Sleep apnea wreaks havoc on your body by interrupting your breathing patterns at night. If you have sleep apnea, you likely already know the main symptoms: daytime fatigue, low energy, and difficulty concentrating. You may not realize, however, that sleep apnea is linked to many severe health problems, including hypertension, kidney disease, and diabetes. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce sleep apnea symptoms, breathe better, and sleep better at night.
1. Shed Excess Pounds
Being overweight increases your risk of suffering from sleep apnea. Therefore, shedding extra pounds is a great way to reduce sleep apnea symptoms. In fact, if your sleep apnea is caused solely due to weight issues, then you may find the symptoms go away entirely after losing a few extra pounds.
Losing weight is particularly important when you have sleep apnea due to the fact that sleep apnea increases your odds of suffering from cardiovascular diseases. If you have sleep apnea, see your doctor regularly to make sure your blood pressure is within a normal range. If your blood pressure is slightly high, losing weight is a smart way to bring the numbers back within a normal, healthy range.
2. Cut Back on Drinking
If you sip on a nightcap (alcoholic beverage) to help you relax and fall asleep at night, you may want to end the habit. Alcohol disrupts the quality of sleep, and it relaxes your muscles, which can lead to shallow breathing. Additionally, when consumed in excess quantities, alcohol is capable of causing fluid retention in the lungs. This is not something you want happening when you suffer from sleep apnea.
3. Cut Back on Smoking
Cigarette smokers are more likely to develop sleep apnea than non-smokers. Consequently, stopping smoking—or at least cutting back—is a good idea when you suffer from sleep apnea. Similar to alcohol, cigarettes can cause fluid retention in the lungs. Cigarettes also cause inflammation in the airways, so consider trying nicotine gum or patches instead of cigarettes.
4. Eat More Garlic
Garlic reduces inflammation, which can help with breathing issues. So to decrease inflammation in your airways, mix a few cloves a day in with your meals, and see if your breathing improves at night. If you don't like the taste of garlic, take an odorless garlic supplement instead.
Follow the above tips to reduce your sleep apnea symptoms. And be sure to speak with an expert regularly to monitor your sleep apnea and ensure you get the best sleep apnea treatment possible.