Are you suffering from the problem of loud snoring? Does your breathing gets interrupted during sleep? Do you still feel tired after a full long night sleep? If the answer to these questions is yes, then you might be suffering from sleep apnea problem.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a very common sleep disorder. People suffering from sleep apnea face the problem of breathing disruption during sleep. It might not sound so problematic, but it can be a real threat to a person’s health.
Types of Sleep Apnea
There are some different types of sleep apnea depending upon the cause of the problem.
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea
The most common type is obstructive sleep apnea, where the breathing passage gets blocked again and again and causing an interruption in breathing. This may cause loud snoring or choking sounds as the person tries to breathe. This blockage may cause oxygen deprivation in the brain and the body. This deprivation may cause the person to wake up several times at night unknowingly. In severe cases, the frequency of the incident may reach to a hundred times a night.
- Central Sleep Apnea
In the other type, known as central sleep apnea, the brain fails to send a message towards the muscles controlling breathing. Hence, these muscles do not perform properly, causing the interruption in breathing. This type usually does not include snoring.
- Complex Sleep Apnea
A person suffering from complex sleep apnea has a combination of both above mentioned types.
Identification and effects of sleep apnea
As sleep apnea happens during the night when people have fallen asleep, most of the people are not aware of the fact that they are facing a problem at night. They don’t know that all their fatigue, and moodiness is due to some problem occurring at night during their sleep. You may only get to know about it if your partner, roommate or some who can see you experiencing this condition will report it to you.
Sleep apnea will cause fatigue and affects your mood during your daytime routine. You may feel down, unrefreshed, exhausted and may feel edgy about small things. It also affects your concentration in work, slow down your reflexes, and you might feel drowsy during the work or maybe fell asleep unintentionally. This is because the restless sleep you had at night by waking up again and again. Irritability and moodiness can ultimately lead to depression. It can also cause some serious physical health issues like high blood pressure, diabetes, heart and liver diseases, obesity, etc. Hence, it is necessary to identify the disease whether it is about your or someone around you with these symptoms.
Sleep Apnea Symptoms
Some major symptoms of sleep apnea may include:
- Loud chronic snoring
- Waking up with a feeling of choking or gasping for air
- Repeated disruption in breathing
- Waking up with a dry throat
Other common symptoms that one may experience during the daytime are:
- Irritability and moodiness
- Headache and fatigue
- Difficulty in concentrating on everyday tasks
- Constant feeling of sleepiness during the day
- Low energy
Not all snoring people suffer from sleep apnea. The difference between normal snoring and sleep apnea is that normal snoring is not accompanied by daytime symptoms associated with sleep apnea. So, if you find a snoring person, the next step is to check if he/she is facing fatigue, irritability, drowsiness and other symptoms of sleep apnea.
If you or someone around you is suffering from most of these symptoms, then it is an alarming sign. You need to get help immediately.
What Doctors Say about Sleep Apnea
The medical experts are really concerned about the growing ailment of sleep apnea. According to them, it is very important to distinguish between normal snoring and snoring due to sleep apnea. Because if you have sleep apnea and it remains untreated, it can ultimately result in organ failures and hence the death of the person. So, if you or anyone you know has a snoring problem they immediately need to get tested.
In order to check whether you are suffering from sleep apnea or not the doctor will check your symptoms and history. Then they might ask you to take sleep apnea test. In this test, your sleep is monitored under a controlled environment. You might be directed to a room in the hospital or a private room in a sleep center, where your activities during sleep are electronically monitored through devices. The results of these recording declare whether you have sleep apnea or not. Your medical history and complete information of any kind of drugs you are currently using is also important because sometimes the symptoms may be a side effect of some other drug.
Keeping in view your current and previous medical history, your symptoms and the results of the sleep apnea test, the doctor will diagnose your problem and possible solutions for it. These solutions can be medication, surgery or a simple change in your lifestyle.
Home Remedies for Sleep Apnea Treatment
The common treatments for sleep apnea include breathing devices, medication or even surgery. CPAP machine is the most commonly used device. It is very effective to use but uncomfortable as well. Imagine wearing a mask or nosepiece during sleeping. Rather going for any inconvenient methods or medical treatments, you should change your lifestyle and try some home remedies to treat the ailment.
- Lifestyle changes
- Weight loss
It is the most important step if you want to get rid of sleep apnea is to have a healthy body which is possible only by adopting a healthy lifestyle. Overweight people are more likely to get targeted by this disease due to fat deposits around their upper airway, causing obstruction in breathing. It has been proven through various studies that a modest amount of weight reduction can help to cure the sleep apnea problem. However, if you gain weight again, the problem is likely to reoccur.
- Regular exercise or Yoga
Regular exercise will not only help you lose weight but also makes you feel fresh and healthy. Doing aerobics 40 minutes a day can reduce your problem of sleep apnea and feeling tired all day.
Yoga also increases your energy level and help you with sleep apnea. It is proved to cause improvement in your respiratory system and blood flow.
- Avoid smoking and alcohol
Alcohol causes a disruption in sleep quality, hence aiding to the problem of sleep apnea. It also relaxes the throat muscle which needs to be active for efficient breathing.
Smoking also affects sleep apnea occurrence. Smokers are three times more prone to suffer from sleep apnea compared to non-smokers. It can also cause inflammation and retention in air passage and swelling in the upper airway.
- Sleeping position
The sleeping position also affects the intensity of sleep apnea. Doctors suggest sleeping on your side rather laying on your back to lessen the breath obstruction during sleep.
- Throat Exercise
Mouth and throat exercises are another way to reduce sleep apnea. These exercises strengthen the muscles that are affected by the problem, leading to a smooth breathing experience, even during your sleep.
- Natural remedies
Nature is a great healer. It has a cure for everything. There are many natural herbs and other ingredients that if used regularly can help in reducing the sleep apnea issue.
It lubricates the throat to reduce snoring and decreases the inflammatory feeling around the throat. Honey is considered very helpful in losing weight as well.
Add one tablespoon of honey in a glass of warm water and sip slowly. Take this before going to bed to minimize the breathing problem. You can also add one tablespoon of black pepper to enhance the effect.
Chamomile is also helpful in reducing inflammatory feeling in the throat. It contains chemical compounds that relax the muscle and have a sedative effect causing sleepiness. It should be used only at night before going to bed. Add 2 tablespoon of it in a cup of warm water, leave for a while and then drink slowly.
- Garlic and peppermint
Both of these have an anti-inflammatory property that can help in reducing the inflammatory feeling and so promotes smooth and easy breathing during sleep. Use garlic in your everyday food. Gargle with warm water and put a few drops of peppermint oil in it.
- Turmeric milk
Turmeric is well-known for its healing and anti-inflammatory properties. Add 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder to 1 cup of milk and bring it to boil. Add some honey and drink it warm 30 minutes before going to bed. Within a couple of days, you will notice a significant change in your condition.
Lavender is best known for treating sleep apnea. Put a few drops of lavender oil on a small towel and put it under your pillow. Or you can just add it into the boiling water and inhale its steam. Its soothing effect eases the throat obstruction.
- Anti-Snoring Pillows
Along with changing your lifestyle and adopting natural remedies one thing that can help you at max is anti-snoring pillows. Anti-snoring pillows are the most effective therapy product. They do not cure the problem completely but reduce the snoring to a great extent. To conquer your disruptive breathing, you just need to choose the right kind of anti-snoring pillow for you.
How Anti Snoring Pillows can be Helpful for Sleep Apnea Treatment
What makes anti-snoring pillows different from normal pillows is their design. They were originally designed to accommodate CPAP masks and tubes for a smooth use without any uneasy feeling. The anti-snoring pillows are quite comfortable to be used every night to reduce your sleep apnea.
Most of the anti-snoring pillows are made with an elevation in the middle that restraints you from lying on your back and you have to lay on either of your sides automatically. They provide head support, relax neck and throat muscles and gives you a snoring-free sleep experience at night. They are made of comfy foam and have a soft and smooth cover.
Anti-snoring pillows work in two ways generally. One type is focused on keeping the angle of your head corrected while you are asleep. The correct angle of the head helps to keep the airway open during the sleep to keep breathing smooth.
The other type focuses on providing support to your neck, chest, and shoulders. They provide support in a specific manner to your throat muscles that it stops emitting snores.
There is a huge variety of anti-snoring pillows in the market. You need to do your proper research to choose where you want to invest. This could be a lifetime investment as it is going to treat your enduring problem. The shape of the pillow, material, mechanism, and price, all matters while making this selection. There is no right or wrong type of anti-snoring pillow. It entirely depends on your medical needs, budget, lifestyle, the severity of the problem, etc., that which type is best for you. Choose the one that suits you best in all aspects.
Apparently harmless looking snoring habit usually gets neglected by most of us, but it can be a signal of something serious going on with your body. Small things when remained untreated grow gradually into bigger problems. You have a duty towards yourself to take care of your own body. Hence, don’t neglect small things and don’t wait for them to become great. The smaller the problem, the easier it is to be cured.
Sleep apnea is very common but not many people are aware of it. Help yourself and others in diagnosis. Change your lifestyle, look for natural remedies that suit you and above all, get an appropriate anti-snoring pillow. The anti-snoring pillow will not only soothe your breathing but will also ease others from the constant disturbance that your snoring causes to their sleep.
Stay safe and stay healthy.