Sleep is one of our most fundamental needs. It allows us to recharge both our body and mind so that we can take on each day at our best. But for anyone suffering from sleep apnea, this can turn sleeping into a frustrating and even dangerous ordeal. Sleep apnea hinders the ability to breathe properly during sleep, which prevents you from getting a restful night’s sleep. Thankfully, there are ways to combat this sleep disorder and achieve that restful shut-eye that you need
Read on to learn more about sleep apnea and how you can combat it.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that affects millions of people around the world. It’s more common than people realize, and it’s the leading cause of excessive daytime drowsiness among adults, according to NIH. This sleeping disorder causes uncontrollable pauses in breathing during the night, which results in poor quality of sleep. For some people, this disorder can stop their breathing up to 30 times every hour. However, the interruptions in breathing are often so frequent and quick that many people don’t even notice it’s happening, or that they have sleep apnea at all. For others, it can cause frequent, startled, and scary interruptions during sleep.
There are two types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and central sleep apnea (CSA). OSA occurs when throat muscles relax, while CSA occurs when the brain fails to send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing. OSA is by far the most common type.
What Causes Sleep Apnea?
One of the leading causes of sleep apnea is leading an unhealthy lifestyle. In particular, being overweight can drastically increase your chances of having this disorder as it’s found most commonly in people who are obese. Studies have also shown that it commonly affects male adults over 45, but has also been shown to develop in women and children, even with normal weight.
In addition to weight, excessive alcohol and smoking also contribute to this sleep disorder.
How to Combat Sleep Apnea
Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
There are a variety of ways that you can help combat sleep apnea. First and foremost, maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle is important for reducing the pressure that’s placed on the throat muscles and breathing capacity. Incorporating high-fiber foods, healthy fats, and regular exercise has been shown to reduce the symptoms, while avoiding foods that cause acid reflux.
Quit Smoking and Reduce Alcohol
Smoking and excessive alcohol intake contribute to inflammation, which restricts your airways and breathing ability. Removing these from your body is important to ease your ability to breathe.
Use CPAP Therapy
Another helpful way that many people combat sleep apnea is by using Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Therapy via a CPAP machine. This is the most widely used method of treatment against sleep apnea. By using a mask to cover your mouth or your mouth and nose, this machine increases air pressure in your throat. This keeps your airway open and allows you to breathe easier during sleep.
Not being able to get a good, restful night’s sleep on a frequent basis can drastically impact your health and even take years off of your life. So if you or someone you love is suffering from sleep apnea, talk to MEDability about the options available to you so that you can get back to enjoying sleep again and giving your body and mind the rest it needs.
MEDability’s RRT Yolli Kwok is available to answer any questions you have about sleep apnea or CPAP therapy. Yolli is in the process of completing her certified respiratory education (CRE) training and has clinic experience in a hospital and retail CPAP setting. Call us at (905) 609-471-5224 ext.23 or visit our home medical equipment store in Markham to learn more!