Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. It is characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep, which can lead to a variety of health problems. People with mild sleep apnea may find that home remedies, such as lifestyle changes, can help reduce their symptoms. However, those with moderate to severe sleep apnea often need medical interventions to relieve their symptoms.
In this article, we will discuss the various home remedies and lifestyle changes that can help treat sleep apnea.Obesity is a common comorbidity among patients with sleep apnea. Dr. May calls obesity “a major risk factor” because neck fat puts pressure on throat muscles and ultimately restricts airflow. Therefore, maintaining adequate body weight is a great way to prevent OSA from getting worse.Humidity can also play an important role in treating sleep apnea.
The natural remedy would be to move to the tropics, but that's not possible for most people and it's not really a home remedy for YOUR home. Instead, you can use a humidifier wherever you live. Be sure to clean and dry the humidifier thoroughly frequently to avoid mold and mildew buildup.Smoking marijuana or taking CBD is already a controversial home remedy, and sleep experts currently believe that it is also an impediment to the health of patients with OSA. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, marijuana “should not be used as a therapy for sleep apnea”.
As for CBD, it is also not recommended due to the lack of evidence of its efficacy and safety.Taking natural remedies or a sleep supplement such as melatonin can improve the quality of sleep; however, their use depends largely on quality rather than quantity. Excessive amounts of melatonin can cause the muscles of the throat and upper respiratory tract to relax too much, making the obstruction seen with sleep apnea worse.Positional aids, such as sleeping wedges and tennis balls, can be used to prevent a person from falling on their back while sleeping. This can help change your position from sleeping on your back to sleeping on your side. You can also raise the head of the bed by four to six inches, or lift your body from the waist up with a foam wedge or special neck pillow.Chronic lack of sleep caused by sleep apnea can cause daytime sleepiness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, poor memory, and an increased risk of accidents and errors in daily activities.
Oral appliances can help with sleep apnea by repositioning your jaw or tongue to keep your airway open while you sleep.The diagnosis of sleep apnea is based on the number of respiratory episodes you experience per hour of sleep, as evidenced by the sleep study, as well as symptoms such as snoring and daytime sleepiness. The lack of oxygen during an episode of sleep apnea causes you to wake up, usually so briefly that you don't remember it.Allergies or other medical conditions that cause nasal congestion and obstruction can also contribute to sleep apnea. Therefore, it is important to treat any underlying medical conditions in order to reduce episodes of sleep apnea and improve your overall quality of life.In some cases, usually relatively mild, sleep apnea can be addressed through lifestyle and environmental adjustments. This includes avoiding alcohol before bedtime, avoiding caffeine late in the day, avoiding large meals before bedtime, and avoiding sleeping on your back.
If you have exhausted other treatment options for sleep apnea, you may have surgery to increase the size of your airway.It is also very important that you get a dentist who specializes in sleep apnea and that you visit him regularly to check for any problems and periodically adjust the mouthpiece. While there was a time when surgery, medications, or CPAP therapy would have been the only options for treating sleep apnea, that is no longer true.For example, treatment with a dental appliance can be as effective as CPAP for up to 87% of people. While the technology is relatively new (and expensive), studies suggest that it may also benefit people with central sleep apnea. In people with obstructive sleep apnea (the most common form of sleep apnea), airflow to the lungs is blocked because the airway collapses or becomes obstructed during sleep.If you or someone you know is interested in treating sleep apnea without using traditional options, alternatives are worth exploring.
I regularly work with patients with sleep apnea whose conditions range from mild to severe, guiding them from consultation and sleep testing to diagnosis and treatment.