Sleeping Women with Sleep Apnea Feeling lethargic during office time, and not getting proper sleep at night? Suffering from bad mood swings, stress, and even depression? Everything is a mess, yet you lack the energy to handle it? If you can relate to it, you might be suffering from SLEEP APNEA.
Sleep apnea, a common health condition, has hidden dangers, especially for women. As per experts, women are underdiagnosed or misdiagnosed when it comes to examining sleep apnea symptoms. Although women appear healthy, the interruption in their breathing patterns during sleep is a matter of great concern.
If you are someone who’s suffering from sleep apnea or is unsure of it, then read on.
New research conducted by the School of Nursing at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) showed that autonomic body responses that control heart rate, blood pressure, sweating, etc. aren’t strong in women with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
Alarmingly, about 26% of adults between the ages of 30 to 70 have OSA, as per studies of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea:
Obstructive sleep apnea affects sleeping women severely as it interferes with the regular sleeping patterns of a woman. This breathing disorder occurs when either tongue moves back to obstruct the airway or throat muscles collapse. Besides that, enlarged tonsils and adenoids can block airflow too. The brain has to react by signaling the respiratory system to maintain normal breathing. Consequently, sleeping women wake up with loud gasps or have body jerks.
Not only sleep apnea disrupts sound sleep patterns at night, but it interferes with work performance during the day. Drowsiness, stress, and depression are accompanying symptoms. Therefore, women are often misdiagnosed with insomnia, depression, and likewise health issues.
Sleep Apnea Symptoms & Risks For Women:
It has been observed that women have different symptoms of sleep apnea than men.
- Light Snoring (most commonly instead of loud snores)
- Complete or partial interruptions in breathing while asleep
- Excessive fatigue
- Early morning headaches
- High blood pressure level (hard to control with medications)
- Disturbed sleep
- Low work performance
Women with sleep apnea have the following risk factors:
- Post-menopausal sleep apnea is common in women. It’s accompanied by weight gain and hormonal changes
- Obesity increases the chances of sleep apnea in women aged 50 to 70 years by 31%.
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome increases the risk of OSA by 70%.
- OSA may be responsible for complications during pregnancy such as high blood pressure, blood clots, enlarged heart, and even cesarean delivery.
Healthy Sleeping Habits for Sleep Apnea:
Sleep routines can affect your sound sleep pattern at night. Rectifying your sleeping habits is the foremost step towards better sleep, lesser risk of sleep apnea, insomnia, and other sleep disorders.
Here’s what you MUST consider having a relaxing sleep:
- Keep in Check your Daily Routine—your food intake, medications, daily schedule, workload, and people around you—especially in the evenings—can leave a significant impact on your sleep. To handle that, just maintain a sleep diary for a week or two to figure out what really interferes with your sleep.
- CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) is a long-term treatment to cure insomnia most effectively. CBT includes various techniques for inducing sound sleep by stress reduction, sleep schedule setting, and physical relaxation.
Tips to Maintain Healthy Sleeping Habits:
- Sleep Schedule:
People who have a pre-set sleep schedule enjoy better sleep than others. Disturbed sleep is commonly connected with irregular sleep patterns. Set a bedtime that’s early so that you can have 7 to 8 hours of sleep. If you can’t fall asleep within 15 minutes after going to bed, leave your bed. Return only when drowsy.
- Relaxing Bedtime Routine:
Set up a relaxing bedtime routine with some soft music, sleep-inducing aroma, essential oils for insomnia, etc. Keep the ambiance extremely quiet and comforting. The temperature should be comforting and tolerable.
- Daily Workout:
Following a sedentary lifestyle will make you feel less drowsy and more fatigued. A regular workout routine helps you fall asleep better and timely.
- Turn Off Your Devices:
Turn off your smart devices half an hour before sleep time.
- Prevent Heavy Meals:
Taking a large meal an hour or two before bed can interfere with your sleep pattern. Have a healthy diet, or else junk food can make your stomach uncomfortable at night time.
- Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol:
Caffeine and alcohol are culprits of late-night awakenings.
- Control Fluid Intake:
Sleeping women with OSA are troubled by frequent visits to the washroom as well. Therefore, it’s preferable to stop taking excessive fluids before bed.
Home Remedies for Sleep Apnea:
If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, a traditional recommendation by doctors is to wear a CPAP mask during sleep. Although it’s highly effective, it can cause discomfort at night.
Alternatively, besides maintaining healthy sleep habit, here’s what you MUST count on for treating sleep apnea:
Healthy Weight Maintenance:
Sleep apnea is commonly associated with obesity and agedness. Obesity in the upper body can lead to obstruction in airways and narrowing of nasal passages. Ultimately, it can cause breathing cessation.
As per studies, weight loss can prevent upper airway surgery or life-long CPAP therapy.
Weight loss can effectively help in reducing or even eliminating the symptoms of sleep apnea.
While exercise can improve your energy levels, strengthen your heart, and promote sound sleep, yoga promotes respiratory strength and better oxygen flow. Sleeping woman with apnea has reduced oxygenation of the cells. As per reports, yoga is the perfect solution to improved breathing during sleep.
Sleeping on your back obstructs your air passages and can lead to snoring. In a lot of people with sleep apnea, sleeping on their sides helped in improving breathing and, thus, cured sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a curable breathing problem. However, the symptoms must not be overlooked for long as it can cause blood pressure, heart problems, and may even affect your pregnancy.
Develop these sleeping habits and try out these home remedies to enjoy better sleep and an energetic morning.