Using The Cpap Machine
Wearing a mask while sleeping takes some getting used to, and some people find therapy to be unpleasant and restrictive. It can sometimes lead to a blocked nose or a dry throat. In those cases, the air pressure can be adjusted. A humidifier can be attached to more modern CPAP machines.
Modern machines are quiet and hardly disturb your sleep. But some people still find wearing a mask at night so uncomfortable that they stop the therapy altogether. Others put on the mask for only a few hours a night and then hardly benefit from the treatment. Doctors recommend using CPAP machines for at least five hours per night.
therapy is the most effective treatment for sleep . So it may be worth finding ways to make it easier to use the machine. Studies show that some people tend to use it for longer at night and continue therapy if they always have someone to talk to about any problems they encounter during the therapy. They could talk to their doctor, caregivers or other people who have sleep apnea. It is especially important to be able to ask questions during the first few weeks of using the CPAP machine. Psychological support may also be a good idea.
If you are having practical problems dealing with the machine or if you just cant get used to therapy, its a good idea to seek professional advice. It may be worth trying out a different type of mask. If your airways are too dry, using a humidifier might help.
Avoid Smoking And Drinking Alcohol Excessively
To help reduce sleep apnea related symptoms, avoid excessive alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking.
Alcohol relaxes the muscles in your throat, and for sleep apnea sufferers, relaxing your throat muscles is even more disruptive to your regular breathing pattern. That disruption in turn leads to snoring and an interruptedsleep cycle.
Smoking tobacco causes swelling and inflammation of the airway. This will worsen sleep apnea, and contributes to snoring.
In fact, a study conducted in 2012 identified smoking as a major risk factor for developing sleep apnea. Interestingly, the study also noted that those who suffer from sleep apnea also have a predisposition to smoking. In other words, if you treat your sleep apnea, you may find it easier to quit smoking.
Do You Have Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea disrupts your life.
It lowers immune function and triggers mental health concerns.
The sleep disorder leads to memory loss and increases your risk of heart disease.
Learn how to stop sleep apnea through natural lifestyle changes.
Not only will you sleep more soundly, but your entire body will feel healthier.
Does a condition like sleep apnea impact your health insurance?
Contact our team to learn more about sleep disorders and their effect on life insurance.
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Be Wary Of Insurance Pitfalls
Health insurers will typically cover some or most of the costs of one of these procedures if your doctor deems it necessary. But not surprisingly, dealing with insurance can be a minefield. Medicare, the government insurance program, requires patients to use their CPAP machines for a minimum of four hours at a time for at least 70 percent of the nights in each of the first three months after they receive them. People who dont abide by the rule can lose their machine. And its not only people on Medicare: Many private insurers have adopted the same criteria. As ProPublica and NPR recently reported, the machines can track exactly how often patients use them and send that data to insurers, who in turn can deny coverage. I cant tell you how often patients have their equipment taken away from them, said Dr. Kryger. The monitoring of the equipment is being used to deny patients therapy.
Yoga And Throat Exercises Help Reduce Snoring
If youve never picked up a yoga mat, or made it a habit of singing in the shower you may after you read this.
If you have sleep apnea, your throat muscles relax and the soft tissues of the mouth and throat block the passage of air while you sleep. This may be a partial blockage or a complete blockage. To help reduce the symptoms associated with these blockages, throat exercises have been shown as one possible method to reduce the severity of sleep apnea symptoms.
There are several different types of throat exercises identified and shown to work which involve yelling or singing. In fact, one study found that daily singing exercises reduced the severity of snoring.
Yogas benefits are twofold. Yoga helps strengthen the throat with breathing exercises and the body with actual exercise. Although yoga doesnt always burn as many calories as an aerobic exercise routine, it helps build strength, endurance and provides the health benefits of exercise, including potential weight loss which as we know, helps reduce the severity of sleep apnea.
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Causes Of Sleep Apnea
To treat sleep apnea, or to get rid of it for good, youll need to get down to the root cause. Some causes of sleep apnea include:
- Weight Being overweight or obese is a common cause. The extra tissue in the upper airway and around the neck can obstruct your airway, keeping you from breathing during sleep.
- Sleep Position Some people only have periods of apnea while sleeping on their backs .
- Anatomy Sometimes your anatomy can be the cause of your sleep apnea. This could be from large tonsils that narrow the upper airway or a deviated septum, for example.
- Alcohol Alcohol can relax muscles and tissues that can block the airway.
- Smoking Smoking can cause inflammation in the airway, contributing to sleep apnea.
- Medication Certain medications may also play a role in causing sleep apnea.
Other Positive Airway Pressure Breathing Devices
In addition to CPAP, there are other devices that a sleep specialist may recommend for sleep apnea treatment.
Expiratory positive airway pressure single-use devices fit over the nostrils to help keep the airway open and are smaller, less intrusive than CPAP machines. These may benefit people with mild-to-moderate obstructive sleep apnea.
Bilevel positive airway pressure devices can be used for those who are unable to adapt to using CPAP, or for central sleep apnea sufferers who need assistance for a weak breathing pattern. This device automatically adjusts the pressure while youre sleeping, providing more pressure when you inhale, less when you exhale. Some BiPAP devices also automatically deliver a breath if the mask detects that you havent taken one for a certain number of seconds.
Adaptive servo-ventilation devices can be used for treating central sleep apnea as well as obstructive sleep apnea. The ASV device stores information about your normal breathing pattern and automatically uses airflow pressure to prevent pauses in your breathing while youre asleep.
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Lifestyle Treatments For Sleep Apnea
For mild cases of sleep apnea, lifestyle changes may be enough to treat the issue. Your doctor will let you know if thats the right starting point. But even if you are prescribed a medical treatment, the following changes can help reduce your sleep apnea episodes and improve your sleep.
Lose weight. If you are overweight, losing weight can have an enormous impact. While it is usually not a total cure, it can reduce the number of breathing episodes you experience, reduce your blood pressure, and decrease daytime sleepiness. Even a small amount of weight loss can open up your throat and improve sleep apnea symptoms.
Exercise. Even when exercise does not lead to weight loss, it can decrease your sleep apnea breathing episodes and improve your alertness and energy during the day. Aerobic exercise, resistance training, and yoga are all good choices for strengthening the muscles in your airways and improving breathing.
Sleep on your side. Lying on your back is the worst position for sleep apnea, as it causes the jaw, tongue, and other soft tissues to drop back toward the throat, narrowing your airway. Sleeping on your stomach isnt much better, since lying face down or twisting your head to the side both obstruct breathing. Lying on your side, on the other hand, helps keep your airway open. If you find side sleeping uncomfortable or you tend to roll on to your back after youre asleep, countered side pillows or body pillows may help.
How Is Central Sleep Apnea Diagnosed
Your doctor will order a sleep study test called a polysomnography to diagnose central sleep apnea. The test occurs overnight as you sleep in a special sleep center. During a polysomnography, youll wear electrodes on your head and body to measure your oxygen levels, brain activity, breathing pattern, heart rate, and lung function.
Your doctor, a neurologist, and sometimes a cardiologist will monitor you and review the results of your polysomnography. The results can help determine the underlying cause of your apnea.
A head or spinal MRI scan may also diagnose central sleep apnea. MRI uses radio waves to generate images of your organs. The test may reveal that structural abnormalities in your brainstem or spine are causing central sleep apnea.
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Soothe Your Throat With Raw Honey
Raw honey is used therapeutically, and has been for thousands of years, to soothe sore throats and reduce swelling and the severity of coughing fits.
While it isnt medicine, honey has well-established anti-inflammatory propertiesdue to its high level of phenolic compounds which can act as antioxidants. Sleep apnea patients also appreciate its throat soothing benefits.
Before bed, drink a mug of warm water or tea and add one teaspoon of raw honey. We recommend raw, unpasteurized honey because processed honey often has fewer nutrients and antioxidants as well as added sugar.
Use A Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Machine Properly
The most effective treatment available for sleep apnea is a mask worn at night called a CPAP that transmits increased air pressure into the airway to prevent the throat from collapsing. This air pressure goes into the back of the throat holding it open when your throat muscles have relaxed too much during sleep.
The key to CPAP treatment is finding a mask and machine that matches your needs, cleaning the CPAP components frequently and washing your face before putting it on at night. Talk to your health care provider or sleep specialist so they can tailor a CPAP unit for you based on your needs.
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How To Prevent Sleep Apnea: 7 Lifestyle Changes
Sleep apnea is a chronic sleep disorder that can wreak havoc on a persons daily life. If you have a loved one with sleep apnea, or if you think you might be at risk, here are seven lifestyle changes you can make right now to prevent sleep apnea. Note that if youre already diagnosed with sleep apnea, these preventative measures do not take the place of a doctors treatment.
It Impacts More Than You
But perhaps the most troubling consequence of the condition is that it can make you a danger to those around you. Uncontrolled sleep apnea makes you two and a half times more likely to be involved in car accidents, and it nearly doubles the rate of workplace accidents. In recent years a number of major train, bus and car crashes that resulted in multiple deaths and hundreds of injuries were blamed on untreated sleep apnea. In addition to being a public safety hazard, sleep apnea can make life miserable for your bedmate: Imagine sleeping next to someone who is constantly snoring and waking up throughout the night.
The spouses of people with severe sleep apnea are clinically sleep deprived, said Dr. Malhotra. Theyve got a jet engine next to them all night and theyre not sleeping properly.
Many people look at snoring as a joke or a minor nuisance. But for those who have to put up with it night after night, it is anything but. Experts say it is a common cause of marital friction and broken relationships. Many spouses have to sleep in separate bedrooms because of it. Studies show that at least half of people who have afflicted bed partners complain that their sleep is constantly disrupted. One study of women who live with heavy snorers found that they frequently experienced insomnia, morning headaches, daytime sleepiness and fatigue.
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Turn Down The Thermostat To Improve Overall Nighttime Sleep
The ideal temperature for sleep is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. This is just good advice for anyone, but researchers tested the effects of ambient temperature on people with sleep apnea and discovered surprising results.
As you may have suspected, people with sleep apnea reported better sleep when the room temperature was around 61 degrees Fahrenheit. They reported feeling more alert in the mornings. They also had better sleep efficiency, which is the amount of time spent actually asleep while in bed. When the room was warmer they experienced poorer sleep.What makes this study so interesting though is that untreated sleep apnea was also worse when the temperature was lower. Which means the cool room temperature provides better sleep despite worsening sleep apnea symptoms, and if youre treating your sleep apnea youll be able to sleep at ideal temperature without worrying about your symptoms getting worse.
Alternatively, the Chilisleep system is a great way to stay cool and comfortable at night, especially if your sleep partner prefers to sleep warm.
Use A Humidifier At Night
Dry air irritates your respiratory system. A humidifier adds moisture.
This helps patients sleep better by opening airways and lowering congestion.
Essential oils help people relax and sleep soundly through the night.
Add a few drops of essential oil to your humidifier before you hit the hay.
The best scents for sleeping are lavender, eucalyptus, and peppermint.
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What Are The Signs Of Sleep Apnea
There are two kinds of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea happens when air cant flow into or out of the nose or mouth, although youre trying to breathe. Central sleep apnea happens when the brain fails to send the right signals to your muscles to make you start breathing.
Sleep apnea may be noticed more by the bed partner than by the sleeper, says Jun. Your bed partner might notice that your breathing pauses, or they may complain of your loud snoring.
That said, snoring itselfthough annoyingisnt the same as sleep apnea. Snoring is just the vibration sound created by airway resistance. You can snore loudly and not have sleep apnea, and you may even have sleep apnea without much snoring.
People with sleep apnea might also suffer from unexplained fatigue and mood swings, because their breathing interruptions continually wake them and prevent them from settling into a deep, nourishing sleep.
The consequences can be significant, Jun says. We’re talking about car accidents in the daytime, lost productivity at work, mood swings, waking up feeling groggy and falling asleep in class.
Other sufferers might wake up with a dry mouth, since sleep apnea tends to make you breathe with an open mouth, drying out your saliva. Some awaken with a headache, which may be caused by low oxygen or high carbon dioxide levels during sleep.
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Different Types Of Sleep Apnea Exercises
In the same way that you must be committed to using your sleep apnea machine every night, you should also consider adding some of the following exercises, which have been proven to help with sleep apnea symptoms to your routine. Before starting any exercise regimen, consult with your doctor to plan the best course of action for you.
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How Cpap Machines Detect A Breathing Problem
The basic principle is that the machine pushes out air at a steady pressure. It can also send out short bursts of extra pressure. If your airway is partly blocked, the CPAP can measure how much the flow of air slows down.
In auto machines, when the machine senses that something is limiting the airflow, it turns up the pressure to better support your airway.
The measurements of CPAP machines used at home aren’t always accurate. If readings stay high without a good explanation, you may need a new sleep study.
Health Consequences Of Sleep Apnea
The chronic sleep deprivation caused by sleep apnea can result in daytime sleepiness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness, and an increased risk of accidents and errors in your daily activities.
Sleep apnea also has a mental impact. It can trigger moodiness and irritability and cause anxiety and depression. It also increases your risk of other serious health problems like high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, atrial fibrillation, and stroke.
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What Can Be Expected From Surgery
There are different types of surgery to permanently improve breathing in people who have sleep . Most procedures tighten or remove tissue in order to widen the airways.
- A special procedure known as uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, or UPPP, is used to tighten the uvula and remove soft tissue from the palate . These tissues narrow the airways in people who have sleep . The tonsils may also be removed or reduced in size during this procedure.
- In a technique known as radiofrequency ablation , a small probe is used to remove tissue from the palate, the nasal cavity or tonsils. This causes scars that pull at the tissue, tightening it.
- The palate tissue can also be tightened using a laser. This method is rarely used nowadays, though, not least because it’s so painful.
- In some people, the lower jaw is shifted backward so far that it impairs breathing. In this case the jaw can be moved forward surgically.
Whether a particular operation can help will mainly depend on what’s causing the constriction of the airways. But it’s still not clear how effective the various procedures are and who benefits most from them. There are only very few and very small-scale studies on this.
Each of the procedures has risks such as bleeding, pain, or trouble swallowing. The likelihood of side effects depends on the type of surgery. Before any surgical procedure, doctors are required to tell you about any side effects you might have.