Overall health

Sleep Apnea, causes and treatment

Snoring is a disorder that people mostly make fun of and see as a thing to joke about. However, if you are experiencing day-time fatigue along with snoring, you may be suffering from sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is condition in which breathing is interrupted many times during sleep. You may be having hundreds of these intervals without even noticing. All these pauses in breathing wake you mildly and interrupt the natural sleeping rhythm. People suffering from sleep apnea mostly experience fatigue and mind fog because of the interrupted sleep.

Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type of sleep apnea. It is caused by the soft tissue relaxing and obstructing the air canals during sleep. This causes, in turn, a loud snoring.

Sleep apnea may be a condition hard to detect as it occurs during sleep.  In this case, you can ask your bed partner to watch over you in sleep. Pausing in the middle of snoring followed by choking and gasping for air is a major warning sign of sleep apnea.

Not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. The difference between normal snoring and snoring as a symptom of sleep apnea can be seen during day time. Normal snoring doesn’t have a negative effect as much as sleep apnea does. Daytime sleepiness and fatigue are the most significant signs of sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea can be seen in anyone although some people are more prone to this condition. Overweight people, men, people over 50 and people who have a neck circumference over 15.75 inches (40 cm) carry a higher risk.

You can get rid of sleep apnea by making the following lifestyle changes.

1.Lose weight

Overweight people have more extra tissue located inside the throat area. This soft tissue stretches down over the air canals and blocks them. Even a small amount of weight loss can improve your breathing during sleep and relieve the symptoms of sleep apnea.

2. Do not use certain substances

Avoid alcohol, tobacco products and sleeping pills especially before going to bed. Smoking increases fluid retention in throat while alcohol and sleeping pills relax the soft tissue which blocks the air canals during sleep. Likewise, coffee and heavy meals should not be consumed before bedtime.

3. Exercise regularly

Similar to the effects of losing weight, regular exercise can also have a positive effect on your sleep duration and quality. Light exercise, walking and resistance training decrease the symptoms of sleep apnea. Besides these exercises, doing yoga can be really helpful as it strengthens the throat muscles and regulates breathing.

4. Sleep on your side

When you sleep on your back, air canals are more prone to be blocked by the tongue and the soft tissue in throat. For this reason, some people experience sleep apnea only when they sleep on their backs.

5. Keep your nasal passages open

Nasal dilators, breathing strips, saline sprays and neti pots are perfect tools for keeping your nasal passages open.


  • Push your tongue flat to the floor of your mouth. Make a habit of keeping your tongue at this position whenever you brush your upper teeth.

  • Press your finger to your cheek. Try to smile in this position stretching your cheek muscles. Then relax. Repeat the exercise 10 times for each cheek.

  • Open your mouth as wide as possible. Extend your tongue downwards as if you are trying to touch your chin. Wait for 5 seconds and relax. Repeat 10 times.

  • Roll your tongue backwards while your mouth is closed. Let the tip of your tongue slide under the palate and push it backwards. Slowly open your mouth in this position. Stop opening your mouth when you reach the point that you can no longer touch the palate with your tongue. Repeat the exercise 2 times for 5 minutes.

  • Purse your lips as if you are about to kiss. Move your lips to left and right 10 times. Then relax. Repeat 3 times.

  • Hold your tongue between your teeth. Swallow 5 times. Repeat the exercise 5 times a day.


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