appliance

Oral appliance therapy involves using a custom-made mouthpiece that is fitted to your teeth.

This dental appliance holds the jaw in a slightly forward position which keeps the airway open and your tongue from collapsing when you breathe while sleeping. If you continue using it every night, the results should be positive.

6. Treat allergies and asthma

If you suffer from these conditions, treating allergies and asthma will help you sleep better through the night.

If your doctor suggested inhalers as a form of treatment for your asthma or allergies, you can ask your doctor to prescribe one that is not a stimulant and ask how it will affect how well you can breathe at night.

7. Limit how much alcohol you drink

When you drink, the muscles that control breathing become too relaxed which can lead to snoring.

By limiting alcohol intake you can help avoid this. If your doctor thinks that limiting or eliminating how much alcohol you drink could help you breathe better while sleeping, make sure to follow his or her advice.

If you feel like drinking could affect how well your sleep apnea is controlled, you can try cutting down on drinking or ask your doctor how to stop it altogether.

8. Use a humidifier

If your home has dry air, it may impact how well you sleep at night. You may have difficulty staying asleep or breathing at night. Investing in a humidifier can help to moisten the air and improve your breathing.

This way, how much moisture there is in the air will prevent how dry it becomes throughout the night and how much effort is required for your throat to moisten and prevent dry mouth.

9. Try different sleeping positions

Positional therapy, or altering your sleeping position, can also help with sleep apnea. If you usually sleep on your back you can try to sleep on your side.

Sometimes the position you choose affects how much effort it takes for you to breathe while sleeping.

This way, if laying down flat is causing apnea interruptions during your night, switching positions may help your sleep apnea.

10. Make the head of your bed higher

If changing your sleep position doesn’t work on a flat mattress you can always prop your head higher.

How much effort it takes to breathe can be relieved by how your head is positioned while sleeping and this might be a quick fix.

Elevating how high the mattress you are laying on will raise how high your head is when placed down on a pillow. This can allow your airways to open up as you sleep.

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Summary

There are many treatments for sleep apnea that don’t involve a CPAP or air pressure machines as an option for sleep apnea.

Many sleep apnea sufferers who want to find simple solutions without using a machine or surgery should consider trying out one or more of the above tips.

These tips should help you get a more restful sleep.

If these do not work and you suffer from moderate to severe sleep apnea, you may want to try another effective treatment such as air pressure machines, devices, and surgical options that your doctor can also employ to help your breathing while you sleep.

Should you have any more questions about sleep apnea or sleep apnea treatment options please talk to your doctor, healthcare provider, or sleep specialist to see what treatment options are right for you.

References and Sources:

American Sleep Association

Cedars Sinai

medically reviewed and fact checked
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