Sleep Disorders and Insomnia
Given the right conditions, there are two stages of sleep that are particularly susceptible to the onset of unsteady breathing. These conditions are sometimes present during the initial stages of sleep, when you’re just dropping off, but it can occur a number of times during the night if sleep is poor. They can also occur during REM sleep, when dreaming is most likely to occur.
Major respiratory instability can develop if an individual has extremely unstable sleeping habits. Unsound sleeping patterns cause unsteady breathing. The best cure, therefore, is to normalize your sleeping habits by getting a minimum of seven and a half hours rest every night. In many cases, that’s all you need.
The idea is growing that many of the incidents of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) are as a result of our culture here in the Western world. The danger of major OSA increases with the issues explained below, which are all problems now widespread in our culture. Correction of OSA usually requires that these issues be eradicated. Removal of these factors sometimes resolves the problem fully. Here are three examples of how you can change your lifestyle to get better sleep.
1. Reduce Your Weight
Perhaps the principal reason for the rise in OSA is too much weight, caused by an inactive way of life, too much junk food, or by medical circumstances, for example thyroid problems. Snoring tends to get louder as sufferers get larger, according to the observations of a number of bed partners. With the increase in weight, the partners report hearing more pauses in snoring followed by snorts, and then a recommencement of breathing. On the other hand, getting down to the recommended weight has resulted in a reduction in snoring for many patients.
2. Quit Smoking
Smoking has many unwanted consequences. Of interest to OSA sufferers are the blockages to the airway caused by cigarette smoking: the nasal mucous membrane becomes inflamed, the throat tissue swells up, and the capillaries in the lungs are obstructed. You can therefore add sleep apnea to the catalog of reasons to discontinue this nasty habit.
3. Be Mindful of the Drugs You Take
Pay attention to the drugs you take prior to going to bed. Muscle relaxants, antihistamines and tranquilizers will relax throat muscles and impede airflow. Conversely, you should take care of illnesses that hamper your breathing. Consuming alcohol before bed is not a good idea for the same reasons and will cause a poor night’s sleep independent of apnea problems. Don’t drink alcohol for four hours before sleep.
4. Change Your Sleep Habits
This can help to decrease or end the snoring. Sleep on your side rather than your back, for instance, as this will prevent obstruction of your throat as a result of gravity. You can also put a big pillow or stitch some tennis balls into a sock and sew the sock into the rear of your pajamas or nightgown to prevent you from rolling onto your back.