Table of Contents
- 1. Turn Down the Thermostat for Better Sleep Quality
- 2. Relax with the Soothing Scent of Lavender
- 3. Consider the Benefits of Magnesium for Better Sleep
- 4. Soothe Your Throat with Raw Manuka Honey
- 5. Use a Humidifier to Improve Respiratory Health
- 6. Embrace the Mediterranean Diet for Weight Loss and Health Benefits
- 7. Strengthen Your Throat with Yoga and Throat Exercises
- 8. Avoid Excessive Alcohol Consumption and Smoking
Sleep apnea affects a significant portion of the population, with as much as 37 percent of people in North, Central, and South America suffering from this sleep disorder. If you’re one of them, you know how disruptive it can be to your daily life. Thankfully, there are effective treatment options available. In this article, we will discuss some complementary ways you can alleviate symptoms associated with sleep apnea, with a specific focus on the benefits of using manuka honey for sleep.
1. Turn Down the Thermostat for Better Sleep Quality
Maintaining an ideal temperature in your bedroom can greatly impact your sleep quality. Research has shown that people with sleep apnea reported better sleep when the room temperature was around 61 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature range, between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit, is considered ideal for sleep. On the other hand, higher room temperatures, around 75 degrees, resulted in poorer sleep quality for sleep apnea patients.
It’s worth noting that this study found that even untreated sleep apnea was worse in cooler room temperatures. However, if you’re actively treating your sleep apnea, you can enjoy the benefits of sleeping in a cooler room without worrying about worsening your symptoms. Alternatively, you can consider using the Chilisleep system, which allows you to stay cool and comfortable at night, especially if your sleep partner prefers a warmer environment.
2. Relax with the Soothing Scent of Lavender
Lavender has been used in traditional folk medicine for various purposes, including reducing anxiety and promoting relaxation. Aromatherapy with lavender essential oil has gained popularity as a natural way to improve sleep quality. While more research is needed to establish its effectiveness, many people find the scent of lavender pleasing and claim that it helps them relax and get in the mood for sleep.
If you enjoy the scent of lavender, you can try adding a few drops of 100% pure lavender essential oil to a towel and placing it under your pillow or inside your pillowcase. Alternatively, you can inhale the steam from hot water infused with lavender, or use an oil diffuser to fill your bedroom with the scent.
3. Consider the Benefits of Magnesium for Better Sleep
Research has shown that people with sleep apnea tend to have lower levels of magnesium in their bodies. Magnesium has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce inflammation and may be beneficial for sleep apnea patients who experience high oxidative stress during the night.
You can increase your magnesium levels by consuming foods rich in this essential mineral, such as avocados, seeds and nuts, bananas, and leafy greens like kale, spinach, and collard greens. Even dark chocolate is a good source of magnesium. If necessary, you can also consider taking magnesium supplements, but it’s important to consult with your doctor before starting any new supplement regimen, especially if you have preexisting conditions or are taking other medications.
Another option to increase your magnesium levels is to enjoy Epsom Salt Baths before bedtime. Not only can a warm bath help relax your body, but it can also improve your sleep. To learn more about how a warm bath can enhance your sleep, check out our article on the Top 5 Tips to Help You Fall Asleep and Stay Asleep.
4. Soothe Your Throat with Raw Manuka Honey
Raw manuka honey has been used therapeutically for centuries to soothe sore throats and reduce inflammation. It has well-established anti-inflammatory properties due to its high level of phenolic compounds, which act as antioxidants. Sleep apnea patients can benefit from the throat-soothing effects of raw manuka honey.
Before bed, try drinking a mug of warm water or tea and add one teaspoon of raw manuka honey. It’s important to choose raw, unpasteurized honey to ensure maximum nutrients and antioxidants, as processed honey often has fewer benefits and may contain added sugar.
5. Use a Humidifier to Improve Respiratory Health
Humidifiers add moisture to the air, which can be beneficial for sleep apnea patients. Dry air can irritate the respiratory system and exacerbate sleep apnea symptoms. By using a humidifier, you can decrease congestion, open airways, and promote clearer breathing during sleep.
To enhance the benefits of a humidifier, consider adding essential oils like lavender, eucalyptus, or peppermint. These pleasing aromas can help put you in a better mood and contribute to a more relaxing sleep environment. Remember to follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions to prevent mold and bacteria growth, which can be harmful to your respiratory health.
6. Embrace the Mediterranean Diet for Weight Loss and Health Benefits
Excess weight is often linked to sleep apnea, and weight loss is recognized as a viable lifestyle treatment option. The Mediterranean diet, known for its emphasis on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and olive oil, has been shown to not only help with weight reduction but also provide additional health benefits.
One study found that the Mediterranean diet, combined with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy and exercise, improved the Apnea-Hypopnea Index (AHI) scores in sleep apnea patients. The AHI measures the severity of sleep apnea, and a lower score indicates better sleep quality.
To incorporate the Mediterranean diet into your lifestyle, start by swapping out conventional cooking oil for olive oil, replacing red meat with fish or chicken, and opting for leafy greens instead of potatoes or french fries. Snack on fresh fruit, nuts, or seeds instead of processed snacks like chips or crackers.
7. Strengthen Your Throat with Yoga and Throat Exercises
Throat exercises, also known as oropharyngeal exercises, have been shown to reduce the severity of sleep apnea symptoms. These exercises target the muscles in the throat and can help prevent partial or complete blockage of the airway during sleep.
Yoga offers a dual benefit for sleep apnea sufferers. It not only strengthens the throat muscles through specific breathing exercises but also promotes overall physical fitness and potential weight loss, which can help reduce the severity of sleep apnea.
Consider incorporating daily throat exercises that involve yelling or singing into your routine. Singing exercises, in particular, have been shown to reduce the severity of snoring. Additionally, practicing yoga regularly can help improve throat strength and overall fitness.
8. Avoid Excessive Alcohol Consumption and Smoking
Excessive alcohol consumption and smoking can worsen sleep apnea symptoms and disrupt your sleep. Alcohol relaxes the muscles in your throat, which can further obstruct your airway and lead to snoring and interrupted sleep.
Smoking tobacco causes inflammation and swelling in the airway, aggravating sleep apnea symptoms. Interestingly, a study conducted in 2012 found that smoking is a major risk factor for developing sleep apnea, and individuals with sleep apnea are more likely to smoke. By treating your sleep apnea, you may find it easier to quit smoking.
In conclusion, while these complementary approaches should not replace proper sleep apnea treatment, they can potentially enhance your ability to get a good night’s rest and complement traditional treatments recommended by sleep specialists. Incorporating manuka honey for sleep, along with other lifestyle changes like maintaining an optimal room temperature, using a humidifier, and practicing throat exercises or yoga, can contribute to better sleep quality and overall well-being. If you suspect you may have sleep apnea and would like to explore treatment options, please consult with a sleep specialist for personalized guidance and support.