In Sleep Apnea, the throat muscles, which are usually tense while awake, relax during sleep, allowing the airway to collapse or become plugged by the tongue. Sufferers of sleep apnea often find they have trouble functioning during the day and may fall asleep at their desks or even while driving a car. This extreme tiredness often leads to depression, high blood pressure, loss of memory and impotency. That’s why a swift diagnosis is so important and why those who suffer from sleep apnea must change their lifestyle immediately.
There are many causes for sleep apnea, including obesity and obstructed air passages. It’s symptoms are loud snoring sounds that are sometimes interrupted by a few seconds (or even minutes) of lapses in breathing. The silence is often followed by loud gasps for air until regular breathing resumes.
Here are some ways that may help prevent and even possibly cure sleep apnea:
If you’re overweight and suffering from sleep apnea, begin a diet program that will normalize your weight. You should also eliminate sugar and all allergenic foods from your diet. Excess pounds, or a thick neck, can bulk up tissues in and around the airway, closing it off to proper air flow. Thin people can develop apnea, too, but according to the NHLBI (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute), more than 50 percent of people who have the condition are overweight.
Even a mild form of exercise, such as yoga or stretching, can help to alleviate sleep apnea. Walking or any type of aerobic exercises can also be an effective remedy. Practice deep breathing exercises to help clean your air passages.
5-HTP and Other Nutritional Supplements
The neurotransmitter 5-hydroxy-trytophan (5-HTP) is a compound used to regulate serotonin levels. Research shows that if serotonin levels are too low, sleep apnea may occur. 5-HTP also helps release hormones such as cortisol which regulates muscles used for breathing. Nutritional supplements containing melatonin, valerian root, tryptophan, or choline can also help assist you in getting a good night’s sleep.
Drugs such as sleeping pills and alcohol may relax the throat muscles more than usual, causing breathing obstructions. If you snore without alcohol, you are more likely to experience sleep apnea after drinking alcohol. When you eliminate alcohol, oxygen levels in the blood are increased and a deeper sleep is possible.
Practice Good Sleeping Habits
Don’t sleep on your back. Use pillows to elevate your head and shoulders. Sleeping on your back can sometimes cause your tongue to block an air passage and cause sleep apnea symptoms. Try sleeping on your side.
Although aromatherapy isn’t a cure-all for sleep apnea, aromatic oils from plants and herbs such as nutmeg, lavender and orange can reduce the more severe effects of sleep apnea. I have a jar of very strongly-scented mentholatum/eucalyptus bath crystals on my nightstand that I open at night, which seems to help keep my air passages open.
“Apnea” is the Greek word for “without breath.” When you succeed in regulating how you breathe when sleeping, sleep apnea will be a thing of the past and you’ll be more relaxed, rested and ready to meet the world.