National Sleep Foundation has found that over 18 million adults in the United States suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. Individuals who think they may have this medical condition should consult with a sleep specialist. Early diagnosis and treatment can help reduce the risks of high blood pressure, heart disease, and other complications. You might be wondering: can sleep apnea be cured naturally?In addition to seeking medical treatment, patients may also consider using natural remedies to alleviate their symptoms.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a medical condition that causes patients to stop breathing for short periods while they are sleeping. Because these people cannot take in enough oxygen, they may gasp and wake up abruptly. In most cases, patients are unaware that they have stopped breathing and continue believing that they have normal sleep cycles.
Sleep apnea can sound like loud snoring and is typically followed by gasping or choking. As the condition progresses, the chronic snoring may increase in volume and frequency. It is important to note that not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. Other common sleep apnea symptoms include:
- Experiencing a dry throat after waking up
- Experiencing symptoms of depression and/or mood swings
- Feeling irritable and intolerant of others
- Having difficulty remembering important details
- Finding it increasingly difficult to concentrate
- Experiencing morning headaches or daytime sleepiness
Can Patients Cure Sleep Apnea Naturally?
Wearing CPAP masks(Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) at night is one of the traditional treatment methods for sleep apnea. These machines are designed to keep your airway open by applying mild air pressure. This way, your airway does not collapse when you breathe while asleep. Although it is effective, some patients find this equipment uncomfortable. Chances are surgery or taking medications may not be on your mind yet. You will be pleased to know that some natural remedies and healthy lifestyle changes may help improve your sleep and overall quality of life.
Natural Remedies For Sleep Apnea
Below are several strategies you can implement to better manage or reduce your sleep apnea symptoms naturally:
- Make healthy lifestyle changes
Do you smoke and drink alcohol regularly? Well, it is time to stop. Smoking causes upper airways to swell and alcohol relaxes the throat muscles. These issues increase the likelihood of snoring or result in sleep apnea.In addition to cutting down on these bad habits, you may consider taking over-the-counter nasal decongestants or allergy medications to reduce fluid buildup and/or swelling in the nasal passages.
- Utilize oral appliances
Tongue stabilizing and mandibular advancement devices help reposition the user’s tongue and jaw. These oral appliances keep your airway open while you sleep. The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine supports the use of over the counter (OTC) and custom-fit oral devices. They are seen as a safe and effective therapy for sleep apnea.
- Lose weight through regular exercise
Obesity, especially in the upper body, increases the risk of obstructing airways and narrowing nasal passages. That’s why doctors recommend their sleep apnea patients to lose weight. Studies have shown that modest weight loss can eliminate the need for long-term CPAP therapy and upper airway surgery. Do note that the condition can return if you regain the weight.
- Try different sleeping positions
Have you tried sleeping on your side? For some individuals, changing positions help reduce snoring. If you find it difficult to sleep on your side and prefer laying on your back, try using an extra pillow to keep your head elevated – at an angle of about 60 degrees.
- Use a humidifier at home
Sometimes dry air can irritate your respiratory system. Humidifiers can help decrease congestion and open your airway to encourage clearer breathing. To enjoy additional soothing and anti-inflammatory benefits, you can also add eucalyptus, peppermint, or lavender essential oil to the humidifier.
- Give yoga a shot
Regular exercise helps strengthen the heart and increase energy levels. Yoga can improve respiratory strength, boost oxygen flow, and even improve sleep apnea.After all, this medical condition is associated with decreased blood oxygen saturation. Breathing exercises performed during yoga can improve oxygen levels, which in turn, reduce the amount of sleep interruptions you may experience at night.
Factors That Can Worsen Sleep Apnea
You may have changed your lifestyle for the better and/or starting using oral appliances. Why do you still experience chronic snoring or sleep apnea? That’s because certain uncontrollable factors do worsen the condition. These issues include:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Congestive heart failure
- Family history
- Age (sleep apnea occurs more often in older adults)
- Gender (men are more likely to have sleep apnea than women)
- Narrowed airway
- Enlarged tonsils or adenoids
- Thicker neck circumference
Remember that sleep apnea can be a serious medical condition. If you stop breathing, the heart is forced to work overtime so that it can pump blood through the body and maintain oxygen levels during apnea episodes. This extra effort can result in heart rhythm problems, high blood pressure, and more.
While you can try home remedies to cure your sleep apnea naturally, you should not delay medical treatment when severe apnea episodes are experienced. You should also use a CPAP device to support your breathing and other devices to track your sleeping patterns.
Author: James Medina works at Lookee® Tech which comprises a team of professionals who dedicate their careers to pursuing health innovation and improving the quality of life for all. James and his team, many of whom suffer from sleep apnea themselves, are very passionate about helping as many people as they can. He can be contacted at 1-818-287-7958 or Support@LookeeTech.com.