Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by excess fat around the upper respiratory tract which blocks the airway in the back of your throat. This can restrict airflow to the lungs for a minute or longer. As many as 20 million Americans suffer from this potentially deadly disorder every year. Although the first step to dealing with obstructive sleep apnea should always be to seek professional consultation, there are many lifestyle changes you can make at home to help relieve some of the symptoms this disorder.
One important step you can take to help ease your sleep apnea is to make changes to your diet. The majority of Americans who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea are overweight. In order to avoid developing sleep apnea or to manage existing sleep apnea, experts recommend avoiding certain foods including: caffeine, additives, refined carbohydrates, preservatives, and foods high in protein or sugar. Experts recommend replacing saturated fat with healthier fats, such as olive oil. Eliminating mucous-producing foods, such as bananas, may also make a difference. On the other hand, adding certain food such as: leafy green vegetables, mushrooms, gluten-free whole grains, plant-based oils, fruits, nuts, and seeds, may be beneficial.
Cutting back on a few unhealthy habits can also help to alleviate sleep apnea. Overconsumption of alcohol cannot only lead to obesity, but it can also make the airway more vulnerable to blockage. Alcohol is a muscle relaxant, which can cause throat tissue to slacken further during sleep. This can lead to airway obstruction and irregular breathing. Smoking cigarettes can also aggravate obstructive sleep apnea. Cigarette smoke irritates the upper airway, including the soft palette, uvula, throat, and tongue. This can lead to swelling and disordered breathing patters.
Many of the efforts you take in an attempt to get the best sleep possible may actually be working against you. Relying on sleeping medication to get a good night’s sleep may actually bolster obstructive sleep apnea. Most sleeping medications contain some kind of muscle relaxant, which makes conditions such as snoring and sleep apnea even worse. Sleeping medication can make sleep apnea much more dangerous. The way sleeping pills work is by making it harder for your body to be aroused from a sleeping state. This means that an episode of sleep apnea must be more intense or last longer, constituting more respiratory risk, to wake the brain up and restore normal breathing patterns. The position you sleep can also have an effect on sleep apnea. Sleeping on your back typically makes obstructive sleep apnea worse, while research shows that sleeping on your side can make the situation better.
If you are struggling to manage your sleep apnea, contact the industry leading professionals at Lynn Dental Group. We have the oral appliance therapy to restore your breathing patterns to normal and give you the peaceful sleep you deserve.