Stop the Snoring! Get Sleep Apnea Under Control

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Stop the Snoring! Get Sleep Apnea Under Control
‘Roll over, you’re snoring again! I’m trying to get some sleep!’ For many, this is an all too familiar nightly scenario. While the snoring may just seem like a nuisance that keeps you from getting good sleep, the guilty noisemaker might actually be struggling with a more serious health condition known as sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea affects up to 18 million Americans every year, with the National Institute of Health declaring it as the leading cause of excessive daytime drowsiness in adults. Since sleep is such an important time for our bodies to heal and rejuvenate from the wear and tear of daily life, anything that interferes with that process is sure to take a major toll on one’s health.

A person with sleep apnea suffers from poor quality sleep due to uncontrollable pauses in breathing. In fact, they may stop breathing up to 30 times per hour without being aware of it! In other words, sleep apnea is actually a serious medical diagnosis that can be life threatening and greatly decrease one’s quality of life. Obviously, chronic fatigue can become an issue, but sleep apnea can also set a person up for long-term complications including heart disease, obesity, depression, stroke, and memory decline.

Recent studies have been performed proving that the amount of snoring a person does predicts hardening of their arteries. Research published in the Journal of Sleep shows that if you snore more than half the night you have a 64% chance of having measurable hardening of your carotid artery – a major cause of stroke. Moderate snoring defined as 25-50% of the night, is associated with a 32% risk, and mild snoring associated with a 20% risk. With 50% of the male and 25% of the female population having some degree of problem with this issue, snoring appears to be an important problem to get under control!

Weight is also a significant issue that affects snoring and sleep apnea. The more overweight you are, the more likely you are to have sleep disturbances since fat deposits around your upper airway can obstruct normal breathing. A recent study showed that those who lost twenty pounds in the course of a year had significant improvements in sleep apnea. Unfortunately, the poor quality sleep that comes with sleep apnea and weight gain tend to be part of a vicious cycle, as lack of sleep can mean lack of weight loss. Research has identified how a lack of sleep produces a stress response with excessive cortisol production that turns down fat burning and helps lock leptin problems into place.

While most of the time we tend to think of sleep apnea as an adult problem, more and more kids are struggling with it as well. Researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital recently used advanced imaging technology to evaluate brain oxygen levels of children who snore and children who have sleep apnea, in an effort to understand why such children have impaired cognitive ability. They found that children who snore get less oxygen to their brains. Oxygen is of course vital to brain function, and the decreased flow to the brain resulted is lessened cognitive ability.

Finally, if snoring and sleep apnea are concerns, fluid retention and lymph stagnation are areas of health which need to be addressed. Problems with snoring develop when there is overload or malfunction in the way your body processes water, especially relating to the lymphatic system and veins. By preventing fluid accumulation during the day, less fluid will accumulate at the neck at night, resulting in improved breathing during sleep.

Certainly lifestyle changes are very important when dealing with sleep apnea. Getting proper exercise to help with weight management and lymphatic flow, as well as following the 5 rules of The Leptin Diet, eating good quality protein and antioxidant containing fruits and vegetables are all beneficial. Taking some lymphatic and immune system supporting nutrients like arabinogalactan, bromelain, oregano oil and quercetin will also help to bring down inflammation and clear lymphatic sludge associated with the condition.

Whatever strategies you decide to use to improve sleep apnea, it’s important to take action. If you aren’t getting good quality sleep, your body won’t be able to repair from daily wear and tear and that can snowball into bigger health problems down the road. So if you are struggling with the common symptoms of loud snoring, waking up gasping for air, poor sleep, fatigue and anxiety, it’s time to make a change. Your tired body, and everyone else’s in the household, will thank you!

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