Most sleep apnea sufferers are aware of the connection between diet and the acuteness of their condition. A good diet replete with lean meat, fruits and vegetables could help you maintain a healthy weight, which in turn can reduce the negative effects of your sleep apnea. But there are some troublesome items on your dinner table that could possibly worsen your sleep apnea no matter what the scales say.
Beware of soy products
Soy seems to be the building block of a lot of healthy products out there and tofu is mother’s milk for many vegetarians. Too much soy, however, may worsen your sleep apnea. Soy beans and the plethora of products made from them, including oil, can cause your body to produce excess mucus, which will exasperate any breathing problems you have. If you notice that you are more phlegmy than usual, it may be a good idea to check your soy consumption.
Skip the nightcap
The idea that a little sip of alcohol can help you get a good night’s sleep is a widely held misconception. The sleep that a stiff drink can help you achieve is often fragile and unreliable. This is due to a number of factors – dehydration being one of them. Alcohol also relaxes the muscles, which after a stressful day may sound appealing, but often it will relax your upper airways, making breathing difficult. This causes your CPAP machine to work harder to keep air flowing into your lungs.
Cut out the carbs/sugar
The connection between refined carbohydrates and weight gain is well documented. That in and of itself is a good reason to reduce your intake, as the more weight you gain, the higher the chance your sleep apnea symptoms will worsen. What many people do not know, however, is that there is also a connection between sugar and the amount of mucus your body produces. As with soy, high sugar foods can cause your body to produce more phlegm. It also has the unsettling effect of thickening the mucus that may be already sitting in your throat, which obviously makes breathing more difficult.
All in all, the point isn’t to abstain completely from these foods but to monitor your intake and listen to your body. Keep a food journal and take note of how you feel upon waking up the next morning. You may see that there is a direct correlation between a peaceful night’s sleep and the meals you consumed the day before.