Dealing With Sleep Apnea Without Cpap
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Dealing With Sleep Apnea Without Cpap

For me the most precious part of my day is getting a good nights’ sleep. No matter what sort of day I have had, whether it has been busy at work, socializing or just some quiet down time, I look forward to that time when I can hit that pillow and rest my mind and body. I can usually get to sleep fairly quickly, and if I find my mind wandering and thinking about what tomorrow will bring, I will listen to some ambient music or read for 15 minutes. My partner tells me I do snore occasionally but not enough to disturb her sleep (thankfully). There is nothing worse than waking up in the morning and feeling tired and grumpy due to lack of sleep. I have experienced it many times and it does affect my performance during the day by not being able to concentrate and think clearly.

I recently discovered, however, that many people suffer from a condition called “sleep apnea”. This is where your breathing passages become blocked and stop the air from getting to your lungs. A good friend of mine said he suffers from it and has to wear a mask to help him breath while he is sleeping. I thought myself very lucky that I wasn't afflicted with this condition but wanted to find out more about it.

The word “apnea” comes from the Greek meaning “cessation or interruption of breath”. To put it simply, what usually happens when sleeping is the air travels to the lungs via the upper airway (nose, throat and mouth). Normally the back of the throat is soft and will by nature fall inward during breathing. When the tissues in the upper part of your throat loosen up and break down together, the air passage is blocked temporarily. The breathing then stops and the sleep is disrupted. This is usually due to a soft palate (flabby tissues) or if a person has a thick tongue. There is also a connection with snoring in that the flabby tissues will vibrate and cause snoring. The key to dealing with this is to have strong muscles in your palate, tongue and throat to help your air passages stay open while sleeping.

Medical practitioners will recommend wearing a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) mask over the mouth and nose to help with the oxygen supply to the lungs by a set pressure of air being moved through an attachment. This has been proved to be very effective on many sufferers and has allowed them to breath and sleep normally again.

Of course, the idea of wearing a mask and other apparatus while sleeping may not appeal to everyone. An alternative treatment is to exercise the relevant muscles in order to strengthen them and prevent the collapse. These are called “orofacial exercises” and include jaw, tongue, soft palate, throat and facial exercises. These will make the muscles stronger allowing easier access of air to the lungs whilst sleeping.

Here is one example. It’s called soft palate blowing:

• Breathe in through your nose

• Exhale from your mouth and, while breathing out, close your lips. This will create a resistance.

• Whilst exhaling, tighten your abdomen and continue the blowing for 5 seconds

• Repeat this procedure 10 times for proper effect

When it comes to solutions for ailments and conditions, I have always believed in looking at alternative treatments and remedies. This is one good example.


Street Talk

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