If you have recently received a sleep apnea diagnosis, you join the approximately 42 million Americans living with sleep-disordered breathing. Fortunately, this diagnosis likely has you on the road to better, more productive sleep. With advice from your doctor, as well as these at-home care tips, you can increase your potential for a healthy nightly snooze.
- Know your CPAP supplies.
If your doctor recommends that you use Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, or CPAP, machine, it is important to use this type of home medical equipment correctly. WebMD recommends diligent nightly use in order to maximize the machine’s therapeutic potential. Otherwise, the symptoms of your sleep apnea could return immediately.
- Stop smoking.Nicotine relaxes airway-opening muscles, which according to WebMD, could collapse at night and tighten airways. By putting down cigarettes for good, these muscles will return to a healthy tension and keep your airways open while you sleep.
- Sleep on your stomach or side. Sleeping on your back causes the tongue and soft pallet in the back of your mouth to move toward the throat, blocking your airway, according to Mayo Clinic. Flipping over can keep your air flow moving efficiently.
- Be diligent about colds and allergies. When you already struggle to breathe at night, adding in a stuffy nose, blocked sinuses, and a congested throat is only going to make it more difficult. Take allergy medication when needed, and use nasal sprays, cold medicines, or other preferred treatment methods when a cold sneaks up on you.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Discuss with you doctor whether weight is a factor in your sleep apnea – they will be able to losing weight is necessary for your health. Often times, according to Mayo Clinic, sleep apnea goes into remission when a patient reaches a healthy weight, as the weight loss reduces constriction of the throat.
With a prevalence likened to that of diabetes and asthma, sleep apnea is a widespread, yet manageable, medical condition. While home medical equipment such as a CPAP machine is useful in controlling sleep apnea, and readily available at medical supply stores, these basic self care strategies can maximize sleep management to help create a healthier life.