Do you have trouble sleeping? Do you feel fatigued throughout the day? Does your partner complain that you snore? If so, you may suffer from sleep apnea, a commondisorder that can adversely affect your health if not properly treated. Sleep apnea cutsoff the ability to breathe sleep, putting a person at risk for serious medical conditionsincluding diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. Fortunately, the mostcommon form of sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), can be treated withcontinuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy.In addition to CPAP treatment prescribed by your doctor, certain lifestyle changes canalleviate your sleep apnea:
: This will open your airways and minimize throat irritation.
: Excess fat in the neck area restricts the airway. Losing weightmay be the single most important lifestyle change you can make, both for your overall health and for the treatment of sleep apnea. Losing weight can be extradifficult with sleep apnea, because fatigue hinders your ability to exercise. Talkto your doctor to create a safe, ideal diet and exercise weight loss plan.
Avoid Alcohol and Sedatives
: Alcohol and sedatives relax the muscles in thethroat, worsening sleep apnea. Avoid drinking for at least four hours beforegoing to sleep. Be sure your doctor knows that you have sleep apnea beforeprescribing any sedatives.
Sleep on Your Side/Stomach
: Many patients find that sleeping on their backtriggers sleep apnea. Sleeping on your side or your stomach may improve your ability to breathe. Along with these lifestyle changes, your doctor will likely recommend a CPAP machineand mask to wear during sleep. The CPAP machine will counter the negative effects of sleep apnea by sending positive airflow pressure through a CPAP mask to keep the air passages open during sleep. Although the pathway to successful sleep therapytreatment can be frustrating at times, CPAP treatment can dramatically improve your quality of everyday life.