Sleep deprivation, that’s getting less than seven hours of sleep, often follows a sleep apnea diagnosis. The accompanying sleep deprivation can have long-term effects on your health like weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Once you’ve received a diagnosis, there’s a lot you can do to improve the quality of your sleep.
Sleep apnea is a breathing-related sleep disorder that’s broken into two broad categories. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is caused by an actual obstruction of the airway from excess or lose tissue in the airways. OSA is far more common than the second type, central sleep apnea.
Central sleep apnea stems from a problem in the brain’s control of the breathing muscles.
- Conditions that affect the spinal column or conditions like a stroke and severe obesity can contribute to central sleep apnea.
- This type of sleep apnea is also more likely if you’re taking certain narcotic pain relievers so be sure to consult with your physician about any medications you may be taking.
The most common treatment for sleep apnea is a positive airway pressure machine or CPAP machine. These devices use air pressure to prevent tissue from collapsing the airway. There are several types of CPAP machines available and your physician can recommend the right type for you.
- If you don’t want to wear a face mask to bed, there are other ways to treat the symptoms of sleep apnea, though are none are quite as effective as a CPAP machine.
- Anti-snoring mouthguards, nose pieces, and therapeutic pillows abound on the market, and they do help some people. Don’t be too concerned if it takes some trial and error to find one that works for you.
While treating sleep apnea, you’ll also need to focus on building a foundation of healthy sleep habits so you’re giving your body the best chance possible of getting the rest it needs.
Your brain will adjust your sleep cycle to fit your habits and daily schedule, which gives you control over your sleep. Here are a few ways you can help yourself get a full seven to nine hours every day.
Love Your Bedtime (and Stick to It): An established bedtime makes sure that you get a full night’s rest. Sleep has to be more important than catching one more episode of your favourite TV show or any other late-night distractions. Turn Off the Screens: In the age of technology, everyone has a screen nearby. Unfortunately, some electronic devices, including televisions and smartphones, can emit a bright blue light that dampens sleep hormones. Try turning your devices off two to three hours before bed and moving them out of the bedroom so you’re not tempted to check a late-night notification. Create a Personalized Nighttime Routine: The human body loves a good routine because it runs on regular 24-hour cycles. A nighttime routine can trigger the brain to release sleep hormones. You can include anything that helps you feel calm and relaxed. A few of our favourites are meditation, yoga, a warm bath, but just about anything will work as long as it brings down your heart rate and blood pressure.
Sleep apnea is a condition that can’t be ignored but with the right interventions, you can get all the shut-eye you need. As you work towards treating it and developing healthy sleep habits, you’ll be set to have the energy you need to live an active life.