FAQ

6 solutions for obstructive sleep apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition in which a person’s upper airway is partially or completely blocked. This obstruction causes pauses in breathing during sleep, usually due to relaxation of the muscles in the back of the throat. These are the muscles that keep the airways open.
There are two main types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. In people with central sleep apnea, the disturbance in breathing is linked to brain function, and it is usually a symptom of a serious illness. In this article, we focus on obstructive sleep apnea.

home remedies for obstructive sleep apnea

People with moderate or severe sleep apnea should see a doctor to avoid complications, which can include heart disease and high blood pressure.
Here are some examples of natural remedies that a person can use at home, usually to treat mild obstructive sleep apnea.

1. Weight loss techniques

In some people, being overweight can increase the likelihood of sleep apnea. In particular, excess fat in or around the neck can potentially impede a person’s breathing and make sleep apnea worse. Losing excess weight could be a good first step in the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. Here are some steps a person can take to lose weight:

– reduce the consumption of processed and fast foods
– engage in regular physical activity for at least 30 minutes each day
– reduce the consumption of drinks rich in sugar.

2. Healthy Lifestyle Changes

In addition to lifestyle changes that promote weight loss, other health changes could help a person reduce symptoms of sleep apnea.
Here are some examples of healthy lifestyle changes

– refrain from smoking, which can lead to swelling of the upper airways and cause sleep apnea
– refrain from drinking alcohol, which can relax the throat muscles and increase the risk of snoring
– taking allergy medications or over-the-counter nasal decongestants to increase airflow by reducing swelling and fluid buildup in the nasal passages. These habits may help reduce the number of apneic episodes and associated symptoms in some people with sleep apnea.

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3. Side sleeping position

One of the most common approaches to home remedies for sleep apnea is to use a body positioning pillow or other similar device. These positioners work by preventing a person from sleeping on their back. People who have obstructive sleep apnea are more likely to have episodes when they sleep on their back.
One example is the side sleeper backpack, which is a vest-like garment with a bulge in the back. If a person attempts to roll over onto their back while carrying the backpack, they cannot maintain the position and must roll to one side or the other. Some people may prefer to make their own positioner by securing a tennis ball or other item to their back that prevents them from tossing and turning while sleeping.

4. Raise the head of the bed

Sleeping with the head of the bed at an angle of about 60 degrees can help reduce the number of apnea episodes. This solution can be effective for people whose sleep apnea gets worse when they lie on their back but who have difficulty sleeping on their side. You can achieve this position by sleeping in a bed or an armchair whose upper part is adjustable. They can also use pillows or buy a chest pillow to keep their head elevated.

5. Play the didgeridoo

Although this remedy may seem unusual, there is data that confirms it. A small study published in the BMJ found that participants who played the didgeridoo had a reduction in daytime sleepiness and episodes of apnea compared to people who did not play. However, it is important to note that this study had only 25 participants.
The didgeridoo is a wooden wind instrument originating from Australia. To play it, you have to use a particular breathing technique that can help strengthen the muscles of the upper respiratory tract. Thus, the practice of this instrument could reduce episodes of sleep apnea.

6. Oral or dental appliances

Another home remedy for sleep apnea is to wear an oral appliance that holds the tongue or jaw in a certain position to facilitate better breathing.
However, in most cases, an oral appliance requires a prescription, and a dental professional trained in sleep medicine will need to fit it.

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Causes of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Doctors have identified several factors that contribute to obstructive sleep apnea. These include the following factors

– be 40 years of age or older
– overweight
– have a family history of sleep apnea
– heavy alcohol consumption
– large tongue, tonsils or uvula
– have a small jaw
– to smoke.

Diagnosis of sleep apnea

Most people with obstructive sleep apnea snore. A partner or loved one may tell them that they snore loudly. Even if a person with sleep apnea does not snore, they may have other symptoms, such as excessive daytime sleepiness, concentration problems, or memory problems. ON may wish to discuss their symptoms with a doctor, who will usually recommend a sleep study. This study may require the person to spend the night in a special facility, where medical professionals will monitor how often they stop breathing during sleep, as well as their oxygen saturation and heart rate. However, home sleep tests are also a possibility and are increasingly being used.
You should know that snoring does not necessarily mean that you suffer from sleep apnea. Although snoring is an indicator of sleep apnea, a sleep study can help a doctor determine if a person has enough episodes of trouble breathing, or pauses in breathing, that sleep apnea sleep is present.

When to see a doctor for a sleep apnea problem

If a person has problems with excessive daytime sleepiness, such as falling asleep at work or school, they should see their doctor. She should also see her doctor if a loved one sees her frequently stopping breathing while sleeping. Sleep apnea can be a serious condition. When a person stops breathing, the heart works overtime to pump blood around the body to supply the oxygen that the body does not get during apnea episodes. This extra work can damage the heart and lead to high blood pressure and heart rhythm problems.

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Traditionally, doctors treat sleep apnea by having the person wear a special device called a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. This device fits over the mouth or nose and provides additional positive pressure to prevent the airways from collapsing during sleep.

Sources

Bixler, EO, et al. (2016). Moderate sleep apnoea: A “silent” disorder, or not a disorder at all?

De Dios, JAA, & Brass, SD (2012). New and unconventional treatments for obstructive sleep apnea.

Loord, H., & Hultcrantz, E. (2009). Positioner — a method for preventing sleep apnea [Abstract].

Puhan, MA, et al. (2006). Digeridoo playing as alternative treatment for obstructive sleep apnea syndrome: Randomized controlled trial [Abstract].

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