Sleeping is one of the basic human needs. Without having at least eight hours of sleep in a day, no person can operate effectively. Sleep deprivation has enormous consequences, including, but not limited to, higher disease risks, hormonal imbalances, and effects on one’s mental and emotional being.
For some people, getting the right hours of sleep is even harder because they suffer certain sleep disorders. One of the common sleep disorders ever known is sleep apnea, which may be considered a serious but remediable condition.
This disorder is characterized by interrupted breathing during one’s sleep. In other words, those persons who suffer from sleep apnea do not get enough oxygen required by the body to operate even when they’re sleeping.
Understanding Sleep Apnea
There are two types of sleep apnea: obstructive and central.
- Obstructive sleep apnea involves airway blockage.
- Central sleep apnea involves abnormalities in the respiratory system, causing the failure of the brain to send signals to the muscles for breathing.
More than 18 million American adults suffer from sleep apnea. Indicative of having sleep apnea is chronic snoring, difficulty in concentration and learning, depression, and decreased sexual drive. Being overweight, male, or over the age of 40 is among the risk factors for sleep apnea.
Other factors that come into play include the following:
- Persons with a family history of sleep disorder
- Persons with nasal obstructions
- Persons with inherent physiological features such as large tonsils, neck size or tongue, and smaller jawbones
Treating the Disorder
The good news is that there is a wide array of options to treat sleep apnea. For people with clear symptoms of sleep apnea, they may be required to undergo a sleep apnea test by a physician.
Doctors may also recommend a handful of devices, such as the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, to improve breathing.
Aside from following the doctor’s prescriptions, a practical lifestyle change is necessary to achieve the best results during the treatment process. Lifestyle changes involve strictly having a healthy diet, losing weight when advised, inhibiting from alcohol and cigarettes, and following better sleeping patterns. A combination of these realistic tips can bring good changes to your sleeping.
Choosing Healthy Food
Just like with any health problem, eating nutritious food is always the solution. Several studies show links between sleep apnea and unhealthy food—that’s why selecting the right diet is not an option but a responsibility to completely treat the sleep disorder.
If poor food choice is the culprit of sleeping less, you may start tweaking your usual meal diet. Consulting a dietician is another option to ensure you are getting the right meals every day.
Letting Go of the Excess Weight
Having a balanced diet can lead to losing weight, and these health concepts are closely related to sleep apnea. While it is true that not all persons suffering from the disorder are extremely heavy, half of those with sleep apnea are considered overweight or obese.
Aside from eating well, you may start engaging in the following:
- Start small, like brisk walking or low-intensity activities, and then engage in more challenging activities once your body has adjusted. Not only will you lose weight, but you are also able to release good amounts of happy hormones, which can make your day better than usual.
- Aside from regular exercises, there are several diet groups that may serve as an additional motivating force in achieving your ideal weight.
Saying Goodbye to Vices
Modern daily sins include succumbing to a great amount of alcohol whatever the occasion and smoking whenever you feel like it.
While these unhealthy habits offer an unexplainable sense of relief to some people, smoking and drinking alcohol can hugely affect your health. That includes making sleep-apnea treatment counterproductive.
Smoking aggravates sleep-apnea symptoms such as breathing problems and snoring. Consuming alcohol results in interfering with airflow caused by a decrease of muscle tone in the back portion of one’s throat.
To fully treat sleep apnea, one has to say goodbye to these unhelpful habits.
Untreated sleep apnea has serious health repercussions. Health risks such as stroke, heart failure, and high blood pressure are higher among those who have sleep apnea. Moreover, sleep apnea may affect your daily undertakings as it may result in a dismal performance in usual activities such as work and school.
Treat sleep apnea to make things better. Try simple lifestyle changes to start an improved sleeping experience.