What is sleep apnea
Sleep apnea describes a situation where your breathing stops or becomes very shallow and as a result your quality of sleep is affected leaving you fatigued and exhausted in the morning. Sleep apnea can be easily mistaken for snoring – they are not the same. Restorative sleep requires that you breathe properly for an extended time while your asleep – to reach the dream phase called REM at this point your brain is able to restore it self to its full capacity. There are three types of sleep apnea obstructive sleep apnea where tissue from the back of the throat covers the wind passage, central sleep apnea where central nervous system does not control breathing properly during deep sleep and complex sleep apnea which is a combination of the two mentioned.
How to overcome sleep apnea
You can try the following methods to overcome sleep apnea:
- Weight loss is critical to overcoming sleep apnea – people who are overweight have extra flaccid tissue at the back of their throat and this soft tissue falls and blocks the air passage during sleep causing a break in sleep.
- Lifestyle changes to overcome sleep apnea include – quit smoking, eat less for dinner, keep regular sleep hours, avoid caffeine at least 3-4 hours before sleep, say no to sleeping pills, sedatives and alcohol
- Tips in bed – sleep on your side, prop your head on an average size pillow and body aligned using a foam wedge, use a spray or drops to keep your nasal passages clear
- Throat exercises can help strengthen muscles and keep them less flaccid during sleep – consulting your doctor first may be the best option here. Take a deep breath through your nose and try to inflate a balloon by exhaling as much as possible with one breath – repeat this process five times.
- Consult a medical professional if you feel that the traditional methods are not helping you – a sleep clinic may be helpful in monitoring and discovering the underlying cause of your sleep disorder. Your doctor may recommend surgery or other alternative such as sleep assistance devices to help.
- Dental devices and chin support devices – have also been used to overcome obstructive sleep apnea. The dental devices are similar to mouth guards used by athletes that keep the airway open during sleep. The chin support strap keeps the lower jaw in place during sleep and helps to bring the tongue forward during sleep