Sleep apnea is a condition that occurs when, in one’s sleep, there are pauses while breathing. Sometimes the pauses are characterized by very shallow breaths that make this a potentially serious sleeping disorder. What makes this condition serious is that the pauses can last anywhere between a few seconds to a couple of minutes, and since this may occur more than 20 times every hour, it is easy to see why the disorder causes disrupted sleeping patterns. Typically, the paused breathing causes one to move from deep sleep to light sleep, and this interferes with the quality of sleep.
Sleep apnea is a chronic condition whose symptoms include fatigue during the day, excessive sleepiness during the day, loud snoring as well as loud snoring. In many affected people, it is not uncommon to wake up gasping for breath, usually accompanied by a dry mouth and headaches. This happens when one has very narrow airways, or in some cases, when the brain fails to send the right signals to the muscles that are tasked with breathing. If this disorder is left unchecked, it may cause an array of diseases such as stroke, diabetes and mental health disorders owing to the frequently disrupted sleep patterns.
For this reason, it is very important to get medical attention immediately. This may be done with the help of one’s partner since it is virtually impossible to detect the condition during typical hospital visits. It is interesting to note that most people who suffer from the condition may not be aware, and it takes partner or family member to note the changes. In addition to conventional medical treatment, there are home remedies that help improve the recurrence of the condition and improve the quality of sleep in affected persons.
1. Chamomile Tea:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: 2 Teaspoons of dried chamomile, 1 cup of hot water, 1 teaspoon of raw organic honey and a dash of cinnamon powder.
Chamomile tea is one of the best herbal remedies for the natural treatment of sleep apnea. This is because the chamomile is laden with healing properties that stimulate sedation and enhance sleepiness. This comes in handy in patients suffering from sleep apnea as the condition causes insomnia and may make it difficult to get sleep. Additionally, chamomile tea has potent anti-inflammatory properties that help prevent airway obstruction which is known to cause snoring. Use chamomile tea at bedtime to help manage sleep apnea. Cinnamon is added because it also has relaxing properties while the honey acts as a natural sweetener. The other alternative to benefiting from chamomile involves massaging using chamomile oil in a carrier oil.
- Place the dried chamomile in a cup containing hot water and cover for five minutes. This is done to steep the tea and let its healing properties diffuse into the tea.
- Strain the tea and then add the cinnamon and honey.
- Stir the tea to mix well and drink at least 45 minutes before bedtime.
- Alternatively, massage the neck using chamomile oil and olive oil (in the ration 1:2, that is one part of the chamomile oil and two parts of the olive oil). The olive oil here acts as a carrier oil and allows the chamomile’s active ingredients to be absorbed by the skin.
- Massage the oil mixture at least twice daily.
Time Required: 10 Min
What You Need: 2 Teaspoons of raw organic honey and 1 glass of warm water. 1 teaspoon of black pepper is an optional addition.
Honey is recommended for the natural treatment of sleep apnea, largely because of its excellent anti-inflammatory properties. The honey’s ability to ease the inflammation ensures that the airways are not irritated, which in turn prevents obstruction that often causes the breathing pauses during sleep. What’s more, raw honey is also known to create a protective lining over the throat, and this goes a long way in minimizing the intensity of snoring in affected persons. Overall, honey enhances sleep and relaxation making it a reliable remedy.
- Mix the honey and the black pepper well before putting the mixture in a glass of water.
- Pour in the warm water and stir to mix well.
- Sip this mixture slowly a few minutes before going to bed to ease the symptoms of sleep apnea.
3. Raw Garlic:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: 2 Cloves of garlic and 1 glass of warm water.
One of the contributing factors in the list of sleep apnea symptoms is obstructed airways that create the characteristic breathing pauses. Sometimes this occurs when the airways are blocked, whether due to irritation or inflammation. In cases of the latter, the use of garlic to deal with the inflammation makes the snoring less intense. When the airways are less inflamed, it means that breathing is easier and sleep patterns are improved over a period of time. Prepare the remedy by following the simple directions listed below.
- Peel and clean the cloves of garlic before crushing them. Crushing helps to release the garlic’s potent active ingredients.
- You will then place the crushed garlic in a glass before pouring in the warm water.
- Let the garlic sit in the water for a couple of minutes and then drink this, preferably on an empty stomach for the best results.
- Use this remedy daily until the symptoms of sleep apnea subside and the sleep patterns improve.
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: 3 Drops of lavender essential oil and hot bath water. You may also use 2 teaspoons of dried lavender buds, a cup of hot water, strainer and 2 teaspoons of honey for an oral remedy.
Take advantage of lavender’s calming effects to help manage sleep apnea. Lavender, both in oil or in tea for, is best known for its sedative properties. The herb is also a popular remedy because it helps relax the muscles in the throat, and this prevents the obstruction that is known to cause snoring. Lavender is beneficial as it helps enjoy the quality of sleep, a much-needed trait for those struggling with sleep apnea. Prepare the remedy by following the simple directions below.
Using Lavender Oil:
- Place the lavender oil in a tub containing hot bath water and ix well.
- Soak in this bath water for 20 minutes or so.
- Make sure you inhale the steam deeply to allow the oil to access the airways and prevent obstruction.
- Soak in this bath water at least once daily.
- If this is not possible, you may opt to place a few drops of the lavender oil on a piece of tissue and then tucking it under the pillow. The purpose of doing so is to ensure that you inhale the oil’s aroma and reduce the intensity of the condition’s symptoms.
Using dried Lavender Buds to prepare Herbal Tea:
- Place the dried lavender in a cup and pour over it 1 cup of hot water.
- Cover the tea and let it sit for 5 minutes before straining.
- Remember to add some honey thanks to its healing properties mentioned above.
- Drink this tea at least thrice daily.
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: 3 Drops of peppermint oil and 1 glass of warm water. Alternatively, prepare peppermint tea using 2 teaspoons of crushed peppermint leaves (dried), 1 cup of hot water and honey to taste.
Peppermint is your go-to herbal remedy when treating sleep apnea at home. It is best known for its refreshing effects and ability to reduce inflammation of the airways. The resulting effect of this is that it enhances easy breathing without the typical pauses or shallowness. Used regularly over a period of time, peppermint also plays an integral role in the prevention of snoring. Just like lavender, you may use the oil or opt to prepare a refreshing cup of tea.
Using Peppermint Oil:
- Place 3 drops of the peppermint oil on a glass and pour in the water.
- Stir to mix the two and then gargle with the solution.
- Use this remedy daily until you are able to manage the symptoms of the condition.
Prepare Peppermint Tea:
- Put the dried and crushed peppermint leaves in a cup containing hot water.
- Let the leaves steep in the water for 10 minutes or so and pass the tea through a strainer.
- Add some honey to the tea and drink while it is still warm.
- Do this preferably around bedtime as the warmth of the tea also helps soothe the throat.
6. Adjust Your Sleeping Position:
Time Required: The time taken to effect the change varies from one person to another.
What You Need: To use a proper sleeping position.
Snoring is a common symptom in sleep apnea, and this is why it is important to consider one’s sleeping position. Wrong sleeping positions not only cause discomfort, they may also aggravate the symptoms of sleep apnea by making worse the snoring and increasing the frequency of the shallow breaths. Listed below are simple tips to help you with proper sleeping positions.
Tips to Help you Adjust your Sleeping Position:
- Elevate your head just slightly to help lower the snoring.
- Make sure you use a soft pillow to avoid straining the neck.
- It helps to avoid sleeping on your back for the simple reason that it causes the tongue and palate tissue to slump up at the back of the throat. This makes the symptoms of sleep apnea worse.
- The recommended sleeping position for those affected is sleeping on the side. If this is not possible, sleeping on the stomach is recommended as an alternative. While changing these positions may occur subconsciously during sleep, taking mental notes to sleep on the side and/or tummy makes a big difference.
7. Epsom Salts:
Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: 2 Cups of Epsom salts and warm bathwater.
Since sleep apnea is often related to sore and inflamed muscles, you may use Epsom salts to provide relief and help get a good night’s rest. Epsom salts are made of Magnesium and sulfate, both of which help relax the muscles and develop an overall feeling of wellness. This in turn improves the quality of sleep. Epsom salts also has the advantage of reducing the inflammation in the airways, thus helping you get to bed relaxed. Note that the use of Epsom salts may not be recommended for those with diseases of the kidney.
- Place the Epsom salt in a tub and run the warm water.
- Stir the water to dissolve the salts and slip into the bath for a relaxed 30 minutes. If you have a little more time, you may soak for up to one hour to get relief.
- Use this remedy at least thrice weekly to improve your sleep. It is important to mention that for this remedy to be effective, regular use is recommended.
8. Regular Throat Exercises:
Time Required: 15-30 Min
What You Need: Conscious effort to do the exercises. You need 2-3 balloons for this set of exercises.
The purpose of doing throat exercises is to strengthen the muscles of the throat. Over a period of time, the strong throat muscles prevent the airways from collapsing and causing blockage. This also comes in handy in preventing snoring and promoting sound sleep. Below are the exercises you need to do.
- Inhale deeply and blow the balloon for as long as you can without removing it from your mouth.
- Once you have reached the limit, deflate the balloon to allow you repeat the exercise severally.
- To get the most from the exercise, inhale through your nose and exhale through the mouth to allow for proper airflow later on during sleeping time.
- You may consult your doctor to get more advice on performing these throat exercises.
In addition to these home remedies, it helps to lose weight as obesity has been linked to increased likelihood of sleep apnea. When there is excess weight around the neck muscles, you can be sure breathing at night will pose a challenge. In fact, some studies show that for men with a neck circumference of more than 17 inches, and women more than 15 inches, there is a general predisposition to sleep apnea. Sadly, this can easily create a vicious sleep cycle because when one is obese, they are less likely to sleep well and more likely to experience shallow breathing. To counter this, exercise routines are recommended.
Exercise plays a key role in this because it not only ensures hormonal regulation, it also burns calories and eliminates nasal congestion. Getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity helps a lot. It is also important to eat a balanced diet to prevent obesity. If sleep apnea does not seem to ease off even after using these remedies for a while, make sure you get professional medical attention.