Sleep Apnea : How To Breathe Better At Night
: You must consult your doctor for your health. This page presents only a personal and alternative point of view which should not be considered as an attempt to prescribe medicine.
Sleep apnea is a syndrome that is characterized by involuntary stops in breathing during sleep.
These respiratory stops can occur several times and can last from 10 to 30 seconds.
These sleep disorders can subsequently have serious consequences on the health of the affected person.
Fortunately, with a few tips, you can easily breathe better at night!
Breathe Your Way To A Better Nights Sleep
Medically Reviewed byDr Ronald Krueger MD F.A.A.C.S.
BREATHING IS A NATURAL PART OF LIFE BUT BREATHING CORRECTLY THROUGH THE NOSE MAY HOLD THE KEY TO SLEEPING WELL.
Most of us have little awareness of how we breathe when were awake, let alone when were sleeping.
During sleep, we have no conscious control over the way we breathe. But if we are not breathing properly, it can result in snoring, a restless nights sleep or it might even be a sign of a sleep disorder.
So, it is important to be aware of how we breathe and learn a little about the fundamentals of good breathing so that we can take steps to enhance both our sleep and wellbeing.
Start by asking yourself, Do I breathe through my nose or my mouth?
Remember, the nose is for breathing and the mouth is for eating. So, if your answer is through the nose, then youre on your way to breathing correctly. But if you suspect youre breathing through your mouth, it may have to do with your nose being obstructed by congestion due to allergies or a structural issue like a deviated septum, or that you simply have narrow airways that make it difficult to breathe comfortably through your nose whether awake or asleep.
The fact is improper breathing may be robbing us of quality ZZZs. So, read on and find out why breathing through the nose is the right way to breathe during sleep and when awake.
The nose was designed for breathing, not the mouth
Are you breathing properly? How to find out!
Train yourself to breathe well
Best Positions To Reduce Shortness Of Breath
People living with chronic lung diseases often experience shortness of breath. Most people feel that shortness of breath is one of the most concerning symptoms of chronic lung diseases. Chronic lung diseases make it difficult for people to breathe normally, so people often have trouble maintaining adequate blood oxygen levels.
The respiratory system brings oxygen into the body and delivers it to the body. The soft, spongy lungs dont have any muscles within them, so they need surrounding muscles and bones to help them work. During shortness of breath, it can feel as though you arent able to breathe normally. Were here to help with the information you need about breathlessness and the best positions to reduce shortness of breath.
Sleep Apnea Snoring And Chronic Morning Breath
If youre wondering why do we get bad breath when we sleep, we have answers for you. Waking up with bad breath happens to everybody once in a while, but if you experience it every morning, sleep-disordered breathing may be the cause. Normally, you should breathe through your nose at night, but if you are having difficulty breathing you may be breathing through your mouth, instead. Breathing through your mouth dries up your mouth and allows bacteria to flourish.
The obstruction in your airway thats forcing you to breathe through your mouth may be causing snoring, too, and if its really serious, you may experience sleep apnea, in which your breathing actually stops at night. Watch out for other symptoms of sleep apnea, such as morning headaches, sleepiness during the day, lack of energy, and depression.
Heres What Happened When I Tried Breathing Exercises To Sleep Better
Ive tried breathing exercises beforespecifically, ones where you focus on the act of breathing itselfbut they dont seem to occupy my mind enough, so the effects are minimal. It was recently recommended that I try Dr. Andrew Weils 4-7-8 breathing technique instead, where you inhale for a count of four, hold your breath for seven, exhale for eight, and repeat the sequence three times. That way, my mind is focused on counting reps instead of its usual mental debauchery, giving my nervous system the opportunity to simmer down.
Like establishing any new habit, the first week was more about getting into the practice, and less about the results. Often, people dont practice breathing exercises and then try to use them when theyre feeling anxious or have trouble sleeping, says Chait. When that happens, they dont find them useful.
Practicing breathing exercises daily is the best way to ensure they work, since you need to put in the time to get really good at it. During week one, I didnt get to sleep any faster following the breathing exercises, but my body did feel way less stormy. This allowed me to cut back on the exorbitant amount of time I usually need to unwind before bedand made for a small step in the right direction.
Diaphragm Breathing Exercise In A Chair
Once youre comfortable with both of these positions, you can try incorporating diaphragmatic breathing into your daily activities. Practice this breathing when you:
Breathe Properly At Night And Learn To Sleep Better
Every time you see a depiction of someone sleeping on TV or in the movies, youll see the person sleeping on his or her back, and oftentimes, snoring.
The lay public, doctors, and even alternative and complementary practitioners naturally assume that youre able to breathe properly at night. This couldnt be further from the truth.
Evolutionary biologists and comparative anatomists have stated that speech and language development was ultimately detrimental to humans. The voice box, by descending underneath the tongue, unprotected the airway. The human upper airway serves three functions: breathing, speech, and swallowing. Overdevelopment of speech can be detrimental to breathing and swallowing.
There are clearly significant benefits to complex speech and language development, but the downside is that humans have so many breathing and swallowing problems that most other animals dont have. In fact, only humans regularly choke and die.
We compensated for this situation until about a century ago when we began to eat more processed, soft foods. Dr. Weston Price, in his nutritional classic, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, described significant dental crowding and narrowed jaws when indigenous cultures moved away from eating naturally off the land, mountains or oceans, to highly processed foods and refined sugars. This phenomenon occurred across all cultures in all continents.
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Learn To Channel Your Relaxation
Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Breathing exercises can be helpful to reduce stress and anxiety and help you to relax at bedtime. The following seven breathing exercises can all be done easily on your own to help encourage your body and mind to relax and make sleep easier.
How To Sleep Better & Snore Less: 6 Handy Tips
Do you know that poor sleep quality can lead to poor health and increased risk of early dementia? We now know how important good sleep is to keep us in great physical health, prevent us from falling ill and maintain good mental fitness. As top ENT specialists in Singapore, many patients with poor sleep, snoring and breathing problems come to see us to find a solution for their sleep problems, which have often been going on for much longer.
At our ENT clinics in Singapore, patients with sleep problems tend to fall into 3 main groups:
1) Those who have poor quality sleep due to difficulty breathing and often snore when asleep: We worry about underlying Obstructive Sleep Apnea
2) Those who have difficulty falling asleep
3) Those who fall asleep but then wake up in the early hours and cant go back to sleep
In the second group, who have trouble actually falling asleep, stress is often the main trigger. Some people work late into the night eg market traders who have to stay awake for the international stock markets to open. Others may work night shifts and some may just find it difficult to stop thinking about the next days work deadlines and schedule. A small number of people, no matter what they do, remain unable to fall asleep without the aid of medication.
Here are Dr Annabelles 5 Handy Tips to Sleep better and Snore Less:
Start Small But Be Consistent
Start practicing mindfulness breathing only for a few minutes a day until it becomes a habit. The key is to find a schedule that works for you without it feeling like a chore no matter how long or short it is and to be consistent. Consistency is more important than time. Even with a one or two-minute mindfulness breathing practice every day, you can begin to enjoy the benefits.
Tips To Breathe Better Through Your Nose
Most people take breathing through their nose for granted. But for many chronic mouth breathers, breathing through the nose is a struggle, if not impossible. Not only is their quality of life diminished, but theyll also have a variety of other health-related conditions such as dry mouth, snoring, fatigue, and poor sleep. In my last article I addressed 5 reasons why its important to breathe through your nose. In this article, Ill talk about 7 ways that you can breathe better through your nose naturally.
Before I discuss the various ways to breathe better, a short anatomy course in in order. The nasal septum is a thin piece of cartilage and bone that splits your nasal cavity right down the middle. No one has a perfectly straight septum; everyones septum is slightly curved. Sometimes, nasal trauma can shift or move the septum away from its midline position. The nasal turbinates are wing-like structures that line the sidewalls of your nose. Its covered with a mucous membrane, and normally it helps to smooth, warm and humidify air. The turbinates and sinuses also produce about 2 pints of mucous every day. The turbinates swell and shrink, alternating from side to side every few hours. This is called the nasal cycle.
#1. Flimsy nostrils?
#2. Nasal saline irrigation
#3. Empty your stomach
#4. Avoid alcohol
#5. Control allergies
#6. Exercise regularly
#7. Slow down
I discuss more ways how you can breathe better in my free report below: How to Unstuff Your Stuffy Nose.
Sleep Less And Better Naturally
The Table below for breathing parameters and shorter sleep is based on the clinical experience of about two hundred Russian doctors teaching the Buteyko breathing method, as well as yoga data. Lowest sleep duration is about 2 hours naturally. Some of these medical doctors actually had 2 hours of sleep. These MDs have taught thousands of people to increase their body-oxygen levels by breathing slower and less 24/7, during sleep too. This also naturally prevents any signs of being tired.
In this video, Dr. Artour Rakhimov explains the origins of this Table: how breathing relates to the duration and quality of sleep: Breathing and sleep duration
My practical observations with hundreds of my students agree with these general observations: slower breathing and higher body-oxygen levels naturally reduce duration of sleep and improve its quality, while improving daily performance and function.
Getting Used To Your Cpap Device
Ease into it. Start by using your CPAP device for short periods. Try wearing it for a half hour or an hour while sitting up in bed watching TV or reading a book. Once youve gotten used to that, try using it lying down or when napping.
Use the ramp setting. Most devices can be programmed to start slowly and gradually increase air pressure. The goal is to be asleep before the machine reaches your prescribed pressure setting. Most people find this makes falling asleep much easier and more comfortable.
Reset the machine if air flow wakes you. If a high-pressure stream of air wakes you up, turn the CPAP device on and off to restart the ramp setting.
General Tips To Improve Sleep
Its a good idea to go offline in the evenings. A couple of hours before you go to bed, turn off your wi-fi and electronic devices. If you still want to practise your yoga/meditation or Yoga Nidra with one of our amazing teachers, use our app where you can download the classes you want to do and practise them offline. Thats already a step in the right direction.
Whatever you decide to do, keep it calm, slow and mindful. Less is more when you approach bedtime. I like to move around a bit before going to bed, stretching out my body for 5 minutes or so, in combination with mindful breathing . This helps to release the big muscle groups and activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the bodys rest and digest response. When in bed Im either asleep before I know it, or I do a breathing exercise to help me fall asleep more quickly.
Reduce Irregular Or Long Daytime Naps
While short power naps are beneficial, long or irregular napping during the day can negatively affect your sleep.
Sleeping in the daytime can confuse your internal clock, meaning that you may struggle to sleep at night .
In fact, in one study, participants ended up being sleepier during the day after taking daytime naps .
Another study noted that while napping for 30 minutes or less can enhance daytime brain function, longer naps can harm health and sleep quality .
However, some studies demonstrate that those who are used to taking regular daytime naps dont experience poor sleep quality or disrupted sleep at night.
If you take regular daytime naps and sleep well, you shouldnt worry. The effects of napping depend on the individual .
Long daytime naps may impair sleep quality. If you have trouble sleeping at night, stop napping or shorten your naps.
Your bodys circadian rhythm functions on a set loop, aligning itself with sunrise and sunset.
Being consistent with your sleep and waking times can aid long-term sleep quality .
One study noted that participants who had irregular sleeping patterns and went to bed late on the weekends reported poor sleep .
Other studies have highlighted that irregular sleep patterns can alter your circadian rhythm and levels of melatonin, which signal your brain to sleep .
If you struggle with sleep, try to get in the habit of waking up and going to bed at similar times. After several weeks, you may not even need an alarm.
Upper Airway Surgery For Sleep Apnea
If you have exhausted other sleep apnea treatment options, surgery to increase the size of your airway may be a possibility.
The surgeon may remove tonsils, adenoids, or excess tissue at the back of the throat or inside the nose, reconstruct the jaw to enlarge the upper airway, or implant plastic rods into the soft palate. Surgery carries risks of complications and infections, and in some rare cases, symptoms can become worse after surgery.
Make Breathing Through Your Nose Easier
It may sound obvious, but one easy and quick thing you can do is to make breathing through your nose an easier experience. This can be accomplished in a few ways. First, the reason for the nasal congestion must be discovered.
Whether its anatomical or allergy induced, a visit to the doctor is needed. If you know that you suffer from allergies, or if you suspect it you should remove allergens from your sleep area.
It goes without mention that regular dusting and cleaning is important, but for allergy sufferers, the threshold is a bit higher.
Regular dusting and/or vacuuming every 2-3 days and changing the linens frequently can help to reduce the allergy and thus reduce the need to breathe through the mouth while sleeping.
Better Sleep Equals Better Health
Once your breathing stops interfering with your sleep, youre likely to discover you are more mentally alert in the daytime, feel less sleepy, and have less tendency to overeat . All these reasons add up to a powerful argument in favor of learning whether youre a mouth-breather in bed, or a nose breather, and working to make sure your breathing habits are geared to helping you get the sleep you need to stay mentally alert and physically healthy.
Why Mouth Breathing Isnt Great For You
If you breathe primarily through your mouth, you wont get the benefits of nose breathing listed above. Youre also more likely to develop dry mouth, which can cause a few different problems to develop.
For one, thing, dry mouth can lead to gingivitis, Dr. Dasgupta notes. The Mayo Clinic lists dry mouth as one factor that can increase your risk for gingivitis, which is a mild form of gum disease that causes redness, irritation and swelling in the gums. Left untreated, gingivitis can lead to more severe gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss.
If you have dry mouth, it really predisposes you to bad breathhalitosisand no one wants to have bad breath, he adds.
So, if youre trying to train yourself out of mouth breathing, mouth taping seems to be one of the more efficient and really super cheap ways to try to circumvent that and see if it helps, says Dr. Rabinovich.
But Dr. Dasgupta is skeptical. It probably wont hurt you, he says, but it might not help you, either.
He suggests a few other options that you could pursue if youre breathing through your mouth:
- Allergy treatments. Allergies are often the culprit behind nasal congestion, so if you can clear those up, you might be able to breathe through your nose better.
- Nasal strips. Nasal strips can also open up your nasal passages and improve the flow of airand possibly reduce snoring
- Stop smoking. Smoking can irritate your nasal passages and lead to a runny or congested nose, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Positions To Reduce Shortness Of Breath
These positions are helpful when you have shortness of breath during activity, emotional excitement, exposure to adverse weather conditions or when you feel tense and need to relax.
Why Cant I Sleep Even Though Im Tired
A few reasons you may not be able to sleep despite being tired include overactive thoughts, being stressed or anxious, ingesting caffeine late in the day, or exercising in the evening.
In order to get good sleep at night, practice better sleep hygiene. Try and drinking caffeine in the morning. If youre stressed or anxious before bed, write down your thoughts to settle your brain before trying to sleep. Also, avoid working, doing homework, or watching TV in bed. Using your bed strictly for sleep can help your brain associate it with rest and bedtime.
Sitting Positions To Reduce Shortness Of Breath:
Typically, shortness of breath happens during activity, emotional experiences, bad or changing weather conditions or when you feel tense or stressed. Try these sitting positions to reduce shortness of breath:
Sitting Position A:
- Sit in a chair or in a comfortable position
- Keep your feet flat on the floor
- Lean your chest forward a little
- Rest your elbows on your knees
- Place your chin in your hands
- Relax your neck and shoulders as much as you can
- Practice your breathing techniques
- If a pillow is easily available, place it on a table
- Sit in a chair at the table
- Keep your feet flat on the floor
- Lean your chest forward some
- Place your arms on the table
- Relax your head on your forearms or rest your head on the pillow
- Use your breathing techniques
How To Fall Asleep In One Minute
Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
- Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four seconds.
- Hold your breath for a count of seven seconds.
- Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight seconds.
This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.
The 4-7-8 method has been endorsed by yoga and meditation teachers.
In 2016, Dr Weil said: This exercise is a natural tranquiliser for the nervous system.
Unlike tranquilising drugs, which are often effective when you first take them but then lose their power over time, this exercise is subtle when you first try it but gains in power with repetition and practice.
Do it at least twice a day. You cannot do it too frequently.
Dr Weil says that not only is it a tool for getting some much-needed sleep, people can benefit from it in times of upset, tension or stress.
Once you develop this technique by practicing it every day, it will be a very useful tool that you will always have with you, he said.
This exercise cannot be recommended too highly. Everyone can benefit from it.
The breathing exercise even beats a recently re-discovered military approved technique that helped people get to sleep in just two minutes.
Sleep is vital to sustaining energy, balancing emotions, work and fitness performance, as well as your overall health.
What Are The Signs Of Weak Lungs
Some signs of weak lungs include trouble breathing, shortness of breath, discomfort breathing, or feeling as though you cannot take a complete breath. Additionally, you may be unable to exercise for prolonged periods.
Breathing exercises can strengthen your lungs, but be sure to contact your doctor if you have any of the above-mentioned symptoms.
Lose That Extra Weight
Most of the people who have trouble with their breathing during their sleep are overweight. The consequences of increased body weight are widely known, so there is no need to go into all of that here.
However, the extra fat and weight around the neck can press on the airways during the night, and make it harder for air breathed in through the nose to reach the lungs. Being overweight is associated with snoring and sleep apnea, among other things.
Talk to your doctor about healthy ways to lose weight and enjoy all of the benefits associated with a healthier lifestyle, including better breathing at night.
Impaired Sleep Will Affect Your Weight
Not only is sleep vital in giving the body time to repair, recover and heal, but its also crucial for maintaining a healthy weight. Sleep is as important as breathing, diet and exercise in order to lose weight and/or maintain an optimal weight.
When we are tired due to poor sleep, we eat more in a desperate attempt to get more energy. If fatigued, we rarely make the smartest choices when it comes to food. Often, we will have sweets, soft drinks, cookies, ice cream, coffee and energy drinks to get a quick energy boost.
Sugar provides the quickest fix as it is rapidly absorbed in our mouth, thanks to the protein, amylase, in our saliva. Since our brain only uses sugar as fuel , it will gain access to energy quickly.
Historically, this has been a huge evolutionary advantage that has led to the development of our fantastic brain. But todays artificially made food, which contains too much sugar, leads to weight problems, as the excess sugar is converted into fat and stored in unpleasant places like our middle or our bum.