It’s estimated that over 22 million American adults suffer from sleep apnea, with 80% of cases being moderate to severe. If you fall into the latter category, there are numerous lifestyle changes you can make which may alleviate the symptoms associated with this condition. If you aren’t sure where to start, here are 5 self-care strategies that you can implement today.
While not everyone with obstructive sleep apnea are obese or overweight, 50% of those with the condition are. If you have some extra weight, it’s recommended that you slim down, which may improve your symptoms. There are numerous benefits you can gain from losing weight, as you will be helping to decrease your risk of diabetes, improving your mobility, and lowering blood pressure. Factoring in 30 minutes of physical activity each day can reduce stress levels and help reduce the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea.
Smokers are at risk of getting cancer, lung disease, heart disease, and diabetes. If you are a smoker, this can aggravate symptoms commonly associated with obstructive sleep apnea, such as pauses in breathing and snoring. Cigarette smoke increases swelling in your airway, which can exacerbate your condition, so packing the habit in for good is advised. There are many resources online which can assist you in your fight to stop smoking.
Drinking alcohol can also interfere with your air flow, which can be troublesome for those who already have breathing problems. Alcohol inhibits your body’s ability to breathe as you sleep, making your obstructive sleep apnea worse. Like with giving up smoking, there are lots of helplines and resources available that you can use to cut back or give up alcohol altogether.
Build a Good Sleep Routine
We’re all aware of how important good quality sleep is for our mind and body, so if you are living with obstructive sleep apnea, getting a good night’s rest may be easier said than done. There are lots of strategies that you can adopt which can help you build a good sleep routine, such as going to bed and waking up at the same time, relaxing and unwinding before sleep, as well as investing in a new mattress. There are also devices like a CPAP machine and BiPapthat can keep your airways open as you sleep. If you’re struggling to pick between Cpap or BiPap, check the linked guide.
Change Your Diet
The diet that you follow can have an influence on your obstructive sleep apnea. If you’re not getting enough sleep each night, you’re more likely to crave sugary and fatty foods which can exacerbate symptoms linked with obstructive sleep apnea. Incorporating plenty of fruits, vegetables and proteins into your diet may help with your condition and aid sleep. Following a balanced diet can also boost your immune system and improve cardiovascular health.
If left undiagnosed and untreated, obstructive sleep apnea can be fatal, so it’s vital that you seek advice from a doctor and try all the tips listed above which may help reduce symptoms and ensure you get a good night’s sleep.
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