If you suspect or know that you have sleep apnea, you aren’t alone. As many as 22 million Americans struggle with sleep apnea. To make matters more frustrating, 80 percent of moderate to severe cases are undiagnosed.
The first thing you should do if you think you’re suffering from sleep apnea is consult a reputable doctor like Samuel Fink, MD. When patients visit us here at the office of Dr. Fink, we give them a few tips for alleviating the symptoms at home.
Maintain a healthy weight
When you are overweight, especially in your upper body, it can narrow your nasal passages, increasing your risk of having blocked airways. When your airways are blocked, it can cause you to stop breathing suddenly and for lengths of time while you are sleeping.
Even a modest weight reduction can eliminate your need for surgery or long term CPAP therapy. For some people, getting to a healthy weight can eliminate their sleep apnea completely.
Just keep in mind that if you gain the weight back, your sleep apnea will also come back.
Change your sleep position
Simply changing your sleep position can alleviate your sleep apnea as well. Sleeping on your back, called the supine position, can worsen your symptoms. Your airways are more likely to get blocked, and your snoring will increase.
Try sleeping on your side instead. This will open up your airways and help you get a better night’s sleep.
During your appointment with Dr. Fink, you can discuss your sleep position. If he decides to conduct a sleep study, Dr. Fink and his team will evaluate whether or not this is an effective solution to your sleep apnea.
Use a humidifier
Your respiratory system is already going through enough at night with your sleep apnea. Don’t let the situation get worse by sleeping in a dry environment. Adding some humidity to the air can decrease congestion, encourage clear breathing, and open up your airways.
Stop drinking and smoking
Consider quitting both of these activities to help you sleep better. Alcohol relaxes the muscles that control your breathing. So drinking before bed will increase your snoring and could interrupt your sleep cycle.
Smoking inflames your airways, which causes swelling. Those blocked airways will worsen your sleep apnea symptoms.
Get help sleeping better
If you find yourself struggling to stay awake during the day or feeling like you never get a good night’s sleep, make an appointment with Dr. Fink to find out if you have sleep apnea. He can help you assess your symptoms and create a treatment plan.
You may find that by making some simple lifestyle changes, you significantly improve your ability to get a good night’s sleep.