Struggling With Sleep Apnea? Lifestyle Changes That Can Ease Your Symptoms

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When you're diagnosed with sleep apnea, the most common treatment option is the use of a CPAP device to keep your airways open. If you aren't quite ready to commit to wearing a face mask every night, you should talk with your doctor about any other alternatives that may be available to you. In cases of mild sleep apnea, there may be some lifestyle changes you can make to ease your symptoms. Here are a few tips to help you manage mild sleep apnea symptoms at home.

Weight Loss

Sometimes, being overweight can intensify symptoms of sleep apnea. The more weight your body carries, the greater your risk of obstructions in your throat when you're sleeping, because the obstructions can be caused by excess body fat.

Even minimal weight loss can help to ease sleep apnea symptoms for some patients. Talk with your doctor about a weight-loss regimen that you can follow to see if your sleep apnea is eased by shedding a few pounds. Some patients see symptoms disappear entirely by returning to their recommended body weight.

Regular Exercise

Getting as little as half an hour of sustained, moderate exercise every day can help you sleep easier. Not only does this help you to lose weight, but it improves blood circulation and muscle tone. Regular exercise may help your body to sleep easier with less airway obstruction.

Sleep Position

Sleeping on your back is likely to aggravate your sleep apnea symptoms. When you sleep on your back, your tongue and soft palate can rest against your throat, blocking air flow. Sleeping on your side or on your stomach can help ease this. If you're a persistent back-sleeper, consider putting an obstruction in your pajama top around your lower back to discourage you from rolling over.

Nasal Passages

Nasal congestion can be another contributing factor to sleep apnea symptoms. Keeping your nasal passages clear will help improve your breathing. Use a saline spray in your nose to keep your nasal passages clear and protect them from drying out. Your doctor may even recommend that you use a nasal decongestant or an antihistamine during times when your nasal passages are particularly problematic.

Alcohol and Medication

Alcohol and certain tranquilizers can cause the muscles in the back of your throat to relax. This interferes with your ability to breathe. Skip the glass of wine in the evenings, and talk with your doctor about tranquilizers before taking them.

With the tips presented here, you can help to ease sleep apnea symptoms without the investment in elaborate equipment. If you try all of these methods to ease your symptoms and you're still not getting a good night's sleep, talk with your doctor like one from Central Illinois Allergy & Respiratory Services Ltd about a sleep study and possible airway mask. You may find that a CPAP is the best way to help you breathe easier at night.