Our busy life demands so much of our time and energy that we hardly pause for a moment to check ourselves, our health, habits, and wellbeing. Depression, Insomnia, Anxiety, Sleep Apnea, and many other such health issues have been on the rise lately. These conditions might not sound serious but if not attended to, can prove to be fatal. One such disorder is Sleep Apnea.
Sleep apnea is a critical sleep disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing ceases and onsets while that person is sleeping. If this problem is ignored and not dealt with medically, it can result in severe health crises like heart problems and blood pressure fluctuations. There are two types of Sleep apnea and they are classified based on causes: Obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.
Obstructive sleep apnea
This occurs when the muscles in the back of your throat relax, narrowing the airways and lowering the oxygen level. Sometimes the brain alerts the person and awakens to restart the breathing but this process can repeat 20 times an hour affecting a sound sleep which causes daytime tiredness. This kind of sleep apnea is triggered because of factors like overweight, old age, nasal congestion, alcohol, smoking, usage of sedatives, and medical conditions like type 2 diabetes, PCOD, asthma, etc.
Central sleep apnea
This type of sleep apnea is rare. It occurs when your brain flunks to deliver signals to that person’s breathing muscles. This means that the person doesn’t breathe for a brief period and might arouse with the brevity of breath or have a difficult time sleeping again. This can be caused because of older age, usage of narcotic medicines and heart problems.
The most common symptoms of Sleep apnea are:
- Loud snoring.
- Gasping for breath during sleep
- Waking up with a dry mouth or sore tongue
- Morning headache
- Lack of Sleep (Insomnia)
- Brain fog – Difficulty in focusing on things in a non-sleep state.
- Daytime sleepiness( Hypersomnia) or fatigue.
- Restlessness during sleep, abrupt awakenings with a feeling of gasping or choking.
- Depression or anxiety
- Night-time perspiration.
Sleep Apnea is not a dangerous disease but is a condition that can be managed with natural remedies. One must be aware that if not treated properly, it could be fatal. Mild Sleep apnea can be treated at home with some necessary lifestyle changes. CPAP mask is effective but there are other remedies that are more comfortable and natural.
Maintaining Healthy Weight
In 60 percent of the cases, sleep apnea is caused due to excess weight. Doctors suggest that patients lose weight by maintaining a healthy diet and avoiding health-deteriorating foods. Maintain weight according to age and height.
Physical Exercise & Yoga
Any physical activity like swimming, aerobics, jogging, etc. can help one stay fit and strengthen the heart. Practicing Yoga asanas and pranayamas on a regular basis under the guidance of an expert can help improve breathing stability, increase oxygen flow, and are also helpful in losing weight.
Strict NO to Smoking, Drinking and Alcohol
Avoid smoking, drinking, and using sedatives. Excessive alcohol intake can relax the throat muscles interrupt the airflow and can increase/ worsen sleep apnea.
Modify Sleeping Positions
Change sleeping positions, select the position where you can breathe comfortably. In most cases, sleep apnea is caused because of improper sleeping positions. So, adjusting to a better posture can take you back to your deep sleep. Sleeping in the side/lateral sleeping position can help in reducing sleep apnea.
Use a Humidifier
A humidifier is an electronic device that adds moisture to the room it is installed in. Dry air can weaken the respiratory tracts. Moist air can enhance breathing decrease nasal and throat congestion and open the airways. Finally, if you are living in a polluted area or leading a stressful lifestyle, taking a break away from it and spending a few days in the lap of mother nature can help deal with stress and disorders like sleep apnea and insomnia.