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Tips for Improving your Sleep Quality When you have Sleep Apnea 

Since sleep is essential for your mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing, it is cardinal to have a restful nighttime sleep to wake up fresh and happy the next morning. However, there are some sleep disorders that do not let you sleep peacefully; one such disorder is sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder where you stop breathing for short intervals during the sleep. Therefore, people with sleep apnea do not breathe in enough oxygen and builds up carbon dioxide in the blood vessels. This often cause them to gasp for air or wakeup abruptly.  

Furthermore, sleep apnea impacts negatively on our overall health, if left untreated for longer period. Moreover, one might wonder does sleep apnea cause weight gain or is it the cause for your lay back behaviour, tiredness, less productivity, or lethargy during daytime activities. Well, sleep apnea does have strings attached to all of this. 

Figuring out pro tips to help with quality sleep if you have sleep apnea can go a long way in taking ownership and reclaiming your life. However, you can seek sleep expert’s advice at any given point of time.  

Here are a few tips and home remedies to stick with for better sleep quality. So, stick to this blog and keep exploring! 

What are the Potential Signs of Sleep Apnea? 

Following are some potential signs of sleep apnea that are observed most commonly. If you or your loved ones experience any of the signs for a continuous and longer period, it’s time that you should seek help or try certain tips and remedies.  

  • Irritability 
  • Difficulty in concentrating 
  • Poor memory  
  • Loud snorting or snoring 
  • Gasping for air 
  • Fatigue 
  • Daytime sleepiness 
  • Morning headaches 
  • Dry mouth or sore throat 
  • Less productivity during the day  
  • Difficulty in staying asleep 
  • Abrupt mood changes 
  • Poor focus or attention  
  • Increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, and high blood pressure 
  • Increased pain perception 

Also Read: Sudden Excessive Sleepiness in the Elderly: Causes, Risks & When to Seek Help

Tips for Improving Sleep Quality 

Some home remedies and quick tips can help in improving the sleep quality and adjusting with sleep apnea. However, traditional methods and medicinal approaches can aid big time if you experience severe sleep apnea. Hence, we prefer sleep physicians’ advice in critical cases!  

Fix Your Sleep and Wake Schedule; being consistent with your sleep and wake timings can help you maintain quality sleep in the longer run. Your body’s circadian rhythms are aligned with sunrise and sunset timings as well as the light notions, hence irregular sleeping patterns can signal your brain to sleep at wrong time or during the day. Therefore, if you have sleep apnea or if you’re struggling with quality sleep, try sleeping at fixed time and wake up at similar hours so that the body registers your timings and brain signals accordingly.  

Refrain from Alcohol, Caffeine and Smoking Before Bedtime: 

Lifestyle changes and habit alterations can help cope up with sleep disruptions. Consider refraining from alcohol, caffeine and avoid smoking to reduce sleep apnea complications. Tobacco and alcohol consumption can increase inflammation and swelling in the throat muscles, resulting in narrower air passage and breathing disruptions. Hence, you might gasp for air or breathe through your mouth resulting in interrupted sleep and dry throat.  

Similarly, evening caffeine can keep you up at night. Caffeine tends to stay in the body for a longer time span. Hence, avoiding it can help with better sleep.  

Sleeping Position Matters; if you have sleep apnea you should mind your sleeping position and alter your position for a better sleep. We understand that everybody has got their favourite position to sleep but people with sleep apnea must not sleep on their back. Simply because the gravity pulls soft tissues of the throat downwards resulting in congested airways due to relaxed muscles. This supine position is not so ideal for people with sleep apnea, hence try sleeping on your sides for quality sleep.  

Exercise and Weight Control; people with sleep apnea are usually recommended by doctors to lose weight. Maintaining a healthy weight and working out on regular basis benefits heart health and assist in quality sleep. Aerobic exercise can boost sleep-wave cycle, resulting in sound and restful sleep. Yoga, biking, running, walking, strength training can help improve sleep apnea symptoms significantly.  

Since obesity can increase the risk of airway obstruction and can end up in narrow air passage and nasal congestion—one should concentrate in staying fit and reducing excessive weight. In some mild cases, weight loss can eliminate sleep apnea too. It is observed that regular exercise can reduce wakefulness by 30%, anxiety & stress by 15%, and time taken to fall asleep by 55% (Health Line, Feb 2023).  

Stress Reduction and Mental Health; dwelling on intense thoughts or feelings before bed can keep you away from falling asleep or having restful, quality sleep. Stress management might help you big time. Jotting down your worries, goals, deadlines and keeping them aside to sort the next day can keep you away from regressive thoughts and unnecessary thinking. While meditation, deep breathing, some alone time invested in your favourite hobby can help you immensely, you must seek professional help if you have severe depression. Stress management is beneficial for quality sleep and mental wellbeing.  

Sleeping Elevated and Using Humidifier; elevated head positions, adjustable pillows, body pillows, wedges—all these can help you greatly in reducing sleep apnea symptoms. Adjustable beds can also help in enhancing sleep quality and boost comfortable respiration. Humidifiers are devices that adds moisture to the air, they can help quite well assuring peaceful sleep. Humidifiers encourage clear breathing and help open airways. As much as dry air triggers respiration and breathing patterns, humidifiers promote easy breathing.  

Light Exposure and Melatonin; melatonin are the hormones that controls sleep-wave cycle in your body. These hormones get affected by the exposure of light. The brain tends to secrete more melatonin when its dark, hence making you feel drowsy and sleep. With light exposure the brain gets signalled and secretes less melatonin, keeping you alert and active. Therefore, a quiet, dark, comfortable room may help in better and continuous sleep.  

Figure Out Other Underlying Causes of Sleep Disorder; if you feel your sleep order is bothering you quite a lot and despite making changes to your routine and lifestyle it does not seem to show any betterment—there may be an underlying cause for it which could be tackled through seeking medical professional’s help. Some common sleep disorders other than sleep apnea may include circadian rhythm disorder and sleep movement disorder. These can be catered well by a sleep specialist. They may help you by prescribing over-the-counter medicines or share beneficial techniques to combat it.  

The Wrap-up 

Sleep plays a vital role in regulating your bodily functions and keeping you healthy overall. People with sleep apnea may struggle getting a restful sleep, however the above-mentioned tips and lifestyle changes can help you catch a good quality sleep.  

Telehealth sleep center in California and other telemedicine options can also help you in dealing with sleep apnea complications. If you still feel immensely sleep deprived and if you’re unable to secure a restorative sleep, we recommend healthcare professionals’ help and in-person consultation.  

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