What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a defect which is characterized by pauses in breathing or slow breathing in the period one is asleep, The condition causes interruptions in ones sleep due to the fact that during the period which the breathing is paused or is taking place at a slow level, the deep sleep is interrupted and a person shifts to light sleep. The interruptions last for periods which range from ten minutes to thirty minutes. The diagnosis of sleep apnea is complex and in most cases the disease goes unnoticed.

Similarly most patients do not realize they suffer from sleep apnea because it occurs during sleep. In most cases it is the patient’s partner that comes to discover it first especially because when the breathing pauses, the pause are normally broken by an abrupt snort or choking sound. Sleep apnea is responsible for most day time sleepiness. The obstructive sleep apnea is the most common and its occurrence signifies the collapse or blocked airway during the sleep. This blockage often leads to pause in breathing or the shallow breathing. Obstructive apnea commonly affect the overweight people but can affect anyone including the children especially when in the event that a child suffers from over enlarged tonsils.

The central Sleep apnea is another type of sleep apnea which is less common. It occurs when the part of the brain that sends the signal to the breathing muscles does not send the correct signal and therefore leads to a condition in which the breathing muscles do not react at all. Though it can affect practically anyone it occurs in people with certain medical problems or in those who take certain drugs. In some cases it occurs simultaneously with the obstructive apnea but can also take place in isolation

In the event that the sleep apnea goes untreated for long, it may lead to acutely dangerous medical conditions such as high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, obesity or heart failure. It could similarly lead to diabetes or work related accident due to the perpetual lethargy that comes with having interrupted sleep.

What Are The Causes Of Sleep Apnea?

Anybody can suffer from sleep apnea be it an adult a child, a male or female. There are however some predisposing factor that may make one person suffer from the condition and not another.

  • Overweight,
  • Male,
  • Hereditary factors,
  • The age of above 65,
  • A smoker,
  • Thick neck,
  • A deviated septum,
  • Enlargement of the tonsils,
  • A receding chin.

All the above are the causes of obstructive apnea. On the other hand the central sleep apnea is common among males and those over the age of 65.  It is normally a sign of serious underlying illness such as a heart condition, neurological disease or stroke.

What Are The Symptoms Of Sleep Apnea?

The symptoms of sleep apnea are many and include

  • Disrupted sleep which eventually leads to less concentration and fatigue during the day
  • Frequent siestas, tendency to get angry, insomnia and poor memory
  • Loud chronic snoring
  • Breathing pauses which are considerably long
  • The patient chokes or gasps during sleep
  • A dry mouth and sore throat on waking up
  • Experiencing headaches in the morning
  • Feeling out of breath on waking up
  • Frequent visits to the bathroom in the night
  • Restlessness during the sleep
  • In the children the sign and symptoms of sleep apnea may include strange sleeping postures, excessive sweating and may wet the bed.. the children with this condition may exhibit a change in their daytime behavior in which case they may be hyperactive or show inattention, they may also have developmental and growth complications, exhibit [poor performance in the class , be hostile and breathe through he mouth in most cases.

Home Remedies For Sleep Apnea

Remember, you should always consult with your physician in order to get a proper diagnosis and before trying to incorporate these home remedies and herbal remedies yourself!  Here are some of the home remedies that you can try.

  •  CPAP- CPAP which is the short for continuous positive airway pressure is the most effective method of combating sleep apnea. It entails wearing a mask which is connected to a machine which ensures continuous flow of air through the nostrils. This air with a certain pressure keeps the airways open and as a result breathing is not impaired.
  • Try This- The other home remedy entails behavior change or modification such as losing some weight, stopping the use of alcohol and sleeping pills, quitting smoking always avoiding sleeping on the back.
  • Dental Devices- Dental devices made by the dentist for the specific purpose of treating sleep apnea can be very useful in fighting sleep apnea. These are devices that serve to keep the airways open for the continuous free flow of air into the lungs.
  • Avoid Caffeine- It is also advisable not to take caffeine or heavy meals within a period of two hours before going to bed.
  • Use a Pillow- Use a pillow to support your head or raise the bed four to six inches to ensure postures that will allow free breathing.
  • Vervain- Vervain is a flower that has proved to be a good remedy for Sleep Apnea. The organic vervain herbs are is dried and made into a beverage similar to tea. In most of the cases, it is combined with tea leaves and taken as vervain flavored tea. This herb has a calming and relaxing effect that induces sleep and fights off Sleep Apnea with time.
  •  Chamomile- In Sleep Apnea that is caused by irritants blocking and constricting the sinuses, chamomile can be a good remedy. Chamomile will make the irritated sinuses smooth. In addition has been known to induce sleepiness for many years. It is therefore a great relief for Sleep Apnea. In addition, Chamomile has a nice and pleasant taste that can be used to replace the night time alcohol.
  •  John’s Wort- St. John’s Wort is a yellow-flowered weedy herb that is one of the effective herbal remedy for sleeping disorders. It herbs relieve chronic insomnia and also mild depression. You can use it in different forms, you will get as a powdered extract, as a tablet or capsules or you can consume a teaspoon two to three times a day.
  • Peppermint- Peppermint is used in aromatherapy for curing Sleep Apnea. Aromatherapy uses essential oils for reducing sinusoid inflammation. One of these oils is peppermint. In place of peppermint, eucalyptus extract can be used. These oils soothe irritated throat and eventually control Sleep Apnea.
  • Lavender- You can also get Lavender which is a gentle strengthening tonic effective for the nervous system. You just need to add a few drops of the lavender oil in a bath water and get rid of your sleeping problems.
  • Valerian Herb- You can also use valerian herb to cure insomnia, restlessness and nervousness. This is an effective herb as it shortens sleep latency and also reduces night walking. You can also combine it with other herbs like skullcap, hops and California poppy and alleviate sleeping disorders without any complications.

There are also throat exercises that are designed to keep the airways strong and not susceptible to collapse during sleep. These exercises are as follows;

  • Brush the Top and Sides of the Mouth- Hold the tongue to the flow of the mouth then brush the top and sides of the mouth cavity with a tooth brush five times on three occasions during the day
  • Try This- Press the tongue to the roof of the mouth and hold it in that position for three minutes and repeat this three times a day
  • Try This- Put a finger into a side of the mouth and hold it against the cheek while pulling the cheek muscle in. Repeat the same ten times, take a break and do the same to the other side at least five times in day.
  • Try This- Purse the lips tightly in the way you do in a kissing mode then, moved the pursed lips up and then right, down and then left, ten times and then the sequence should be redone five times.
  • Try This- The next and the last exercise is through the use of a balloon which should be placed on the mouth then deep breaths taken through the nose and used to inflate the balloon in five air intake without the mouth being removed from the balloon. This should be done five times.

Diet For Sleep Apnea

  • The low energy food is recommended for the patients suffering from he sleep apnea due to the fact that the condition is mostly common among those with overweight problems. This low energy foods help in controlling the weight of the patients and hence have the effect of reducing sleep apnea.
  • The sleep apnea patients are advised to take light meals before sleep. There are the foods which trigger sleep such as the carbohydrates like the whole grain bread, potatoes, pasta with tomato sauce, barley, lentils, cereals etc. fruit salad with the bananas or mangoes can also be very effective. Spaghetti taken with tomatoes sauces is a good combination for proper sleep.

Prevention Of Sleep Apnea

  • Minimizing or stopping the use of alcohol and sleeping pills before going to bed as this will relax the muscles in the throat and consequently lower the breathing
  • Eat wisely and go for regular exercise to maintain the weight at the healthy basal metabolic index
  • Always avoid sleeping on your back and this can be aided by sewing a pocket containing a tennis ball in the middle of the buttocks of the pajamas. this will ensure that you sleep on your side and consequently the constriction of the airways is eliminated
  • Smoking is a habit that should be stopped forthwith due to the fact that it contributed to the thickening of the airways and this is one of the causes of apnea. Equally the nicotine in the smoke relaxes the throat muscles which eventually collapse during sleep.
  • It is advisable to raise your bed to four inches approximately ten centimeters at the side of the head as this will ensure that the head is in a position that discourages sleep apnea. Ke4eping the body in this posture can also be aided by the cervical pillow which works in the same way
  • Make use of decongestants while at the same time ensuring that problems of breathing such as having a stuffy nose is quickly addressed as these problems worsen the apnea episodes. Antihistamines and sedatives should be avoided due to their relaxing effect which makes the muscles supporting the airways to collapse.
  • It is equally important to seek immediate medical care in the event that you suspect that you have the condition. This will give the doctors the chance to monitor your sleep c6ycle and assess whether you experience sleep apnea. In the event that you have the condition then immediate medical attention will be given. It is equally possible that the imminence of the condition can be realized and preventive measures put in place to guarantee you safety from the disease and its effects.