Sleep apnea is one of the more common but unrecognized sleeping disorders. But unless you know it’s symptoms, you won’t know how to cure it, not to mention, the treatment options. So here we will begin with the problem itself and then move on to the different sleep apnea solutions – and you can decide which one suits you best.
So let’s first do a brief recap of…
What is sleep apnea?
It is a sort of sleep disorder where your breathing gets affected. Your breathing is disturbed and interspersed with brief spells of extreme shallow breathing. These spells last about 10-20 seconds but is sometimes enough to either wake you up because you feel choked, or it disturbs your natural sleep cycle. Physiologically speaking, each time the windpipe gets choked, the oxygen level in your blood tends to fall and your brains kicks into gear to kick start your breathing again.
Sleep is the only time when your mind and body get the chance to rest after a stressful day. If your sleep is also affected and disturbed, neither your mind nor your body get the rest they need, and you and your lifestyle pattern suffer due to this.
Sleep deprivation because of apnea results in
- Overall slow reflexes.
- Poor concentration and focus.
- Increased risk of accidents – because you’re not your 100%
So getting apnea treated is a primary goal to get back into your regular rhythm. But before we move on to the treatment options, let’s just fill you in a little more on sleep apnea-
What are the three types of sleep apnea?
Obstructive Sleep Apnea: this is the most common problem. The smooth tissues at the back of your throat get excessively relaxed and block your airway. So you feel choked. Result: you snore rather loudly.
Central Sleep Apnea: this problem involves the central nervous system, and in this case, your brain is unable to transfer the signal to the muscles that control your breathing mechanism. You won’t snore, but you could have other problems.
Complex Sleep Apnea: as the name makes it clear, it is a rather complicated issue – one which combines both obstructive and central sleep apnea.
Now, how will you know for sure that you’re suffering from this problem because unless you know for sure what is causing your sleep disturbances, you can’t possibly rectify the situation.
Signs to look out for include:
- Headaches in the morning.
- Memory issues and problems with retaining facts in the head.
- Mood swings, personality changes, irritability and general depression.
- You could even wake up frequently to urinate.
- You can even experience dry throat and mouth once you wake up from sleep.
There are several self-treatment options open to you, especially if you have mild to moderate issues of sleep apnea. Here we will tell you a little about all these home remedies that you can try-
- You should follow an exercise regimen because being overweight often worsens sleep apnea.
- You can also sleep on your side; it eases the muscles of the throat without putting pressure on your airway.
- Elevate your head – use two pillows if need be, or a cervical pillow.
- Use a nasal dilator, or breathing strips to free your nasal passage of mucus – it helps with apnea.
Other lifestyle changes that you should follow include:
- Quit smoking – it increases inflammation of the throat and causes fluid retention in your throat that can lead to sleep apnea.
- Avoid sedatives, as well as alcohol, as they relax the muscles of the throat and lead to sleep apnea.
- Also, avoid caffeine or even a heavy meal especially close to your bedtime.
- Regular sleeping hours will go a long way in getting rid of mild apnea.
If you’re looking for treatment options for complex apnea, then the home treatments will not be of much help, and professional help will be the best option. The most frequently employed treatment option is, of course, CPAP – or Continuous Positive Airflow Pressure system. You get a mask like systems that clear the blockage and help you get a good night’s sleep.
There are also other treatment options like-
Bilevel positive airway pressure (BPAP): this device adjusts the pressure when you’re inhaling and exhaling – more pressure when you’re breathing in, and less when you’re exhaling. It helps those who have a weak breathing pattern and central sleep apnea together.
Adaptive servo-ventilation (ASV): such devices also help to treat apnea and automatically store the pressure pattern for when you sleep. The next time you sleep, the device adjusts the air pressure accordingly, to minimize the gaps in breathing.
But of course, your doctor will be the best person to help you with the actual treatment. However, if you want some relief before you get an appointment with the physician, then you might consider the following options…
In fact, they are some of the best sleep apnea solutions you have-
Bed wedges: the particular bed wedge we are talking about is one that bears the seal of approval from the Orthopedic Research Institute. So you need not worry that to get your breathing back to normal and to escape apnea, you will have to suffer back pain instead.
Best pillow for sleep apnea: we did speak about pillows that will help you with apnea; these are specialized ones that will help you get a good night’s rest. Once you get used to these pillows, the chances are that you won’t want to go back to normal and regular pillows.
Best CPAP nasal pillow: this is one of the most popular items from the house of ResMed, and you don’t need a prescription for this. So even before you get to the doctor, you can get yourself one of these to keep your breathing pattern normal.And unlike other items for sleep apnea which are extremely highly priced, this comes for a reasonable price.
CPAP nasal masks: these are quite popular, and they are extremely helpful in getting your breathing under control. The particular mask we have focused on is quieter and lighter – you won’t feel oppressed when you wear it to sleep. And it is easy to assemble and use.
So till you get to your doctor, you can always try lifestyle changes as well as these sleep apnea solutions. Once you follow the lifestyle changes and try out the treatment options, even sleep apnea can be treated very effectively.