Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder during which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. It can be fatal in severe conditions and needs immediate medical attention if suspected. The sleep disorder is caused when the muscles in the back of the throat relax, which support the soft palate and the tongue, among other parts. Due to this relaxing, the airway becomes narrow and closes as one breathes in, lowering the oxygen levels in the blood and sending a signal to the brain, which then rouses the body.
If one snores loudly when sleeping and feels tired after a full night’s sleep; they are likely to be suffering from sleep apnea. Types of sleep apnea include the following:
- Obstructive sleep apnea: This type of sleep apnea occurs when throat muscles relax.
- Central sleep apnea: The symptoms of central sleep apnea occur when the brain does not send the required signals to the muscles that control breathing.
- Complex sleep apnea syndrome: This type of sleep apnea showcases both the symptoms of obstructive and central sleep apnea.
The symptoms of the condition develop gradually and make it difficult for one to sleep in the advanced stages. The common symptoms and signs of sleep apnea include:
- Loud snoring
- Episodes of stopping and starting of breath during sleep
- Gasping for air during sleep
- Awakening with a dry mouth
- Morning headache
- Difficulty staying asleep
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Difficulty in paying attention
There are various treatments for sleep apnea that have proved to help one in getting relief from the condition. Listed below are some of the non-surgical methods of treating the condition:
1. Maintain a healthy weight
If one is overweight and suffering from the symptoms of sleep apnea, the doctor will certainly recommend that they lose some weight. Obesity or excess weight specifically in the upper part of the body leads to the obstruction of normal airflow due to the narrow nasal passage. This obstruction leads to irregular breathing while sleeping during the night. The key is to maintain a healthy weight to get relief from these symptoms.
2. Practice yoga regularly
If one exercises regularly, it will help them to increase their energy levels by strengthening the heart. In addition to exercise, an individual must try to adopt yoga as well. It is one of the treatments for sleep apnea that will help in improving respiratory strength, which in turn will encourage improved oxygen flow. Sleep apnea is also closely associated with decreased oxygen saturation in the blood.
3. Try altering the sleeping position
Though it is a minor solution, altering one’s sleeping position frequently helps in reducing the symptoms of sleep apnea.
4. Use a humidifier
Humidifiers are devices that are used to add moisture to the air. Dry air usually irritates the body as well as the respiratory system. The use of a humidifier helps in opening the airways, thus decreasing congestion and helping in getting clearer breathing. This is one of the hassle-free treatments for sleep apnea.
5. Avoid cigarettes and alcohol
There are various lifestyle changes that work as treatments for sleep apnea that one needs to adopt to get relief from the symptoms of this condition. Quitting cigarettes and alcohol is one such change that will promote better sleep.