Home Health Way of life Modifications to Handle Sleep Apnea

Way of life Modifications to Handle Sleep Apnea


Untreated sleep apnea can stress your heart, elevate 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) system is one choice. But it surely’s not your solely alternative.

Christine Gained, MD, makes a speciality of sleep-related respiration issues at Yale Medication and says life-style modifications may also help. Some take intention at your sleep apnea. Others are geared towards higher sleep generally. “This may also 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 medication specialist a Northwestern Medication Central DuPage Hospital. However “losing weight might be the primary advice.”

Gained agrees that weight reduction may also help reduce how unhealthy signs are in some folks. But it surely may not eliminate 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 medication specialist at Yale Medication, asks adults with sleep apnea this query: “Do you might have youngsters, and do any of them snore?” Early remedy in youngsters could keep at bay issues down the highway, he says.

Train Extra

Your odds of sleep apnea go up in case you’re not bodily energetic. Train may also help you shed fats round your higher airways. Even with out a massive drop in weight, Kryger says common motion can elevate your power ranges and enhance your total well being.

Outdoors of weight reduction, analysis reveals physical activity may also help folks with sleep apnea within the following methods:

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

We want extra analysis to know precisely how exercise helps with sleep apnea. However attempt to work in 2 days of weight training and at the very least 150 minutes of cardio exercise every week. Suppose half-hour a day, 5 days every week. Gill says your temper and sleep high quality may get higher with simply 10 or 20 minutes a day.

Stop Consuming 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 muscular tissues,” Kryger says. “But in addition, individuals who drink loads 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. For those who’re going to drink, recommendations on tips on how to reduce alcohol’s affect in your sleep apnea embrace:

  • Cease ingesting at the very least 3 to 4 hours earlier than mattress.
  • Restrict alcohol use to weekends.
  • For those who’re a heavy drinker, attempt to in the reduction of to 1 or 2 a day.

For those who smoke, give up. Specialists aren’t precisely certain how cigarette smoking pertains to sleep apnea. However research present individuals who have the sleep problem or extra more likely to smoke. Plus, chemical substances in cigarettes can hurt your well being and worsen sleep high quality.

Keep away from Sure Treatment

Gill says you’ll wish to be additional cautious with opioids, a sort of robust painkiller. They’ll decelerate your respiration price and chill out respiration muscular tissues much more.

Different medication that may have an effect on sleep apnea embrace:

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

Change Your Sleep Place

You may breathe simpler in case you snooze in your facet. “I generally have [older] males purchase pregnancy pillows to keep away from their again,” Gill says.

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

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

Attempt a Dental Machine

You may hear this referred to 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 may be “just about as efficient as CPAP,” he says.

You’ll must get one made by a dentist or orthodontist who works along with your sleep physician. However dental units is usually 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 when you have gentle sleep apnea, he says. 

Along with allergy treatment, Gill suggests rinsing with saline one or two occasions a day. You should purchase 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.”

Apply Good Sleep Habits

This received’t deal with your sleep apnea. However healthy habits could make it simpler to get a very good evening’s relaxation. There are many behavioral methods your physician may need you to strive.

Gained says train could show you how to keep alert throughout the day and make you tired sufficient to crash at evening. And she or he says rest practices akin to meditation may show you how to get to sleep simpler and attain a deeper stage of sleep.

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

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

Gill additionally suggests you place down digital units at the very least 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 truly go excessive sufficient that it might irritate the higher respiration passage,” Kryger says. “It may make the apnea worse.”

Give Your self Time to Sleep

An absence of shuteye can result in weight acquire. It may additionally elevate 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. “They usually’re far more more likely to be very irritable.”

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

Play an Lively Position in Your Care

For those who do use a CPAP, be certain it really works the fitting means. Ask your physician tips on how to verify your machine. Kryger says your system may hook up with a smartphone app that sends data straight to your physician. They’ll verify that knowledge and make modifications to your CPAP remotely.

“Sleep medication is pretty updated when it comes to telemedicine,” he says. “We are able to do lots in serving to (folks with sleep apnea) handle themselves.”



Kuljeet Ok. Gill, MD, sleep medication, Northwestern Medication Central DuPage Hospital; well being system clinician of medication (pulmonary and significant care), Northwestern College Feinberg College of Medication.

Christine Gained, MD, affiliate professor of medication (pulmonary), Yale College of Medication; medical director, Yale Middle for Sleep Medication; director, Ladies’s Sleep Well being Program, Yale Medication.

Meir Kryger, MD, professor of medication (pulmonary); medical professor of nursing, Yale College of Medication.

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