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Obstructive Sleep Apnea: 5 Self-Care Strategies

Tip 3: Eat Healthy continued...

When you don’t get enough sleep, you might be more likely to crave carbs. Lack of Zzz's and fatigue have also been linked with changes in the hormones leptin and ghrelin, which control your feelings of hunger and fullness. When you’re tired, you may want to eat more and feel less satisfied when you do.

You don’t need to be overweight to have an unhealthy diet. In a study of 320 adults, those with more-severe sleep apnea ate more protein, fat, and saturated fatty acids than those who had a less-severe problem, regardless of how much they weighed.

Tip 4: Tend to Your Allergies

It’s no surprise that sleeping and breathing are harder when you’re stuffed up from nasal allergies.

Picture your airway as a long, muscular tube running from your nose to your windpipe. If your allergies aren’t under control, the tissues of your upper throat swell and make the airway narrow. With less space for air, breathing gets harder.

If you have nasal allergies, talk to your doctor about how to get them under control. It may help to use a Neti pot or a saline nasal spray before bed.

Tip 5: Build a Good Sleep Routine

Shut-eye is an important part of good health. The catch, of course, is that sleep apnea makes it hard to get enough. 

About half of people with the condition have most of their breathing problems when they sleep on their backs. So most doctors encourage people to try to stay in other positions. But how can you get into the habit? Some doctors suggest a simple trick: Put two tennis balls into a tube sock and pin it to the back of your nightshirt.

Devices that improve breathing for people with the disorder -- including a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine -- can also help. Talk to your doctor about whether you should start using one.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD on October 27, 2015
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