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Make These Lifestyle Changes Today If You Have Sleep Apnea

Here we list lifestyle changes you can make today to better manage sleep apnea.

Make These Lifestyle Changes Today If You Have Sleep Apnea

Consult a sleep specialist to determine the most appropriate treatment for your condition

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. The most common type, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), occurs when throat muscles intermittently relax and block the airway. Signs of sleep apnea include loud snoring, gasping for air during sleep, waking with a dry mouth or sore throat, morning headaches, difficulty staying asleep (insomnia), excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia), and irritability. Lifestyle changes can significantly help manage sleep apnea by reducing its severity and improving overall sleep quality. Read on as we list lifestyle changes you can make today to better manage sleep apnea.

Lifestyle changes you must make today if you have sleep apnea:

1. Maintain a healthy weight



Excess weight, particularly around the neck, can increase the risk of airway obstruction, a common issue in sleep apnea. Fat deposits around the upper airway can obstruct breathing. Adopt a balanced diet and incorporate regular exercise to burn calories and improve cardiovascular health.

2. Sleep on your side



Sleeping on your back can cause the tongue and soft tissues to fall back into the throat, blocking the airway. Side sleeping helps keep the airway open and reduces the likelihood of apnea episodes. Use a body pillow or a special pillow designed to encourage side sleeping.

3. Avoid alcohol and sedatives

Alcohol and sedatives relax the muscles of the throat, increasing the likelihood of airway collapse during sleep, which can exacerbate sleep apnea symptoms. Limit alcohol consumption, particularly in the evening. Avoid sedative medications unless prescribed by a doctor.

4. Quit smoking

Smoking can cause inflammation and fluid retention in the upper airway, which can worsen sleep apnea symptoms. It also increases the risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea. Seek support through smoking cessation programs, nicotine replacement therapies, or medications.

5. Maintain regular sleep patterns

Regular sleep patterns help regulate the body's internal clock, leading to better quality sleep and reducing the likelihood of sleep apnea episodes. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends.

6. Elevate the head of your bed

Elevating the head of the bed by about 4-6 inches can help keep the airway open by using gravity to prevent airway collapse during sleep. Use sturdy bed risers or a wedge pillow to elevate the head of the bed. Ensure the elevation is stable and comfortable to maintain during sleep.

7. Treat nasal congestion

Nasal congestion can make breathing through the nose difficult, leading to increased mouth breathing and a higher chance of airway collapse. Clearing nasal passages can improve airflow. Use nasal sprays, saline rinses, or decongestants to clear nasal congestion.

8. Exercise regularly

Regular exercise strengthens the muscles, including those involved in breathing, and can help improve overall respiratory function. It also promotes weight loss and reduces sleep apnea symptoms. Incorporate at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise weekly.

9. Use a humidifier

A humidifier adds moisture to the air, which can reduce nasal congestion and irritation of the airways, making it easier to breathe during sleep. Place a humidifier in your bedroom and use it regularly, especially during dry seasons.

Consult a sleep specialist to determine the most appropriate treatment for your condition. Follow prescribed treatments diligently and attend follow-up appointments.


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Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.

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