Healthy Sleep Tips For Patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea
1. Weight Reduction
Reducing your weight is likely to make a difference to your condition. Certainly, increasing weight will make your snoring and sleep related breathing irregularities worse. It is important that you try to reach an ideal body weight and maintain the weight loss. Reducing your weight will also decrease the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Remember to be more physically active as well as eating less.
2. Alcohol Intake
Alcohol is a potent sedative that can induce irregular breathing apneas in healthy people. Alcohol will not only increase the number of apneas but also will make them longer and cause the oxygen level in the blood to become reduced. It is very important that alcohol be avoided within four to six hours of bedtime.
3. Other Sedative Medications
Sedative medications include sleeping pills, antihistamines, anti-allergy pills, some cold medicines, some anti epilepsy drugs, and some medications used for psychiatric conditions. As with alcohol, sedative medications are likely to worsen your breathing irregularities. Consult your physician before taking sedative medication. Definitely do not use any sedative medication with alcohol, as the effects will potentate several times.
4. Sleep Deprivation
Try to maintain a regular sleep pattern with a full 8 hours of sleeping time. Any loss of sleep will increase your sleep drive the next night and your breathing irregularities are likely to become more severe.
5. Sleep Position
Sleeping on your back is likely to increase the amount of breathing irregularities as your tongue tends to obstruct the back of your throat resulting in a decrease in the size of the upper airway. Controlling your position during sleep is not easy. You may like to try placing a tennis ball in a sock pinned to the back of your pajama jacket to prevent you from rolling onto your back. A marble sewn into a pocket on the back of your pajama may also work.
6. Bed Position
Elevate the head of your bed 4 to 6 inches to take some of the pressure off your diaphragm. This will ease breathing during sleep. You can put bricks or wood blocks under the legs of the head of your bed so it will be on a slight incline.
7. Colds and Allergies
Any infection affecting your nasal passages or throat will cause swelling and tend to worsen breathing irregularities. Treat nasal allergies or infections promptly and keep in close communication with your physician.
Large meals should be avoided at least two hours before bedtime. A large meal will increase the pressure on the diaphragm and worsen your breathing. It may also predispose you to regurgitation of stomach contents during sleep, which will provoke irritation of the upper airway. Eat your large meals at least three to four hours before bedtime.
Nicotine and other substances contained in cigarettes when inhaled will provoke irritation of the upper airway and worsen your breathing irregularities. Try to stop smoking altogether.