What To Do If You Have Sleep Apnea?
Occasional snoring is not a problem but if you or your partner snores daily with breathing interruptions you may want to consult your doctor as you may be suffering from sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder where your breathing is briefly and repeatedly interrupted during sleep. There are two types of sleep apnea - obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea happens when the muscles in the back of the throat fail to keep the airway open, while central sleep apnea is caused by the brain failing to properly control breathing during sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea is far more common. It is estimated that 3 in 10 middle-aged Singaporean males have obstructive sleep apnea
What should you do if you have sleep apnea?
Consult Your Doctor
The first thing to check if you have sleep apnea is to see your doctor. Record your patterns of sleep including fatigue levels throughout the day including other symptoms you may be experiencing. To help you with your record, seek your bed partner’s help in asking if he or she notices you choke, gasp, snore heavily or stop breathing during sleep. Bring along any medications you are already taking to see your doctor.
Sleep study is the most common method to diagnose sleep apnea and it requires an overnight stay at a sleep centre. The study monitors a variety of functions while you sleep such as heart rate, eye movement, muscle activity, airflow to blood oxygen levels. This test is done to measure the severity of sleep apnea, and to diagnose the condition. A continuous airway pressure device (CPAP) is commonly used to treat sleep apnea in Singapore. It is a mask that fits over the nose and/or mouth which gently blows air into the airway to help keep it open during sleep. This is a highly effective treatment. Other treatments could include surgery, based on your doctor’s recommendation.
Making Lifestyle Changes
There are lifestyle changes you can make to help you mitigate the symptoms of sleep apnea. If you are overweight, you can change your diet and do up an exercise plan to help you lose weight. Weight loss itself can cure sleep apnea in an overweight person while CPAP only treats the symptoms.
Also, you could avoid alcohol as it causes frequent awakenings at night and makes the upper airway breathing muscles relax. Smoking can cause swelling or worsen swelling in the upper airway worsening the condition. Due to decreased levels of oxygen in your blood due to sleep apnea, you can explore doing yoga as it improves your oxygen levels through its various breathing exercises. Last but not least you can also check with your healthcare professional about your sleep posture to help you alleviate the symptoms.
Studies show that sleeping with your lower extremities elevated offers better relaxation as well as a number of health benefits. The adjustable electric bed is an ideal solution to help achieve the required altitude to cope with sleep apnea. Lying flat can cause the airways to collapse, which is a condition of obstructive sleep apnea, which is the most common subtype of the disease.
Like snoring, sleep apnea is a breathing problem that can be decreased by simply using the adjustable bed frame to raise the head. Sleeping in a more angled position improves airflow, reducing obstructions from the nasal passages to allow for a healthier, uninterrupted sleep, caused by apnea. Oxygen (restricted when lying down) will be able to flow more freely, and lifting the head can naturally reduce sinus pressure.