Sufferers of sleep apnoea can address the debilitating condition very successfully by making a series of lifestyle changes. In many cases, these changes are all that are necessary to improve the life and quality of sleep for the sufferer, which is very positive news.
Since being overweight is a major influencing factor in sleep apnoea, there is obvious benefit in losing weight and consequentially reducing the measurement of the sufferer's neck. In the priority cases, sufferers will be at least slightly overweight and doctors tend to agree that a weight loss of between five and ten per cent could have made a huge difference to the condition, reducing the frequency and length of apnoea and improving the quality of a sufferer's sleep.
Individuals with sleep apnoea should avoid drinking alcohol, particularly in the few hours before going to sleep. Alcohol relaxes the muscles and therefore increases the likelihood of the muscles relaxing too much and restricting or stopping breathing. Sleeping tablets have a similar effect on the muscles around the windpipe and are therefore not recommended for sleep apnoea sufferers. Tobacco smoke makes the condition worse too, so giving up smoking is highly advisable, as it is for non-sufferers too.
Interestingly, lying on the back to sleep increases the frequency and length of pauses in breathing. It is therefore a good idea to try and sleep on the side. Changing the position one sleeps in is easier said than done, but can be made easier by using pillows to prop itself onto the side.
These simple changes will be the first thing a doctor recommends on diagnosis of mild sleep apnoea and the difference such small alterations make is incredible. If you suspect you have sleep apnoea always seek the advice of a doctor, who will establish if you have the disorder as well as the severity of the disorder. They will tailor advice to you, for example if you should lose weight and approximately how much weight you should lose.
If you have been diagnosed with more severe sleep apnea , some or all of these lifestyle changes may still be advised, but used in conjunction with other methods undertaken as well. The good news for all sufferers is that the severity of the condition can be reduced by taking these measurements, some of which are good steps forwards a generally healthy lifestyle (maintaining a healthy weight and not smoking).