Sleep apnea is a condition that affects millions of Australian adults, and the prevalence of the disorder has been rapidly growing over the last few decades. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices are often used to address the condition and they have been proven to improve symptoms substantially. However, research has shown that many people who use a CPAP device don’t stick with it long-term – either because it’s uncomfortable or it doesn’t help them. If you are one of them, you’ll be happy to know that there are other interesting sleep apnea remedies that you can use to improve your condition. How to cure sleep apnea home remedies, you may ask? Here are some suggestions.
You’ve probably heard that essential oils help relieve stress, boost energy, improve skin conditions, etc. But one interesting benefit of these essential goodies is that they can also be used as sleep apnea remedies. And since there are so many types, what essential oil is good for sleep apnea?
- Lavender – keeping in mind that lavender enhances relaxation, it is one of the best essential oils to use to prevent the long-term complications that can result from sleep apnea. It can help relax your body and ease the tension that can aggravate constricted air-pathways;
- Peppermint – a lot of sleep apnea cases are a direct result of nasal congestion and inflamed airways. Peppermint essential oil is known to help clear up inflammation that can worsen the symptoms that can result in nasal blockages;
- Eucalyptus – this oil is specifically meant to enhance one’s ability to breath. Aside from featuring anti-inflammatory properties (which make it good for clearing up inflammatory issues that can contribute to nasal blockages), it also helps with both purulent and non-purulent respiratory problems. This makes eucalyptus one of the most effective essential oils for sleep apnea.
This is a type of alternative medicine that shows promises in the management of sleep apnea. Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medicine practise that’s practised in both Eastern and Western cultures as a way of relieving pain and nausea. Acupuncture assists individuals with sleep apnea by stimulating the muscles and tissues of the airways, so they are stronger and less likely to collapse during sleep (which causes the apnea). It focuses on strengthening the tongue muscles to prevent them from subsiding and blocking the airways during sleep. A ten-week program in a Brazilian study has reported that patients had their tongues strengthened by 3 to 4 times and their apnea-related symptoms were reduced by half.
This therapy is a behavioural strategy to treat positional sleep apnea. Some people experience sleep apnea mainly when sleeping on their back. Doctors called this the ‘supine’ position. The breathing of these people returns to normal when they sleep on their side. With positional therapy, the patient wears a special device around their waist or back. The device keeps the individual sleeping in the side position. Scientists who have tested the long-term efficiency of this therapy found that positional therapy can be an effective form of treatment. They tested patients who refused using or could not tolerate continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP).
Engage in a Weight Management Program
A lot of people have improved and even eliminated their sleep apnea symptoms by simply losing weight. It’s common for overweight people to have thick necks with extra tissue in the throat which may block their airway. This type of alternative treatment is recommended for people who are overweight and are physically able to engage in a weight management program. Although there is no guarantee that losing weight will eliminate a person’s sleep apnea, it can definitely help. Patients with a narrow nasal passage or airway are unlikely to notice a great difference.
Change Some of Your Everyday Habits
There is a number of lifestyle changes that you can make to help reduce your snoring and improve your sleep apnea symptoms. Behavioural changes such as quitting smoking or not drinking alcohol may improve your sleep apnea symptoms. Alcohol helps relax the muscles in the throat, which can cause you to snore or your airway to collapse. If you suffer from allergies, you can take a decongestant before going to bed to improve airflow through your nose.
If you have difficulties sticking to your treatment plan or cannot sleep well even with treatment, you should consider Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. A behavioural sleep specialist will help you eliminate the thoughts and behaviours that may be preventing you from getting restful sleep or complying with your treatment.