It has been the subject of many jokes and funny movie scenes, usually with a husband on his back sawing logs and the wife lying there wide awake, plugging her ears.
But snoring is not as innocent (or funny) as it may seem.
Because snoring can indicate the presence of a serious condition that is increasingly common in our society today.
Here is the scoop on this condition that affects one out of five people in the US and causes many more problems over and above your sleeping partner needing ear plugs.
Sleep apnea…what exactly is it?
“Apnea” is a Greek word that means “want of breath.” So, a person is considered to have sleep apnea if they stop breathing for at least 10 seconds up to 30 times (or more) a night. When these episodes occur, the body is not getting the oxygen it needs.
Note that the person might not even be aware that this is happening!
Snoring is the most common symptom of sleep apnea, but it is not the only one.
Other common symptoms include:
- Morning headaches
- Dry mouth and throat
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Shortness of breath upon awakening
- Night sweats
- Trouble falling or staying asleep
- Trouble concentrating, poor memory and brain fog
- Lower immune function; getting sick more often
- Being overweight
- Loss of libido
Not getting proper sleep and needed oxygen on a regular basis each night takes its toll on your body.
First, sleep apnea increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, and elevated cholesterol.
Lacking proper sleep depresses your metabolism, so that is why many sleep apnea sufferers are overweight. Note that this creates a vicious cycle, because being overweight can also be a cause of sleep apnea!
Since your metabolism is compromised, this also increases your risk of insulin resistance, Type 2 diabetes, and thyroid dysfunction.
In addition, sleep deficiencies make you more prone to depression, memory problems, poor immune function, and sexual dysfunction.
Tell me why
You may be wondering why sleep apnea is becoming so common.
Well, it is because there are a good number of causes or underlying factors behind sleep apnea which can include:
- Being overweight (which describes three out of four of us!)
- Older age — sleep apnea is much more common in adults than in children
- Being a male
- Having an obstructed airway or congestion
- Having a small, retruded jaw
- Having a family history of sleep disorders
- Excessive use of alcohol and smoking cigarettes
- Frequently taking sleep drugs, sedatives, or tranquilizers
- Having a history of heart disease, stroke, autoimmune disorders, or thyroid disorders
- Using pain medications (including opioids)
Current mainstream treatment options
Sleep apnea is usually diagnosed via a sleep study called a polysomnogram, which monitors breathing patterns, sleep stages, cardiac rhythm, airflow, and length of non-breathing episodes.
The most common treatment is a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine. It consists of an air compressor and mask which deliver pressured air through the nose while someone is sleeping.
While some relief may be achieved, unfortunately, some CPAP users have reported feeling claustrophobic while wearing the mask. In addition, the strap of the mask can cause headaches.
Surgery is also an option in severe cases. The procedure is known as UPPP surgery (Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty), but it’s only effective in about 50 percent of the cases--usually where abnormalities such as enlarged tonsils, nasal polyps, deviated septum or jaw malformation are present.
Thankfully, as sleep apnea is becoming better understood, the options for treatment and relief are growing.
Here are some safe, non-invasive options that are showing great promise:
A dentist can design an appliance made to wear during sleep which gently moves the lower jaw forward causing a positive change in tongue position. The appliance prevents the airway from collapsing by creating extra space in the area.
Note that not all dentists are trained to treat sleep apnea, but a dentist who treats TMJ (temporomandibular joint dysfunction) would be a good place to start.
As I mentioned above, weight gain and sleep apnea feed off each other, so it’s crucial to try to lose weight.
If you need help in that department, check out my Want To Lose Weight? Stop Dieting! program.
In addition to showing, you how to structure meals that are delicious, that properly nourish you and promote better digestion, Want To Lose Weight? Stop Dieting! goes far beyond all other weight loss programs by helping you:
- Decipher what may be preventing you from losing weight
- Choose an exercise activity that is right for you
- Identify sneaky factors that may be causing you to gain weight without your knowledge (such as certain medications)
Plus, you will get a recipe book loaded with super delicious dishes that will soon become your family’s favorites!
As an alternative, if you would like to chat with me about your situation, book a FREE 30-minute consultation with me either in-person (Melbourne, FL area only), Messenger video, Zoom or telephone! Many times, all someone needs are to just bounce their situation off an expert, and I can help get you on the right track.
Get a handle on acid reflux
Many people suffering from sleep apnea and heavy snoring also have other medical issues that interfere with normal breathing, including acid reflux.
But what most people do not realize is that acid reflux is frequently the result of having too few digestive enzymes!
As we age, our bodies’ production of enzymes diminishes, and over time your body might not be able to produce enough for your needs.
If you suspect that your body may be already challenged with enzyme production (especially if you've been a Tums or purple pill popper for a while) or want to help conserve what you do have left, enzyme supplementation with our very own Digestizol Max can make a dramatic difference for you.
Digestizol Max’s complete blend of 15 natural, plant-derived enzymes will give your body a boost in breaking down every kind of food you eat.
Quit smoking and limit alcohol consumption
Both smoking and alcohol consumption affect the quality of your sleep.
If you smoke, do whatever you need to quit. Hypnosis and acupuncture have both been shown to be extremely helpful, and they’re far safer than drugs like Chantix.
Also keep the alcohol consumption moderate, and don’t have any drinks at least three hours before bedtime.
Embrace the power of ashwagandha
Adaptogen herbs like ashwagandha “adapt” to your body’s needs and can help support virtually all your organs and systems!
In terms of combatting sleep apnea concerns, ashwagandha has been shown to help:
- Encourage healthy levels of lipids
- Stimulate proper thyroid function
- Support sexual and reproductive health
- Combat insomnia and encourage better sleep
- Stabilize blood sugar
- Boost immune function
- Improve memory and cognitive function
- Relieve adrenal fatigue
- Combat stress and anxiety; improve depression
- Help improve cardiovascular health
If you’d like to put the power of ashwagandha to use in your health, check out our Ashwa Blend Gummies!
Do what you need to do to address sleep apnea and start enjoying better sleep (and overall health!) now!
To your health,