Sleep is hard to come by for a lot of us, but sleep apnea can be a serious disruption that seriously affects our sleep, health, and mood. Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder where breathing stops and starts throughout the night. Do you still feel overly tired after getting a solid 7-9 hours of sleep, or have interrupted breathing at night? If you do, you may be dealing with sleep apnea.
Causes of Sleep Apnea
Sometimes the brain doesn’t send the right signals to the muscles that affect breathing, which is referred to as Central Sleep Apnea. Sometimes the throat becomes so relaxed that it blocks your airflow, which is called Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Some people even deal with both, which makes restful nights nearly impossible.
Sleep apnea is more common in men and people that are older, and it’s also more likely to occur if it runs in the family. Other causes or high-risk factors include:
- large tonsils
- heart disorders
- nasal congestion
- high blood pressure
- alcohol or sedatives
Sleep Apnea: Natural Treatment
If you’ve heard of sleep apnea, you’ve probably heard of a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine. CPAP therapy is a common and often necessary medical treatment for sleep apnea, but there are other approaches you can try, too. Check out these natural treatments for sleep apnea to give your body the best chance of better sleep.
Maintain A Healthy Weight
An unhealthy weight can increase the risk of sleep apnea because a thicker neck can make your airway smaller. which affects your throat muscles that help with breathing. If you struggle with maintaining your preferred weight, you aren’t alone! Talk to your doctor about healthy and effective ways to reach your goals.
Substances to Avoid
Everybody likes to have a good time, but if you smoke, drink excessively, or use sedatives too often, you are at a higher risk of suffering from sleep apnea. Too much alcohol or sedatives can over-relax the throat muscles that manage your breathing, which takes a toll at night. Drinking and smoking can also cause inflammation and disrupt sleep. Try to kick that smoking habit to get better sleep, and avoid drinking alcohol at least 3 hours before you go to bed.
Use A Humidifier
Congestion is another culprit of sleep apnea: it blocks your airways and makes easy breathing a nightmare. A humidifier can help drain your sinuses, increase airflow, and lessen snoring. You can also try other natural decongestant tactics like rubbing essential oils on your chest.
Find A Better Sleeping Position
When we go to bed, we usually just sleep in a naturally comfortable position or whatever position that our bodies are used to. But sleeping positions are not all created equal! Sleeping on your back is a big no-no for people with sleep apnea because it makes your tongue and palate press against your throat. Instead, try sleeping on your side and elevate your head to ease the pressure on your throat. If you’re a stomach sleeper through and through, that’s also not a bad option, either—and it’s definitely better than sleeping on your back.
If you aren’t opposed to using devices, you can try using a sleep guard or dental appliances that hold your jaw and tongue in a certain position. These devices can usually help treat the symptoms, but remember: you need to properly treat sleep apnea as a condition to protect your overall health.
Create The Perfect Sleeping Atmosphere
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