7 Natural Treatments for Sleep Apnea
by Todd Jackson
Below are 7 treatments, each natural, all inexpensive, for sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a serious health problem that has trailed the problem with overweight like a shadow. It is so closely associated with overweight that in well over four-fifths of cases studied, the condition vanishes once the sufferer drops at least 33 pounds. Losing weight is highly advised, but the condition is simply too dangerous to await the time it might take to drop that much weight. It doesn’t take much imagination to understand why it’s so dangerous. After all, sleep apnea is a condition in which an individual’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. There can be literally hundreds of such interruptions each night. Needless to say, this is NOT GOOD. This can lead to strokes and heart attacks. Slightly less ominously, it can lead to high blood pressure, diabetes, and depression as one lives an oxygen-deprived life. ADHD can become worse. Taken together, this isn’t simply a condition that can be a sudden killer. If one lives, it can lead to a blighted life of underrperformance socially, at school, at work, and elsewhere. Sufferers aren’t just getting enough oxygen. They aren’t getting enough sleep.
Typically, people who suspect they suffer from sleep apnea are told by an alarmed partner or family member frightened when breathing stops in the middle of snoring. You should go to a doctor immediately, who will then recommend you to a sleep center where a specialist can observe you sleeping and give you a proper diagnosis.
The most common treatment for sleep apnea is the CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) mask, in which air is gently forced into the patient’s lungs to assist the breathing process. While effective, many patients find the mask too cumbersome to use every night during sleep. Further, the CPAP mask, and the diagnosis procedure, might be too expensive for uninsured or underinsured patients.
The treatments listed below are not meant to replace qualified, professional treatment. They are natural in the sense that they don’t require any sort of medication, so there is no reason to fear side effects. They can be used in combination with each other without fear. As for whether they work, ask your partner or family member, or even record yourself as you sleep.
1) Stop or restrict smoking. Smoking invariably produces swelling in the throat or nasal cavity. It’s best to stop altogether, and not just because of sleep apnea. If you can’t stop altogether, at least stop smoking several hours before going to bed.
2) Sleep on your side. Sleeping on your back contributes to the palate and tongue taking a position where it is easy for them to cut off the flow of air. If it’s impossible to control your position during sleep, sew something fairly large, like a golf ball, into the back of your pajama top. A variation on this theme is sleeping with your head just slightly elevated, using additional pillows.
3) Avoid alcohol, antihistimines, or tranquilizers in the hours before going to sleep. Any of these will relax throat muscles and contribute to obstructed breathing.
4)Eliminate dust and allergens. Keep your home dusted, your floor vacuumed. Get rid of mold. Any of these will contribute to your tendency to nasal congestion.
5) Lubricate. Keep your nasal passages moist. This can be accomplish by taking a couple tablespoons of olive or sesame oil before going to bed. Raw honey is also good. Ginger aids salivation. It’s also a good idea to have a glass of water within an hour of going to bed.
6) Apply a saline nasal spray before turning in for the night.
7) Buy a mouthpiece. These are considerably less expensive and troublesome then using a mask. It might be preferable to find one that opens in front, mimicking the jaws’ natural motion. There might be a tendency to spit out the mouthpiece at night, especially the single-piece mouthpieces, but one gets quickly accustomed to them. There are mouthpieces which can be specially fitted to your mouth; predictably, these are more expensive.