Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder that affects a large number of people in the United States. Generally, sleep apnea is a disorder that causes a reduction or pause of breathing (airflow) during sleep. When this happens, the body and brain are deprived of sufficient oxygen levels. This causes the sleeper to wake up and naturally begin choking in an attempt to get sufficient amounts of oxygen.
There are three different types of sleep apnea:
- Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) - When the brain does not send a signal to the throat muscle to take a breath. As a result, there is muscular effort to take a breath.
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) - When there is a tightening of neck muscles and the collapse of tissue in the back of the throat. This causes the sufferer to temporarily stop breathing and wake up to get sufficient oxygen.
- Mixed Sleep Apnea (both central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea).
In addition to difficulty breathing during sleep, symptoms of sleep apnea include feeling sleep deprived during the day, high blood pressure, experience morning headaches, and decreased libido.
Traditionally, people with Sleep Apnea use a special breathing machine and mask to help to prevent these things from happening. This device uses continuous positive airway pressure to keep your airway open while you sleep. Fortunately, lifestyle changes can go a long way to alleviate the problem and reduce the risk factors of Sleep Apnea. In fact, most medical practitioners believe it’s imperative that people make lifestyle changes if they want to reverse this uncomfortable condition.
Listed below are some natural treatment options suggested to help aid in the sufferers’ relief:
1) Weight Loss
In the majority of Sleep Apnea cases, the person suffering from this condition is likely to be struggling with excess weight. Those who make a commitment to living a healthy lifestyle and to losing those extra pounds can see a drastic relief in these nighttime symptoms. With as little as a 10% weight loss, patients reported a significant decrease in nightly breathing interruptions.
The decision to eat healthy and lose weight should also include a regular program of disciplined exercise. An exercise program that strengthens the neck muscles is highly recommended. Consultation with one’s doctor is recommended before engaging in any of these lifestyle changes. Reducing weight is the only method that is consistently successful in reversing the problem of Sleep Apnea.
2) Adjust Your Sleeping Position
It is advised that those suffering from Sleep Apnea should avoid sleeping on their backs. When you fall asleep on your back it causes the throat muscles to tighten and close up, which worsens the symptoms. The best sleep position is to curl up in fetal position and sleep on your side. It is also advised that you should not sleep propped up with more than one pillow. Make sure that you try to keep your chin from touching your neck.
3) Vitamin D
A Vitamin D supplement has been proven to enhance many areas of your life. It is known to strengthen your immune system, improve energy levels, and defend against illness. When you commit to losing weight and begin to work out on a regular basis, Vitamin D can help to protect your cells from oxidation. This helps sustain your energy levels.
In addition, there have been studies showing that patients suffering from Sleep Apnea often have deficient levels of Vitamin D in the blood. Those who take a daily Vitamin D supplement of a minimum of 2000 IU show a noticeable reduction in the severity of the symptoms throughout the night.
Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory which helps relieve muscle tightening and thus aids the Sleep Apnea sufferer. The most effective and bioavailable form of Turmeric is a supplement which contains a 95% extract. Other forms, which fail to meet the 95% extract criteria, will not give you the desired results you are looking for.
5) Magnesium and Serotonin Combination
Magnesium is the go to mineral responsible to aid in the body’s muscle relaxation. As Sleep Apnea causes the tightening of muscles in the neck, Magnesium works to relieve and relax the cramping. 5-HTP and Magnesium should be taken together for best results. 5-HTP depends on Magnesium to function at optimal efficiency.
Blood tests performed on Sleep Apnea patients have shown decreased levels of serotonin in their bodies. 5HTP is nicknamed “the feel good drug,” which boosts the body’s natural feeling of euphoria, promoting further relaxation of the throat muscles.
Making lifestyle adjustments, and adding in beneficial supplements like Turmeric, Magnesium, Vitamin D and 5-HTP work together help assist those suffering from this condition. It is recommended that these supplements become a routine part of every healthy adult’s regular daily intake.
While there are natural ways to combat sleep apnea, according to the Mayo Clinic, consult a doctor if you or a partner experience any of the following symptoms:
- Snoring loud enough to disturb your sleep or that of others
- Waking up gasping or choking
- Intermittent pauses in your breathing during sleep
- Excessive daytime drowsiness, which may cause you to fall asleep while you're working, watching television or even driving a vehicle
Many people may not think of snoring as a sign of something potentially serious, and not everyone who snores has obstructive sleep apnea.
Be sure to talk to your doctor if you experience loud snoring, especially snoring that's punctuated by periods of silence. With obstructive sleep apnea, snoring usually is the loudest when you sleep on your back, and it quiets when you turn on your side.
Ask your doctor about any sleep problem that leaves you chronically fatigued, sleepy, and irritable. Excessive daytime drowsiness may be due to other disorders, such as narcolepsy.