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Simple Lifestyle Changes to Manage Sleep Apnea

When it comes to health and weight management, we often think about changing our habits related to food and physical activity. While these two factors are important, our quality of sleep has been shown to have just as much of an impact on overall health.

When it comes to health and weight management, we often think about changing our habits related to food and physical activity. While these two factors are important, our quality of sleep has been shown to have just as much of an impact on overall health.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder where an individual experiences repetitive breathing pauses during sleep, lasting from a few seconds to minutes. This condition can be classified into three main types:

  1. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

OSA is the most common type of sleep apnea, occurring when the throat muscles intermittently relax, leading to a blocked airway.

  1. Central Sleep Apnea (CSA)

CSA is less common and involves the brain's failure to transmit the correct signals to the muscles responsible for controlling breathing.

  1. Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome (Treatment-Emergent Central Sleep Apnea)

This type of sleep apnea is a combination of both OSA and CSA.

How common is sleep apnea?

Several health conditions including acid reflux, lung disease, heart disease, and diabetes can increase the likelihood of developing sleep apnea, but it is most common in people who are in larger bodies or those that have more adipose tissue around the neck or abdominal area. Greater fat tissue in these areas can cause a compressed airway or decreased lung volume, which can diminish airflow during sleep when the airway is already relaxed, causing snoring.

Poor quality and lack of sleep that many experience with OSA can cause stress on the body. Particularly the cardiovascular, pulmonary, and metabolic systems. Treating sleep apnea is important to decrease the risk of developing other conditions related to these systems. Like with many diseases, treatment starts with lifestyle modifications and working towards a healthy weight. Weight loss may lead to a less compressed airway and increased lung volume to improve airflow during sleep.

How to manage your health with sleep apnea

A nutritious diet and increased physical activity, along with proper sleep hygiene, can help improve the quality of life in those with OSA. Decreasing alcohol intake and smoking cessation are also effective treatments for OSA.

Get moving

Regular physical activity can boost your oxygen levels, enhance your mood and energy, and improve your sleep quality. Research suggests getting at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week to reap these health benefits. If you don't know where to start, or just need a little extra inspiration, check out these 4 simple exercises anyone can do to get moving.

Limit your alcohol consumption

It is recommended to limit alcohol to a moderate amount (1-2 drinks/day) and avoid it a couple of hours before bedtime. Did you know that consumption of alcohol close to bedtime can reduce melatonin by nearly 20%? Being melatonin is one of the body’s key sleep regulators, these reduced levels can cause restlessness and lead to next-day fatigue.

Rethink your bedtime snacks

Your food choices can affect how you fall and stay asleep. Avoid high fat, spicy foods and citrus in the evenings. Our certified health coaches call these types of foods sleep ‘snipers’ as they, along with caffeine, can cause acid reflux to worsen.

Practice good sleep hygiene habits

Practicing good sleep hygiene is key to improving sleep health and can aid in weight loss. Here are 5 strategies and health tips that will get you “REM-ing it up” in no time. You should also check out our ULTIMATE guide on sleep for weight loss, filled with expert education and easy tips that you can apply to start slumbering the night away. Download the free guide.

Success beyond the scale

Profile isn’t only about weight loss. It’s about the healthy lifestyle changes that will help you achieve your goals once and for all and the small accomplishments along the way. With the support of our 1-on-1 health coaching and the latest technology to track your success, you can get health results even beyond weight loss with Profile!

"My ultimate NSV: A few years ago I was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea having an AHI of 72 (translated as I stopped breathing an average of 72 times per hour while sleeping) and pulse oxygen in the 70s while sleeping. One of my main goals was to no longer need a CPAP when I slept. Have reached my goal weight, I had a new sleep test last week. I got the results of my sleep test today. My AHI is 2.2 and my pulse oxygen never got below 93. I no longer have sleep apnea! My doctor said he had never seen anything like it."

Let’s get you started on your lifestyle change!

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Interested in more expert health tips? Download the free Ultimate Sleep for Weight Loss Success Guide and start living a healthier lifestyle while avoiding sleep deprivation and weight gain!

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