Millions of people around the world are affected with a common sleep disorder known as sleep apnea. This condition can affect bothadults as well as children. During sleep, someone with sleep apnea experiences pauses in their breathing – or apnea – from 10 seconds to minutes in length. Sleep apnea can occur as many as 5 to 30 times an hour, often ending with a gasping breath to intake air. The apnea sufferer could also have periods of shallow or irregular breathing, called hypopnea, and interspersed with deeper and longer breaths. Common symptoms of sleep apnea include snoring, waking up thirsty, dry throat, daytime drowsiness, awakening with headaches and excessive daytime fatigue. Most individuals with sleep apnea are not aware of the difficulty they are having breathing, even after they are awakened. Sleep apnea symptoms may be present for years without diagnosis while the sufferer becomes acclimated to their chronic sleepiness and fatigue during the daytime hours. Untreated, sleep apnea has been found to be a key factor in obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, strokes and heart attacks.
Snoring and sleep apnea is very often a neglected disorder that is difficult to diagnose. Most often apnea is diagnosed by a sleeping partner or with an overnight sleep test called a polysomnogram at a clinical sleep center. It is a treatable and in some cases curable with changes in lifestyle and simple home care remedies including nasal airway expanders or the use of a “continuous-positive-airway-pressure”(CPAP) device.
Some of the safest and most effective natural remedies for sleep apnea disorder are listed below. These are easy to follow and relatively inexpensive. However, if the symptoms persist, make an appointment with your primary care physician or a well-respected sleep apnea specialist for more assistance.
- Avoid Sedatives: Taking sedatives triggers the symptoms of sleep apnea so patients are advised to avoid consuming alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, sleeping pills or other sedatives that relax the throat muscles and collapse their airways at night.
- Saline Nasal Spray: This is a widely popular and an effective treatment option for sleep apnea that is not physiologically addictive. Using saline nasal spray before sleeping helps to keep nasal passages open, allowing easier breathing.
- Neti Pot: This ancient remedy uses warmed saline water that passes through your nostrils and your sinuses to flush contaminants. Over-the-counter neti pots and prepackaged saline salts make this an easy home remedy to self-administer.
- Sleep On Your Side: If you suspect you are suffering from sleep apnea or others alert you to your snoring, try sleeping on your side rather than on your back, to keep your airways open.
- Lose Weight: Excess weight often aggravates the symptoms of sleep apnea and snoring because of extra tissue located in the back of the throat. Shedding extra pounds and maintaining a more normal weight, will help you control episodes of apnea.
- Herbs: Holistic healers believe that herbs such as passionflower and valerian may reduce the frequency of snoring and sleep apnea episodes. However, there is no scientific evidence supporting the use of these herbs for sleep disorders treatment.
- Stop Smoking: Smoking contributes to the prevalence of sleep apnea by increasing inflammation and fluid retention in the throat and upper airways.
- :Exercise Everyday Exercising for about 30 minutes every day helps to ease the symptoms of sleep apnea by providing regular exercise for your entire body.