7 Dos And Don'ts For Managing Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition with which the individual has one or more episodes of shallow breathing or a brief cessation in breathing during sleep. After breathing resumes, the individual may gasp for air. This ongoing condition may affect the quality of your sleep, but fortunately, there are ways to manage this pattern. Follow these dos and don'ts so you can manage your condition effectively.

1. Do Sleep in a Comfortable Environment

Make your bedroom as comfortable and conducive to sleep as possible. Be sure your sleeping environment is not too stuffy or warm. You might want to turn down the heat at night or open a window for fresh air. The use of an air purifier may help you breathe better and keep airways open.
 
Be sure you get an adequate amount of sleep each night. Maintain a regular sleeping routine and stick to it. Some experts believe that sleep-deprived individuals may be more prone to snoring and sleep apnea than others. If you notice these episodes seem to occur when you feel overly tired, get more rest.
 

2. Don't Use Sedatives or Alcohol Prior to Bedtime

Sleeping pills or any consumable with a sedative effect may worsen your symptoms of sleep apnea. Avoid alcoholic beverages before bedtime and limit your intake during the day. You might also want to avoid drinking chamomile tea a few hours before bedtime, as this herb tends to make some individuals drowsy. Also, if you take antihistamines to treat a cold or allergy, use a non-drowsy formula.
 

3. Do Shed Those Extra Pounds

If you're overweight, a sensible weight-loss program might help you control or prevent symptoms of sleep apnea. Extra throat tissue in overweight individuals may interfere with nighttime breathing, so weight loss is key to opening up your airways. Ask your health care provider to recommend a sensible weight-loss program.
 

4. Don't Fall Into a Nicotine Habit

As you're probably aware, smoking has negative effects on your health. If you are prone to sleep apnea, the use of nicotine may worsen your symptoms. Smoking inflames the airways and the throat. In addition, that "cigarette cough" may interfere with your sleep. Quit smoking and note whether your symptoms of sleep apnea seem to improve.
 

5. Do Consider Taking Up Yoga

While moderate exercise may promote better sleep, yoga may actually strengthen airway muscles. If you combine both activities in a healthy exercise routine, you may be able to combat the effects of sleep apnea. Remember to get your doctor's approval before beginning any type of exercise program.
 

6. Don't Lie Flat While Sleeping

It is best to use an extra pillow while sleeping, as lying flat may obstruct your airways. If you also experience snoring, consider using a special anti-snoring pillow. Another tip: avoid sleeping on your back, as this position may obstruct the airways for some individuals. Instead, sleep on your side and see whether your symptoms improve.
 

7. Do Follow Your Physician's Advice

If you experience severe symptoms of sleep apnea, your doctor may prescribe the use of a continuous positive airflow pressure machine, commonly referred to as a CPAP device. The mask is placed over the nose and mouth as you sleep, helping keep airways open and provide continuous airflow. Your doctor can provide tips on how you can acclimate to using the machine nightly.
 
Also, if you suffer from nasal allergies, your doctor may recommend you use saline nasal sprays or a saline wash. This may help unclog your nasal passages and help you breathe better. The use of humidifiers may also help your breathing if the air in your home is especially dry.
 
In conclusion, remember that there are alternative treatments and therapy methods that can help you combat sleep-related issues. Ask your doctor what options are available for you and so you can enjoy better sleep and a better quality of life.

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