Home Health Life-style Adjustments to Handle Sleep Apnea

Life-style Adjustments to Handle Sleep Apnea


Untreated sleep apnea can stress your heart, elevate your blood pressure, and worsen your temper. You might need bother considering 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 possibility. Nevertheless it’s not your solely alternative.

Christine Received, MD, focuses on sleep-related respiration issues at Yale Medication and says life-style modifications can assist. Some take purpose at your sleep apnea. Others are geared towards higher sleep typically. “This can assist with the fragmented and poor-quality sleep you get with sleep apnea.”

Right here’s what it’s good to know.

Lose Weight

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

Received agrees that weight reduction can assist reduce how dangerous signs are in some folks. Nevertheless it won’t 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 Medication, asks adults with sleep apnea this query: “Do you’ve gotten youngsters, and do any of them snore?” Early remedy in youngsters could push back issues down the highway, he says.

Train Extra

Your odds of sleep apnea go up for those who’re not bodily energetic. Train can assist you shed fats round your higher airways. Even and not using a large 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 can assist folks with sleep apnea within the following methods:

  • Enhance your oxygen ranges
  • Enable you to really feel much less sleepy
  • Enhance your sleep high quality
  • Reduce how dangerous 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 every week. Gill says your temper and sleep high quality may get higher with simply 10 or 20 minutes a day.

Stop 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 numerous 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. In case you’re going to drink, recommendations on the way to reduce alcohol’s affect in your sleep apnea embody:

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

In case you smoke, give up. Consultants aren’t precisely positive 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 Remedy

Gill says you’ll wish to be further cautious with opioids, a kind of sturdy painkiller. They will decelerate your respiration price and chill out respiration muscle groups much more.

Different medicine that 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 may breathe simpler for those who 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 also assist,” Received says.

However remember that a change in physique place received’t repair the reason for your sleep apnea. And it won’t do a lot if in case you have critical signs. “However it might assist people who find themselves snorers or who’ve a gentle sleep-breathing downside,” Kryger says.

Strive a Dental Machine

You may 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 could be “just about as efficient as CPAP,” he says.

You’ll must get one made by a dentist or orthodontist who works together with your sleep physician. However dental units generally is a lot costlier 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 if 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 purchase over-the-counter nasal sprays or irrigation kits. Gill says whether or not you utilize a CPAP machine or not, “a part of respiration higher is opening the nostril.”

Observe Good Sleep Habits

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

Received says train could enable you keep alert through the day and make you tired sufficient to crash at evening. And she or he says rest practices corresponding to meditation may enable you get to sleep simpler and attain a deeper degree of sleep.

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

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

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

Watch What You Eat

Consultants 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 will probably make the apnea worse.”

Give Your self Time to Sleep

An absence of shuteye can result in weight achieve. It will probably 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. In case you get quite a bit lower than that, Kryger says a few of your signs, corresponding to sleepiness, could not get higher even for those who make different life-style modifications or use a respiration system.

Play an Energetic Function in Your Care

In case you do use a CPAP, make sure that it really works the fitting method. Ask your physician the way to test your machine. Kryger says your system may hook up with a smartphone app that sends data straight to your physician. They will test that information and make modifications to your CPAP remotely.

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



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

Christine Received, MD, affiliate professor of medication (pulmonary), Yale Faculty 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); scientific professor of nursing, Yale Faculty of Medication.

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