People who complain of pausing and shallow breath during sleep may be diagnosed with sleep apnea. A sometimes life-threatening sleep disorder, this condition can result in patients experiencing choking, snoring and fatigue. To avoid it causing critical problems, doctors recommend that patients make a few lifestyle changes for improving t health.
Steps to home treatment of sleep apnea
Receiving a diagnosis of sleep apnea can seem daunting or frustrating to patients, but a proactive approach to overall health can help lead to better sleep and a longer life.
Set weight loss goals
Often, patients who have been diagnosed with sleep apnea are heavier than recommended for particular height and ages. Medical researchers and practicing doctors have shown that patients with higher weight or weight gain may have higher chances of developing or showing signs of the condition. People with deposits of fat around the neck or chest may also experience greater risks of sleep apnea, due to the pressure the fat puts on the throat muscles. Patients who achieve a lower body fat percentage have been shown to decrease the symptoms.
Eat a healthier diet
Weight loss can be achieved in several ways, so people who are concerned about the relationship between individual weight and certain sleep apnea symptoms should speak to a doctor about a personalized weight loss plan. Usually these plans include recommendations to eat more protein and fiber, exercise more regularly and eat fewer processed foods. By incorporating healthier options to a diet and moving more frequently, overweight and obese patients may improve sleep quality.
Consider the effect of inflammation
Inflammation in the throat is one of the primary signs of sleep apnea. Therefore, patients who seek to treat symptoms should aim to reduce the intake of inflammatory foods and habits. This can mean avoiding alcohol and limiting or quitting the consumption of cigarettes. Some sedative medications can also cause inflammation, so patients who use sleep aids are advised to consult with a doctor about getting off a prescription.
Invest in humidifying products
A humidifier in the bedroom has been shown to improve the quality of sleep in sufferers of sleep apnea, especially those who live in dry climates. Patients whose sinuses drain effectively often snore less and sleep better due to improved air flow in the respiratory system. There are a wide selection of humidifiers on the market today, as well as soothing essential oils or diffusers that can assist in respiratory health.
Sleep more comfortably
Patients who tend to sleep flat on the back tend to report worse symptoms of sleep apnea. Doctors recommend changing sleeping positions to either curled on the side or elevated on pillows, which can reduce inflammation while promoting better digestion and respiration. Patients can use specialized body pillows to help train their sleeping bodies to a better position.
While a doctor may eventually recommend the use of a CPAP mask to treat sleep apnea, patients can take other actions to reduce the symptoms. Healthier choices in diet, exercise and sleeping positions can greatly improve the quality of life in those with the condition.
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