How to Treat Sleep Apnea


If the air flow through your nose or mouth is blocked, or your brain sends out the wrong cues, you may stop breathing while you sleep. Your body reacts to the lack of oxygen by triggering a gasping reflex, waking you enough to start your breathing again. Victims of sleep apnea usually suffer at least 30 of these episodes during the night, each lasting 10 seconds or longer.

Millions of Americans suffer from sleep apnea, but it affects middle-aged men twice as much as women. People with large necks are more likely to have the con­dition because they usually have some type of blockage in the nose or back of the throat. Tobacco, alcohol or sleeping pills will make the condition worse. If you suffer from sleep apnea, you are more likely to have high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. The condition also seems to run in families.

Sleep Apnea

You may suffer from sleep apnea and not know it. Examine the list of symptoms, and have your spouse keep a watchful eye on you at night. What might seem like simple snoring could be a gasp for life.

  • Try not to sleep on your back. Sew a tennis or ping pong ball into a pocket on the back of your pajamas. The discomfort will make you sleep on your side.
  • Skip that after-dinner cocktail. Alcohol will play havoc with your sleep patterns. While it may at first seem to make you sleepier, the overall quality of sleep is poor. Instead try a soothing, decaf­feinated hot drink before bedtime.
  • Reduce stress. By lowering your anxiety or depression, you improve your chances for a deep­er sleep. Thinking about your problems before you fall asleep will only anchor the tension in your subconscious. Try some gentle stretching and deep-breathing exercises before bedtime, focusing on a routine that will calm and relax you.
  • The long-range plan for sleep apnea
  • Once your doctor has diagnosed your condition, he can judge whether it calls for drastic measures.
  • Lose weight. Statistics show that sleep apnea is more common if you’re overweight. A safe, gradual weight-loss program, supervised by a doctor, will make you healthier and improve the quality of your sleep. Avoid vigorous exercise just before bedtime, however. By saving these activities for morning or early evening, you allow your body to wind down and prepare for sleep.
  • Guard your mouth. A properly fitted mouth guard, worn while sleeping, can reposition your jaw and tongue so your throat stays open.
  • Mask it. A new treatment for sleep apnea forces your airway/ to stay open by blowing air from a compressor into a face mask you wear over your nose and mouth.
  • Seek surgery. Doctors can shift your jaw forward, remove any tissue in the back of your throat, and attach a pacemaker to stimulate your diaphragm and help your breathing. This is probably the only course that will cure sleep apnea.

It is common for older men and women to experience daytime sleepiness, and a brief rest to recharge your bat­teries is not a bad idea. If you lead an active social life, are in reasonably good health, and not overweight, that power nap should only enhance your life, not diminish it. So whenever you feel those doldrums, go ahead and take a siesta. You’ll feel fresh and alert again in no time.

Be Sociable, Share!

Related posts:

  1. How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep
  2. How to Avoid Sleep Deprivation
  3. How to Sleep Soundly at Night
  4. How to Get a Better Sleep
  5. How to Get a Great Night’s Sleep

Filed Under: Health & Personal Care

Tags:

About the Author: Andrew Reinert is a health care professional who loves to share different tips on health and personal care. He is a regular contributor to MegaHowTo and lives in Canada.

RSSComments (0)

Trackback URL

Comments are closed.