Apnea is no joke. If you are a known sufferer chances are you have been using the CPAP and just like a number of users, you may find it uncomfortable with several side effects. Fortunately there are several ways those suffering from sleep apnea can have a good night sleep. Natural remedies are effective and have no side effects. This article has highlighted several natural remedies that work for sleep apnea. Read on.
Signs and symptoms of sleep apnea
Here are the most common signs of sleep apnea:
- Snoring loudly
- Excessive drowsiness and tiredness
- Shortness of breath
- Night sweats and frequent urination
- Persistent headaches
- Irritability, poor memory
- Experiencing trouble concentrating and brain fog during the day.
- Dry mouth especially when waking up
- Night sweating and frequent urination
- Lower immunity characterised by frequent illness.
- Waking up suddenly and abruptly
Causes of sleep apnea
Here are the various factors leading to sleep apnea:
1. Muscular changes
During sleep, the muscles that keep the airway open may collapse or get obstructed with the tongue causing the airway to narrow. Normally this kind of muscle relaxation does not cause the air trapping in the lungs, but with sleep apnea this can occur.
An additional thickening of the tissue or excess fat around the airway may cause an obstruction hence snoring which may in time result to continuous sleep apnea.
3. Brain function
The brain controls the body functions. If for example, the part of the brain that control respiration fails to function properly, chances are central sleep apnea will occur. Even though, central sleep apnea could also be as a result of an underlying health problem such heart failure or stroke.
In such a case the airway is completely blocked and snoring stops, there is no physical evidence of breathing. It is until the brain is able to sense sleep apnea and alerts muscle stiffening, that an individual starts breathing normally. Most people experiencing this type of sleep apnea are never aware even if it happens several times in a single night.
Risk factors for sleep apnea include:
- Down syndrome
- Large neck circumference
- Past medical history of sleep apnea in the family
Techniques for getting rid of sleep apnea
Here are various tips and techniques to help you deal with sleep apnea naturally:
1Oral facial exercises
These are also known as throat and mouth exercises. The exercises strengthen the throat muscles and those of the mouth when done correctly and regularly. Because obstructive apnea occurs when the airway collapses, such exercises help prevent upper respiratory airway from collapsing. By strengthening the throat and face muscles.
A number of trial trials have concluded that oral-facial exercises are effective in reducing and eliminating obstructive sleep apnea. They also:
- Decrease the overall intensity and frequency of snoring
- Eliminate or decrease daytime snoring
- Increase the quality of sleep with time.
- Decrease the severity of sleep apnea symptoms
For this exercises to be effective in the long term, you have to stick to a regular strict routine. You can ask your doctor to schedule a routine for you or simply do it yourself.
Yes, you can sing your way out of sleep apnea. Similar to oral-facial exercises, singing works on the facial and throat muscles to give you a strong non-collapsible airway. It is important to exercise with different vowel and deep sounds. You can sing a certain vowel repeatedly and increase the sound with a deep sound. Here is why you need to start singing in bid to cure sleep apnea:
- Singing can bring other benefits apart from strengthening your throat muscles.
- Singing is non-invasive and can therefore prevent ones need for surgical procedure to treat sleep apnea.
- It does not need help to learn about singing, it comes automatically
3. Didgeridoo Therapy
Didgeridoo is an ancient Australian insturumnet.It resembles a conical trumpet. If you blow from one end the sound comes out from the other end. Research has shown that playing such an instrument strengthens the muscles of the airway making them stronger and erect.
- You can consider playing this instrument for about 20 minutes daily for better results.
4. Positional therapy
Research has shown that some people may stop breathing if when they sleep in a given position. Positional apnea occurs when ones position hinders them from properly breathing. Sleeping on your side as compared to sleeping on the back may help you get rid of sleep apnea instantly.
- Because it is not easier to sleep on the side throughout the night, you can use devices to instantly correct your position.
5. Bumper Belts
A bumper belt is usually made of an elastic rubber band that one wraps around their torso and shoulders. The belt is made of inflatable bumpers that protrude a few inches out from or either back or front of the belt. The belt causes a lot of discomforts when the body rolls into undesired position. The body then naturally adjust into the correct position on the side.
6.Sleep apnea pillows
Sleep apnea pillows encourage good positioning. There are a variety of sleep pillows in the market today to suit all your sleeping positions.
7. Posture alarms
A sleep alarm fits into your torso, harness or your chest. It makes a sound and alerts you to sleep in the correct position. The posture alarm repeatedly alerts you to move away from sleeping on your back in the same way that the bumper belt does.
8. Herbal therapies
Natural remedies such as supplements go a long way in curing apnea. The most common used remedies include chamomile, valerian and lavender. These herbs have been used for centuries to help with sleep problems.
9. Maintain a healthy diet
Weight gain increases your chances of developing sleep apnea and worsening it. This is mostly because most people gain weight around the neck muscles and abdominal area. Excess fat around your throat area leads to difficulties in breathing especially at night or cold seasons.
- Airway is easily obstructed as a result of excess fat deposits around the neck area. The recommended neck or collar circumference is below 17 for men and 15 for women.
It is unfortunate that one could be struggling with obesity since lack of apnea means that one has to lose their weight to the recommended. Not only does excess weight increase your chances of developing apnea, it also leads to different diseases such hypertension and diabetes.
If you are constantly experiencing sleep apnea due to your weight, it is advisable to aim and lose at least 10 percent of your overall weight. This way you have better chances of decreasing regular apnea attacks. Here are other tips to help you stay health:
- Eat a high fibre diet for example fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. Always aim at least 30 grams each day.
- Use health fats and try eating enough protein. Coconut oil for example, has a higher capacity of burning fats and improving your organ health. You can also get other fats like olive oil and that of avocado so as to help control your appetite.
- Always make a point of eating herbs such as maca and rhodiola which help control health conditions and make it easy for you to lose weight. These herbs easily regulate your hormones and other chemicals that may lead to difficulties in losing weight.
- Exercise is good for a good night sleep. During your sleep, hormones are regulated, fats emulsified and calories broken down to produce energy. Try and have at least 30 minutes- walk each week to help you improve your sleep.
- Use essential oils for weight loss. Natural oils such as cinnamon, ginger and cinnamon control your appetite hence helping you regulate your weight easily.
10. Avoid alcohol, smoking and drug abuse
Alcohol has an ability to interfere with your sleep by simply relaxing the throat muscles including those of the uvula and palate. These muscles are important when it comes to controlling breathing.
Smoking on the other hand leads to tissue inflammation and fluid retention in the airway which could actually lead to severe sleep apnea. Research has shown that smokers are likely to experience sleep apnea at least 3 times more than a non-smoker. It is essential that you work on quitting smoking and alcoholism in order to improve your sleep.
11. Treat coughs and congestion on time
There are also medical problems such as coughing and upper respiratory congestion that alter the normal breathing pattern of an individual. Nasal congestion for example, leads to difficulties in breathing through the nose forcing one to use their mouth to breathe properly.
Additionally, if one experiences acid reflux often it is possible for the acid to find its way into the throat and end up causing irritation and swelling around the throat area.
- Coughs also irritate the upper respiratory tract thus increasing snoring. It is important for you to modify your diet and treat allergies on time to reduce your chances of experiencing sleep apnea.
12. Try adding humidity to your bedroom.
A number of people have reported reduced snoring once they start using humidifiers in their rooms. A humidifier helps encourage drainage from sinuses hence clearing your airway. Again rub essential oils such as eucalyptus on your chest to help naturally open the airway each time before you go to bed.
13. Adjust your sleeping position
To be able to reduce your snoring, you need to keep your head elevated while a sleep. It is also important to stop sleeping on the back which may worsen your snoring .Using a pillow to elevate your head to help alleviate symptoms of sleep apnea.
14. Use a snore guard or sleep devices
It is important to use a sleep device temporarily as you to try to find a solution to sleep apnea. A snore guard device is sold over the counter. It works by helping bring the lower jaw forward slightly to keep the airway more open.
- If you suffer from severe sleep apnea you may consider using a more permanent sleep device in the course of trying the natural remedies listed above.
SOURCES AND REFERENCES
Obstructive sleep apnea (May 2015)
- Surgical approach to snoring and sleep apnea(April 2014)