Sleep apnea is a medical condition that disrupts the airways during sleep, resulting in abnormal breathing patterns and lower oxygen levels in the body. Treatment options can vary depending on the severity of the condition. In milder cases, sometimes lifestyle changes are all that is needed to reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea. There are several natural alternatives to treating sleep apnea before turning to surgery options, and the Sleep Cycle Center can help you find the right option for you. Our staff has been treating sleep apnea naturally for years, and can help you too!
Commit to lifestyle changes
For some sleep apnea patients, lifestyle changes are initially prescribed to target common triggers or routines that may aggravate symptoms. Adjustments in diet, increasing physical activity and eliminating bad habits are commonly advised to tackle mild diagnoses of sleep apnea. In some cases, these are the only forms of treatment needed for some patients.
Limit alcohol and smoking
Alcohol is well-known by medical professionals to impact sleep quality, even for those with no known sleep disorders. Unfortunately, for apnea patients, the effects of sleep after a night of drinking can often make symptoms appear worse than usual due to the depressant nature of alcohol and the effect it has on the body. The ‘warm fuzzy feeling’ well associated with a night of drinking, which leaves you feeling relaxed and content, is also relaxing the throat muscles that control breathing, increasing feelings of tiredness, headache, and confusion when waking in the morning. Smoking with a drink (or in general) can further increase sleep disturbances, heightening inflammation and fluid retention in the airways. General guidance recommends that patients should avoid alcohol and smoking entirely or avoid drinking at least 3 hours before bed.
Consider weight management therapy
Excessive body weight increases the likelihood of breathing issues for sleep apnea sufferers, causing airways to become narrowed or blocked during sleep. Weight management therapy is a common treatment used in medicine today and aims to equip patients with the tools they need to lose weight, maintain a healthy size and eat the correct foods to promote overall health. Generally, 10% of a person’s total weight will need to be lost in order to reduce the severity of symptoms, which is the case in around 50% of obese patients; however, this type of therapy alone cannot cure sleep apnea and is often used alongside a wider treatment plan.
Adjust your diet if you’re suffering from reflux
For many patients, it is unlikely their apnea symptoms will be the only medical challenge they face in their day-to-day lives, with up to 60% of diagnosed patients reporting Gastroesophageal problems alongside their apnea symptoms. Conditions such as GERD, which causes acid to move through the throat and irritate the upper airways, can aggravate apnea symptoms and increase the intensity of a patient’s snoring. Adjusting diets to high-fiber foods, such as fresh vegetables, seeds, and whole grains, can reduce reflux symptoms and in turn, minimize the challenging symptoms of apnea, making it an important part of a treatment plan.
Take control of your bedroom
As well as essential lifestyle changes, there are many practical adjustments patients are recommended to try at home to treat apnea symptoms. Reviewing sleeping positions and posture is usually advised to relieve restrictions on the airway caused by incorrect postures, which narrow during sleep. Positional therapies, such as ‘Side Sleeping’ or adjusting pillows to a 60-degree head-raised angle, can all be achieved conveniently from a patient’s bedroom to improve milder apnea cases. Those struggling to maintain a correct sleep position without aid can also invest in devices fitted across the waist or back to help encourage ideal sleep posture.
Explore oral devices
The Sleep Cycle Center specializes in oral devices for sleep apnea treatment, which helps to keep the airways open by holding the tongue in place and easing a patient’s jaw forward. These specific types of treatment encourage healthy jaw positioning, reducing the risk of obstructions from the throat and allowing air to move freely during sleep. Many of our patients prefer the simplicity of a holistic mouth guard over invasive CPAP devices, offering a comfortable and wireless option for relieving symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea. Additionally, oral appliances are portable, allowing flexibility for travel and changing routines, allowing patients to manage their sleep apnea without large impacts on their day-to-day lives. This has resulted in oral devices being 90% more accepted for long-term sleep apnea treatment compared to traditional CPAP therapy.
Contact Sleep Cycle Centers for reliable and comfortable apnea screenings
Sleep Cycle Centers takes a holistic view of managing the care of sleep disorders, including home treatments that can be conveniently adapted into a patient’s day-to-day life. If you’re reviewing your treatment options post-diagnosis, it can sometimes be a challenge to find the right treatment plan for you, which is why we believe in using a range of treatments to manage apnea symptoms and help our patients achieve better, recuperative, and more restful sleep. Call us to discuss your next treatment plan today: