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  • Sleep Apnea: How to treat it

    Sleep Apnea: How to treat it

    Sleep apnea is a common condition that occurs when the upper airway becomes blocked repeatedly during sleep, reducing or completely stopping airflow. This is known as obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep apnea treatments range from lifestyle changes, such as losing weight or changing sleep positions, to CPAP therapy, to surgery. Untreated or poorly treated sleep apnea leaves you tired all the time and increases your risk for having high blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmias, and stroke. The most common and effective conventional treatment for obstructive sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), which provides a steady stream of air through a mask that is worn during sleep. This airflow keeps the airway open to prevent pauses in breathing and restore normal oxygen levels. However, this device can get uncomfortable for most people so here are some other ways to treat it. 

    1. Healthy Diet and Exercise

    Natural remedies for sleep apnea symptoms center on healthy foods, exercise, and weight loss. Most individuals who suffer from sleep apnea are overweight.  Studies show individuals with sleep apnea who have obesity may no longer require CPAP when they lose weight, and may even experience a total cure of their sleep apnea and fatigue. Exercising four times a week by doing something moderately aerobic for about 30-40 minutes, followed by some weight training two days a week, has been shown to significantly improve sleep apnea and the feeling of being tired all the time, even if you do not lose weight. Choosing healthier foods and getting enough sleep not only helps lose weight but also helps treats sleep apnea as well. 

           2. Antioxidant Supplements

    Aside from diet and exercise, natural remedies for sleep apnea include supplements that have antioxidants. Sleep apnea is associated with oxidative stress, the excessive build-up of free radicals. It is also associated with decreased antioxidant capacity and decreased blood levels of various antioxidants, such as vitamin E and carotenoids. The excessive oxidative stress associated with sleep apnea then leads to what is known as “endothelial dysfunction,” in which the blood vessels do not properly relax and contract which causes atherosclerosis, heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes. The three best antioxidants are vitamins C and E, and the amino acid n-acetyl-cysteine (NAC). Taking an antioxidant formula containing these compounds along with mixed carotenoids may be beneficial to treating sleep apnea.

           3.  DHA

    Another supplement that may be helpful for those with sleep apnea symptoms is an omega-3, such as fish oil especially one which has been formulated to by highly concentrated in the omega-3 fatty acid DHA. Low DHA levels, are related to more severe sleep apnea. Omega-3 fats are one of the top natural remedies for sleep apnea because they protect cells against stress; sleep apnea causes long-term oxidative stress and puts severe strains on the body which is thought to deplete the omega-three levels. Taking an omega-3 fish oil with concentrated levels of DHA not only will improve sleep apnea symptoms but will also improve your cardiovascular health.