Home Health Life-style Adjustments to Handle Sleep Apnea

Life-style Adjustments to Handle Sleep Apnea


Untreated sleep apnea can stress your heart, increase your blood pressure, and worsen your temper. You may need bother pondering clearly since you’re not getting the deep sleep you want. And your snores or gasps for air at evening could disturb family members.

However there are methods to breathe simpler. A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) gadget is one possibility. Nevertheless it’s not your solely selection.

Christine Gained, MD, makes a speciality of sleep-related respiration issues at Yale Drugs and says life-style modifications will help. Some take goal at your sleep apnea. Others are geared towards higher sleep generally. “This will help with the fragmented and poor-quality sleep you get with sleep apnea.”

Right here’s what it’s worthwhile to know.

Lose Weight

Sleep apnea is extra frequent in obese adults. That’s as a result of additional fat tissue can block your higher airways. Your genes and pure bodily traits additionally play a job, says Kuljeet Gill, MD, a sleep drugs specialist a Northwestern Drugs Central DuPage Hospital. However “losing weight might be the primary advice.”

Gained agrees that weight reduction will help reduce how unhealthy signs are in some folks. Nevertheless it may not do away with your want for the CPAP fully, she says.

Anybody of any dimension can get sleep apnea, even youngsters. That’s why Meir Kryger, MD, a sleep drugs specialist at Yale Drugs, asks adults with sleep apnea this query: “Do you could have youngsters, and do any of them snore?” Early therapy in youngsters could beat back issues down the highway, he says.

Train Extra

Your odds of sleep apnea go up should you’re not bodily energetic. Train will help you shed fats round your higher airways. Even with no massive drop in weight, Kryger says common motion can increase your power ranges and enhance your general well being.

Exterior of weight reduction, analysis exhibits physical activity will help folks with sleep apnea within the following methods:

  • Enhance your oxygen ranges
  • Aid you really feel much less sleepy
  • Enhance your sleep high quality
  • Reduce how unhealthy your sleep apnea is

We’d like extra analysis to know precisely how exercise helps with sleep apnea. However attempt to work in 2 days of weight training and a minimum of 150 minutes of cardio exercise every week. Suppose half-hour a day, 5 days per week. Gill says your temper and sleep high quality would possibly get higher with simply 10 or 20 minutes a day.

Give up Ingesting and Smoking

Alcohol use could make sleep apnea worse for a few causes. “We all know that it reduces the tone of the higher airway respiration muscle groups,” Kryger says. “But additionally, individuals who drink plenty of alcohol are inclined to placed on weight.”

Gill says it’s greatest to surrender booze fully. However she is aware of that’s not doable for everybody. When you’re going to drink, recommendations on the way to reduce alcohol’s influence in your sleep apnea embody:

  • Cease consuming a minimum of 3 to 4 hours earlier than mattress.
  • Restrict alcohol use to weekends.
  • When you’re a heavy drinker, attempt to reduce to 1 or 2 a day.

When you smoke, stop. Specialists aren’t precisely positive how cigarette smoking pertains to sleep apnea. However research present individuals who have the sleep problem or extra prone to smoke. Plus, chemical substances in cigarettes can hurt your well being and worsen sleep high quality.

Keep away from Sure Medicine

Gill says you’ll wish to be additional cautious with opioids, a sort of robust painkiller. They will decelerate your respiration fee and loosen up respiration muscle groups much more.

Different medicine which may have an effect on sleep apnea embody:

Ask your physician if it’s OK to make use of over-the-counter sleeping tablets. It’s not that OTC sleep aids make sleep apnea worse, Gill says, however “you don’t wish to masks an underlying respiration downside.”

Change Your Sleep Place

You would possibly breathe simpler should you snooze in your aspect. “I typically have [older] males purchase pregnancy pillows to keep away from their again,” Gill says.

Check out your mattress selection, too. “A mattress that elevates your head may also assist,” Gained says.

However remember that a change in physique place gained’t repair the reason for your sleep apnea. And it may not do a lot in case you have severe signs. “However it could assist people who find themselves snorers or who’ve a light sleep-breathing downside,” Kryger says.

Attempt a Dental Machine

You would possibly hear this known as oral equipment remedy. These instruments pull your tongue away out of your throat or deliver your decrease jaw up and ahead, Kryger says. That retains your throat open at evening. For some folks, a dental equipment might be “nearly as efficient as CPAP,” he says.

You’ll have to get one made by a dentist or orthodontist who works together with your sleep physician. However dental gadgets generally is a lot dearer than a CPAP, and your insurance could not cowl it.

Deal with Nasal Congestion

A stuffy nostril doesn’t trigger sleep apnea. The issue begins again in your throat, behind your tongue, Kryger says. However managing your allergies — both with surgical procedure, anti-inflammatory brokers, or corticosteroids — could assist in case you have gentle sleep apnea, he says. 

Along with allergy treatment, Gill suggests rinsing with saline one or two occasions a day. You should buy over-the-counter nasal sprays or irrigation kits. Gill says whether or not you employ a CPAP machine or not, “a part of respiration higher is opening the nostril.”

Observe Good Sleep Habits

This gained’t deal with your sleep apnea. However healthy habits could make it simpler to get a great evening’s relaxation. There are many behavioral methods your physician would possibly need you to attempt.

Gained says train could aid you keep alert through the day and make you tired sufficient to crash at evening. And he or she says rest practices akin to meditation would possibly aid you get to sleep simpler and attain a deeper degree of sleep.

Gill says a strict sleep-wake schedule is essential. Listed here are a few of her ideas:

  • Go to mattress inside 15 or half-hour of the identical time every day.
  • Maintain the identical sleep routine on weekdays and weekends.
  • Keep away from daytime naps should you can’t go to sleep simply at evening.

Gill additionally suggests you set down digital gadgets a minimum of 2 or 3 hours earlier than mattress. These are issues like laptops, smartphones, or tablets. “Tv and studying are very totally different,” she says.

Watch What You Eat

Specialists agree that it’s greatest to keep away from heavy meals, caffeine, and spicy meals at evening. These can worsen heartburn. That’s when acid travels out of your stomach as much as your throat. “The reflux, or acid, can really go excessive sufficient that it could possibly irritate the higher respiration passage,” Kryger says. “It may make the apnea worse.”

Give Your self Time to Sleep

A scarcity of shuteye can result in weight acquire. It may additionally increase your odds of mental health issues. “Individuals who have untreated sleep apnea are more likely to be depressed or have depression-like signs,” Kryger says. “And so they’re far more prone to be very irritable.”

Carve out 7 to 9 hours for sleep. When you get lots lower than that, Kryger says a few of your signs, akin to sleepiness, could not get higher even should you make different life-style modifications or use a respiration gadget.

Play an Lively Position in Your Care

When you do use a CPAP, ensure that it really works the correct manner. Ask your physician the way to examine your machine. Kryger says your gadget would possibly hook up with a smartphone app that sends data straight to your physician. They will examine that knowledge and make modifications to your CPAP remotely.

“Sleep drugs is pretty updated by way of telemedicine,” he says. “We will do lots in serving to (folks with sleep apnea) handle themselves.”



Kuljeet Ok. Gill, MD, sleep drugs, Northwestern Drugs Central DuPage Hospital; well being system clinician of drugs (pulmonary and important care), Northwestern College Feinberg Faculty of Drugs.

Christine Gained, MD, affiliate professor of drugs (pulmonary), Yale Faculty of Drugs; medical director, Yale Heart for Sleep Drugs; director, Ladies’s Sleep Well being Program, Yale Drugs.

Meir Kryger, MD, professor of drugs (pulmonary); scientific professor of nursing, Yale Faculty of Drugs.

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