Sleep apnea is a serious disorder which causes one to pause in breathing during sleep or take very shallow breaths. The pauses in breathing can last anywhere from moments to minutes. As a consequence, one may spend more time in light sleep and less time in deep restorative sleep which is essential to be energetic, mentally sharp and productive the next day.
Some of the causes of sleep apnea include:
• Being overweight
• Consuming alcohol, especially in the evening
• Medications such as sleeping pills and sedatives
• Nasal congestion and obstruction
Here are a few self-help tips to consider:
• People who are overweight have an extra tissue on the back of their throat which can fall down over the airway, thus blocking the flow of air into the lungs while they're asleep. Hence, it's important to lose weight. Even losing just 10% of your body weight can have an effect on sleep apnea symptoms. In many cases, losing weight can even cure this condition.
• Quit smoking as it contributes to sleep apnea by increasing inflammation and fluid retention in your throat and upper airway.
• Avoid consuming caffeine and heavy meals within two hours of going to bed.
• Maintain a healthy sleep schedule as it will help you relax and sleep better.
• Sleep on your side or abdomen rather than on your back because sleeping on your back can cause your tongue and soft palate to rest against the back of your throat and blocks the airway.