Statistics suggest that approximately 18 million adults in the United States suffer from sleep apnea. As many as four percent of the population may unknowingly have the disorder. The breathless episodes that are characteristic of the disorder last from 10 to 30 seconds and may occur a few times or hundreds of time during the night. These moments of oxygen deprivation cause short and long-term effects that pose a serious consequence to overall health. Many people consult with medical professionals commonly recommend that patients use different types of devices, which may include CPAP machines. However, there are natural solutions that sleep apnea sufferers might try.
The majority of people living with sleep apnea are also overweight. In many cases, when these people lose even 10 percent of the excess weight, they find that the apnea problem also disappears. The fat cells in the mouth and throat regions reduce in size, which helps open passageways during sleep. A study performed by researchers in Sweden revealed that 20 percent of volunteers undergoing apnea evaluations completely eliminated the problem after losing weight. Combine a healthier diet with exercise for enhanced results. Physical activity speeds up the metabolism and circulates much needed oxygen throughout the body. For optimal weight loss results, physicians recommend getting 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise at least four times a week.
When choosing a back lying position, throat muscles relax and the tongue falls backward. These actions considerably narrow the breathing passage. Side lying eliminates soft palate relaxation that contributes to apnea. Also consider keeping the number of pillows to a minimum to ensure that the neck and spine stay at a more natural alignment. Holding the head upward instead of dipping the chin to the chest additionally prevents airway blockages.
Vitamin, Mineral and Herbal Supplements
Some neurologists found that in the majority of patients diagnosed with sleep apnea individuals also have vitamin D deficiencies. Getting direct sun exposure daily or consuming fortified dairy products usually corrects the problem and diminishes apnea symptoms. Getting sufficient quantities of vitamin C provides a protectant quality against the damaging effects of the disorder. Magnesium keeps muscles properly toned. California poppy and lavender preparations are also believed to help reduce episodes. A precursor of serotonin, 5-HTP and magnesium help the body produce more of the neurotransmitter. Insufficient levels of serotonin are considered by some as a factor that leads to apnea problems.
Avoid alcoholic beverages or medications that cause drowsiness as these substances cause muscle and tissue relaxation that exacerbates the problem. Smoking increases blood pressure and heart rate while interfering with lung function, which decreases available oxygen. Apnea sufferers who smoke increase the likelihood of suffering irreparable cardiovascular damage. Quitting remains the best solution.