Sleep apnea is a serious sleeping disorder. It has been estimated that at least 18 million people in the United States suffer from it. Many people use CPAP machines or BIPAP machines to help them deal with the problem.
The first thing you need to do is learn what sleep apnea is. People who suffer from sleep apnea, stop breathing for periods of time, called “apneas” throughout the night. These apneas can last for up to one minute and can take place many times during the night. This time that they spend not breathing is time they spend not getting enough oxygen to their brains. This causes a host of health problems including an increased risk for stroke, worsening heart disease and even a great chance of developing diabetes. It is hard to overstate the health problems can can be caused by this problem.
If you are concerned that you have sleep apnea, or have been told you do suffer from it, there are some things you can do to help with the problem:
- Get your weight down. One of the best lifestyle things you can do for your health is lose weight. Not only does it do a lot for you in general but being overweight is one of the main contributing factors when it comes to sleep apnea. Sleep experts recommend people lose at least 10% of their body weight and say this can help alleviate sleep apnea symptoms by about 30%. Gaining weight will have the opposite effect and should be avoided, if at all possible.
- Stay away from booze. Many people think that if they drink, they will have a better sleep. Not only does alcohol have a detrimental impact on your sleep in general, it can worsen sleep apnea symptoms. If you take medications for certain problems such as insomnia, anxiety or pain, they may also have an adverse impact on your sleep apnea. The good news, for insomniacs, is using sleep apnea machines such as CPAP machines or BIPAP machines may make your sleep so much better than you no longer need the sleep medications.
- Pay attention to how you feel throughout the day. There are some real reasons people are tried or drowsy during the day but many people do not know they suffer from sleep apnea. If you notice that you are more drowsy during the work day than usual, you may want to talk to tour doctor about it. Being too sleepy during the day can cause serious accidents when driving. Talk to your doctor about how you feel, do not just grab another cup of coffee and forget your problem.
- Try to avoid sleeping on your back. If you snore or you have been told that you suffer from sleep apnea, the worst position for you to sleep in is on your back. This makes gravity work against you and will only worsen your snoring and your sleep apnea problems. if you can switch to sleeping on your side or stomach you will breathe a lot better. Your family will also sleep a lot better when you start be sleep quiter.
- Get tested for sleep apnea. The way sleep experts can make this diagnosis is to go into their office or a sleep center and have a sleep study done. You will be monitored while you sleep to see if you spend anytime during the night not breathing. The experts will wire you up and pay attention to your oxygen levels and other factors while you sleep.
Sleep is very important for human health. There are a lot of reasons people neglect themselves and fail to get then seven to nine hours of sleep each night as recommended by the National Sleep Foundation. Sleep apnea may not impact how much time you spend in bed but it will lessen the quality of the sleep you get when you are there. Using the CPAP machine or the BIPAP machines as recommended is one thing you can do to lessen the problems associated with sleep apnea, making these lifestyle changes is another. Make sure you understand how to use your CPAP machine or BIPAP machine before you take it home.