Lifestyle changes you can make to reduce the likelihood or severity of sleep apnea
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that affects about 9% of Australians. It occurs when the airway is blocked or partially blocked during sleep, leading to interruptions in breathing and disruptions to the sleep cycle. While medical treatments like continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines are often necessary to manage severe cases of sleep apnea, lifestyle changes can also play an important role in reducing the likelihood or severity of this disorder. In this blog post, we will explore some lifestyle changes that you can make to help manage sleep apnea and improve your overall sleep health.
Being overweight or obese increases your risk for sleep apnea significantly, and weight loss is one of the most effective treatments for the condition. If you’re overweight and struggling to lose it, consider talking to a doctor about dietary changes and exercise plans that can help you reach a healthy weight.
Drinking alcohol close to bedtime can worsen sleep apnea symptoms by relaxing throat muscles and creating more obstruction in the airways during sleep. Try avoiding alcohol at least four hours before bedtime, as well as cigarettes and other stimulants that could worsen your symptoms.
Change Your Sleeping Position
Sleeping on your back can increase your risk of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea due to gravity. When you lie flat on your back, the tongue and soft palate in the back of your throat can collapse into the airway and block airflow during the night. Try sleeping on your side instead with pillows propping up both shoulders so that you’re slightly elevated above the horizontal rather than completely flat on either side.
Incorporating regular physical activity into your daily routine can improve sleep apnea symptoms. Physical activity stimulates the respiratory system, which can help reduce snoring and other symptoms of sleep apnea. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise five days per week or a combination of aerobic and resistance training three times per
Note: This information pack is not a replacement for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 000 immediately.