Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts.
Traditional treatments for sleep apnea include wearing a CPAP mask at night. Though effective, some people find this method uncomfortable. Some home remedies may offer the same benefits. Here are 5 alternative treatments to reduce sleep apnea symptoms.
At-home Lifestyle Remedies
Maintain A Healthy Weight
Doctors commonly recommend people with sleep apnea to lose weight. Maintaining a healthy weight can keep your airways clear and reduce sleep apnea symptoms. Research(1) shows that modest weight reduction in people with obesity can eliminate the need for upper airway surgery or long-term CPAP therapy.
Regular exercise can increase your energy level, strengthen your heart, and improve sleep apnea. Yoga can specifically improve your respiratory strength and encourage oxygen flow.
Sleep apnea is associated with decreased oxygen saturation in your blood. Yoga can improve your oxygen levels through its various breathing exercises. As a result, yoga reduces the amount of sleep interruptions you may experience.
Alter Your Sleep Position
Though a small change, altering sleep position can reduce sleep apnea symptoms and improve night’s rest. A 2006 study(2) found that more than half of obstructive sleep apnea cases are dependent on position.
Studies(3) have shown sleeping on the back — called the supine position — can worsen symptoms. For some adults, sleeping on the side can help breathing return to normal.
However, a 2002 study(4) found that children with sleep apnea sleep better on their backs.
Discuss body positioning and your sleep apnea symptoms with your doctor to evaluate your options for treatment.
Use A Humidifier
Dry air can irritate the body and the respiratory system. Using a humidifier can open your airways, decrease congestion, and encourage clearer breathing.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on cleaning your humidifier. They can harbor molds and bacteria.
Avoid Alcohol And Smoking
Lifestyle changes can improve your health and encourage better sleeping habits. Consider quitting smoking and limiting your alcohol intake to reduce sleep apnea complications.
Alcohol relaxes the throat muscles that control your breathing. This can lead to snoring and an interrupted sleep cycle. It can also lead to inflammation in your airways, blocking your airflow.
Similar to alcohol, tobacco use can also contribute to inflammation and swelling in your airways. This can worsen your snoring and your sleep apnea.
A 2012 study(5) identified smoking as a risk factor for developing sleep apnea. The study noted that people with sleep apnea may have a predisposition to smoking as well, so treating sleep apnea may help in quitting smoking.
Pulse oximetry is one of the parameters used for diagnosis of sleep apnea, but it can also be a tool to monitor ongoing treatment and remedies(6). We can wear an overnight pulse oximeter at home to evaluate the remedies. When sleep apnea happens, the blood oxygen drops. Then the pulse oximetry reading(SpO2) lowers.
There are several items to look at when viewing the pulse oximeter report. The easiest to understand is:
Recording Time: How long the unit recorded for during the night
SpO2 Summary, which is an estimate of the amount of oxygen in the blood
Drops Per hour: How many time the SpO2 drops per hour.
Wellue Overnight Pulse Oximeter
Also called continuous oxygen monitor.
Tracking overnight blood oxygen (SpO2) fluctuation during sleep can help evaluate severity&improvement of sleep apnea.
Also want to get alerted when blood oxygen drops? Turn on the vibrating or audible alarming function.
Unique ring-shaped design for comfortable sleep.
What’s the outlook?
Some home remedies and lifestyle changes for sleep apnea can reduce symptoms. However, traditional treatments shouldn’t be ignored. Prescribed medications and sometimes surgery are part of the necessary approaches to treat this condition.
Discuss your options with your doctor before pursuing alternative treatment. If your symptoms begin to worsen, seek immediate medical attention.