Natural Remedies to Alleviate Sleep Apnea
A good night’s sleep is important because it restores your mind, as well as your body.
Poor sleep has been linked to many health conditions. But it’s like a chicken and egg situation – poor sleep causes health issues, and at the same time, health issues can cause poor sleep. A very serious sleep condition, called sleep apnea, is so dangerous to your health that it can actually be fatal.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which your breathing is interrupted throughout the night. Approximately 12-18 million people in the U.S. suffer from sleep apnea. While sleep apnea is caused by the collapse of the soft tissue in your airway, there are some factors that contribute to the collapse:
- Weak muscles
- Being overweight
It’s important to realize that sleep apnea is only a SYMPTOM of something that is wrong with your health.
Many of the following micronutrient deficiencies are linked to poor heart health and high blood pressure, which in turn, can cause sleep apnea:
- Vitamin D
- Oleic Acid
- Vitamins A, B2, B6, C, E
I recommend that anyone with sleep apnea, high blood pressure or poor heart health get tested for a micronutrient deficiency.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
The nighttime symptoms that people with sleep apnea experience consist of:
- Pauses in breathing
- Restless sleep
- Night sweats
- Frequent urination
Now during the day, you’ll experience symptoms such as:
- Brain fog
- Extreme fatigue
The Health Risks Associated with Sleep Apnea
When most people experience a bad night’s sleep, the next day they may not feel 100%. But when you suffer from a restless night’s sleep consistently over time, the affects on your health can be serious. And with sleep apnea, your brain isn’t getting the full amount of oxygen it needs, so it can be very dangerous to your health.
Health risks include:
- High blood pressure
- Irregular heartbeat
- Heart disease
- Increased risk of stroke
- Weak immune system
- Driving or other accidents (due to fatigue)
Treating Sleep Apnea Naturally
If your doctor diagnoses you with sleep apnea, they are going to recommend a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine. And yes, a CPAP machine will help you breathe easy and you will get a great night’s sleep.
As a health coach, I concentrate on getting to the root cause of the health issue. Can sleep apnea be prevented? The answer is yes.
Here are ways that you can naturally prevent and treat sleep apnea:
Maintain a Healthy Weight
It’s a good idea to try to stay a healthy weight for many reasons, but when you are heavier (especially in the neck area), it can increase your risk for sleep disorders. If you are overweight, try to lose about 10% of your body weight, which can make a huge difference.
I also believe it’s important to focus on heart health, since many of the risks of sleep apnea are associated with the heart. An anti-inflammatory diet is essential for not only your heart, but for avoiding illnesses such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes. An anti-inflammatory diet eliminates inflammatory foods such as refined grains, sugar, fried foods, refined salt, sodas, and processed foods. You should also incorporate the following anti-inflammatory foods daily:
- Nuts like almonds and walnuts
- Fatty fish (omega-3s)
- Vegetable-based protein
- Fiber-rich foods
- Oils and foods that contain healthy fats (olives, olive oil, coconut oil)
Avoid Smoking & Alcohol
It’s important to remember that alcohol and sleep apnea are a bad combination. Actually, in general, alcohol causes an interrupted night’s sleep. But when it comes to sleep apnea, alcohol relaxes the muscles in your airway, making them easier to collapse. Bonus tip: the same goes with over-the-counter sleep aids.
As far as smoking goes, “smokers are three times more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea than people who’ve never smoked.”
Adding some moisture in the air can help open up your airways. Bonus points if you add eucalyptus essential oil to the humidifier to open up the airways.
Change Sleep Positions
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, “body position greatly affects the number and severity of episodes of obstructive sleep apnea, with at least twice as many apneas occurring in people who lay on their back as in those who sleep on their side.” While it may be uncomfortable at first, you may want to start sleeping on your side.
Use Essential Oils
Essential oils are plant-based medicine for your overall health. Since many people suffering from sleep apnea also have high blood pressure, it would make sense to address the high blood pressure also. Here are the oils that I recommend for high blood pressure: Ylang ylang, marjoram, cypress, geranium, lemongrass and lavender.
Essential Oil Blend Protocol for High Blood Pressure:
Blend 2: Combine 5 drops geranium, 8 drops lemongrass and 3 drops lavender in roller bottle then fill with fractionated coconut oil. Run over heart and reflex points on left foot and hand.
I strongly recommend that you rotate the 2 blends every 2 weeks. Just like exercise and food, your body becomes resistant to anything you do over and over for a long period of time.
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