sleep apnea food

Easing sleep apnea symptoms with the food you eat

What we eat has a fundamental role in energising our daily functions, but for those with sleep apnea, daily functions can be difficult to carry out. However, in conjunction with medical help from a CPAP mask or machine, measuring what you eat can help boost those energy levels and ease other sleep apnea symptoms. Taking note of these tips can help you take all possible steps to ease sleep apnea symptoms and optimise the chance of getting a solid night’s sleep.

Foods to eat

Food that contains natural sources of melatonin may help promote better sleep. Fruit and vegetables such as cherries, asparagus, tomatoes, grapes, and broccoli all have considerable amounts of melatonin, as do some nuts and seeds. Not only do they contain melatonin but they can help you feel satiated for longer, reducing snacking and potential weight gain as a result. To sufficiently increase your melatonin levels, why not start drinking tart cherry juice. According to University Health News, it significantly reduces insomnia severity.

Eating fish can also help break down the melatonin in foods. Well known for alleviating mental health and anxiety symptoms, eating fish such as salmon is an easy way to counter symptoms that are often exacerbated by sleep apnea. If you’re not a fan of seafood, try a supplement of omega-3 fatty acids or eat sweet potato, oatmeal or nuts. They contain complex carbohydrates which can help you feel sleepy in time for bedtime!

Foods to avoid

If you’re struggling with sleep apnea, a number one food to avoid is bananas. Though bananas are certainly yummy and full of nutrients, they contribute to an increased production of mucus which can exacerbate your symptoms. This is also the case for milk, cream, and fatty meats. Changing your diet to limit the consumption of these foods and other fatty foods can increase your sleep quality. Try to replace them in favour of low-fat substitutes and meats such as chicken and turkey to get the right amount of fat without impeding your chance of achieving a good night’s rest.

Changing what you eat alongside using a CPAP mask or machine may well increase your ability to sleep through the night and feel the benefits throughout the day. For other lifestyle changes you can make, see our other blog posts.

Photo: cherries by timlewisnm licensed under Creative commons 5

Can you travel with a CPAP machine?

If you’re planning on going on vacation, no matter what distance you are travelling, it is important to bring your CPAP machine with you. Whether you are staying in the country or travelling abroad, you deserve to have a good night’s sleep so you can make the most of your holiday. We have collected some useful tips and things to remember below, to ensure travelling with your CPAP machine is effortless.

1. Pack your CPAP machine safely

If you are travelling via car or train, ensure you pack your CPAP machine in its original case to stop it from getting damaged during the journey. You should then position the case in a secure spot, such as a luggage rack or between soft items in the back of a car.

2. Inform your airline

If you are travelling with your CPAP machine on a flight, check with your airline what their policy on CPAP machines is. Most airlines consider a CPAP machine medical equipment and allow you to keep your CPAP case with you during your flight in addition to any hand luggage. Do not be afraid to use your machine during the flight – it is better to wake up in your new destination refreshed than to suffer a sleepless journey.

3. Plan your accommodation in advance

While spontaneity can be exciting when it comes to something as important as your ability to sleep, it is better to plan in advance. Check that your accommodation, whether that be a family member’s house or a hotel, has a plug socket next to the bed and is a suitable environment for your CPAP machine. If you are travelling abroad, remember to bring a plug socket adaptor.

If you are still concerned you will be unable to use your CPAP machine in a new environment, pack an extension cord and battery pack with you to ensure you can still use your machine if the plug socket situation is not what it was promised to be.

As long as you plan your journey in advance and prepare for any small problems that may arise, there is no reason why you shouldn’t travel with your CPAP machine. For any more information about sleep apnea and CPAP machines, contact ApneaSeal today!

Photo: 16/365 by lioliz licensed under Creative commons 6

5 tips for partners

There’s lots of information out there for people who are thinking of getting a CPAP Mask. But what if you are the partner of the snorer? How can you help them adjust to life with a CPAP Mask and get yourself some quality sleep in the process?

Be part of the conversation

Don’t leave it to your partner to choose the CPAP Mask, be a part of the conversation with medical professionals. If you take an active part in understanding the problem and the possible solutions, you will be able to help your partner to ensure the right mask is selected and the CPAP mask is fitted correctly and comfortably. Be a part of the decision on which mask to choose – try them on yourself and understand how they may impact how your partner sleeps.

Be patient and be prepared for setbacks

It will take some time for your partner to get comfortable sleeping with a mask. And the CPAP mask and machine may make noise that could continue to disrupt your sleep. It’s important to remember that it will take some time for your partner to get comfortable sleeping with a mask. You need to be patient and look at what they need to support the new normal – do they need a new type of pillow? What are they worried about with the machine? The noise? Getting tangled in their sleep? Be prepared for some trial and error.

Consider sleep headphones or earplugs

While the snoring may be fixed, the CPAP machine may continue to disrupt your sleep. If you are finding that the machine noise is not having a calming effect on you, consider investing in some sleep headphones or earplugs. Modern headphones can be synced to your smartphone and include an alarm to wake you in the morning.

Encourage healthy habits

There are some things that will make snoring more likely, like being overweight, smoking or excessive drinking. Encourage your partner to be active and eat a healthy diet to help manage sleep apnea symptoms.

If problems persist…

Sometimes no matter how carefully you select the CPAP mask, it just isn’t comfortable and neither you nor your partner is benefiting. Work with your partner’s medical professionals to give them feedback on what is and isn’t working about the CPAP mask and machine so that they can help you find the right solution.

lifestyle changes sleep apnea

4 lifestyle changes to improve your sleep apnea

If you have sleep apnea, you know just how obstructive it can be to your sleep. This condition is notorious for causing lethargy and sapping energy levels. While there are many treatments and equipment that can be used to improve sleep apnea and successfully treat the condition, it’s also important to make some lifestyle changes. To help you make a positive change, here are four lifestyle changes that can improve your sleep apnea.

Go to bed earlier

While your sleep apnea may get in the way of your sleep and make you dread bedtime, the worst thing you can do is avoid sleep. Try to get to bed at 9.30pm and give yourself lots of time to relax and fall into a natural sleep. The longer you are in bed, the more sleep you are likely to get.

Give up smoking

Smoking has been proven to aggravate the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea. The chemicals and toxins in cigarettes inflame your airway, leaving you less room to breathe effectively at night. By quitting smoking you may be able to reduce the severity of your snoring and other symptoms while improving your overall health.

Lose weight

There is a direct correlation between excess weight and obstructive sleep apnea. Extra weight around your neck increases the force of gravity and places additional pressure on your airway. By loosing weight you can improve the severity of your sleep apnea symptoms, as well as unlocking a whole bunch of other great health benefits.

Give sedatives the flick when you have sleep apnea

While many people are prescribed sleeping pills or other sedatives to ensure a more sound sleep, these sleep aids can actually worsen sleep apnea. The same goes for alcohol, which also acts as a sedative. Sedatives relax your throat muscles and airway, resulting in more snoring and interrupted sleep.

Need more support for your sleep apnea? ApneaSeal has the solution! Our new generation technology uses 3D imaging and printing, facial scanning and custom-moulding techniques to create individualised masks for your CPAP therapy. If you are interested in a fitted mask for your sleep apnea machine, then contact the team at ApneaSeal today.

sleep apnea risks

Obstructive sleep apnea risks

As more scientists and researchers look into the causes and risk factors of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), it is becoming clear that just about anyone can develop the condition. That said, there are a number of factors and habits that seem to increase the likelihood of someone developing OSA.

Sleep apnea risks in overweight or obese adults and teenagers

One of the key sleep apnea risks is increased pressure on the neck, and this is very common in those who are overweight or obese. Both adults and teens who are carrying around extra weight are at a far greater risk of developing OSA. In fact, of those who have sleep apnea, around 50% are also overweight.

Ageing adults

As we grow older, our sleep patterns change dramatically, and it has been proven that the risk of sleep apnea increases with age. That’s why it’s important that if you notice any changes in your sleeping habits or sleep quality, you are tested for OSA.

People who smoke

Those who smoke are at a far greater risk of suffering from OSA than others. In fact, recent studies have indicated that smokers are three times more likely to have sleep apnea than their non-smoking counterparts. This is because smoking causes fluid retention and inflammation in the upper airway, which encourages the onset of obstructive sleep apnea.

People with sleep apnea in the family

Some studies have suggested that sleep apnea is hereditary and can be passed down within families. This means that those with parents or family members who have been diagnosed with sleep apnea are at a higher risk of developing the condition themselves.

Children with enlarged or problematic tonsils

Children with enlarged tonsils or chronic tonsil problems (such as tonsillitis) also have a higher chance of developing sleep apnea. This is thought to be caused by the narrowing of the airways and inflammation in the throat.

If you suffer from OSA, contact ApneaSeal today. We use innovative face mapping technology to create a sleep apnea mask that fits your nose and face perfectly. Each sleep apnea mask is custom made to ensure that you get a good night’s sleep.

sleep apnea myths

Five common sleep apnea myths

Sleep apnea (or sleep apnoea) is a condition that presents itself with a whole range of symptoms from loud and frequent snoring to insomnia, headaches and memory loss. Indeed, with such a wide range of possible symptoms, sufferers are likely to come across a number of myths and misconceptions while reading up on the condition. Fortunately, we’ve put together a sleep apnea myths busting guide to help you get to grips with the condition:

1: Sleep apnea is simply snoring and is ultimately harmless

While snoring is a very common symptom for those with sleep apnea, there is a big difference between the sleep disorder and a bout of snoring. People with sleep apnea can actually stop breathing up to 400 times during the night, with pauses lasting between 10 and 30 seconds. This pause usually results in a snort that breaks the sleep cycle and can leave sufferers feeling fatigued throughout the day.

2: Sleep apnea is a minor condition

While sleep apnea varies in severity from person to person, it has the potential to be very disruptive to a person’s life. Indeed, if left untreated the disorder can result in serious consequences such as fatigue-related injuries, heart attacks, car accidents, and strokes.

3: Only old folks get sleep apnea

While the chance of developing sleep apnea increases with age, it can affect anyone of any age. Generally speaking, risk factors include being male, overweight, and having a genetic history of the condition.

4: Alcohol will help me to sleep better

While alcohol often helps people to fall asleep more quickly, it reduces important rapid eye movement (or REM) sleep, and can actually worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.

5: A CPAP machine will make loud noises that will annoy me and my partner

While older CPAP machines may have produced some noise, the newest technological advances mean they are now much quieter. Ultimately, your partner will be far less bothered by the light whirrings of a CPAP machine than the snoring caused by the sleep apnea itself. They are also likely to sleep better in the knowledge that your condition is being treated and you are staving off many of the ill effects of sleep apnea.

about sleep apnea

About Sleep apnea – starting your treatment off right

Short of breath at night? Waking up irritable? Struggling with work and concentration? If you are having trouble with your sleep, it is worth taking the time to about sleep apnea and what to do if it is.

Sleep apnea – Where do I start if I think I have it?

If you have not yet been diagnosed, the first step is to talk with your health professional about sleep apnea. Most people that suffer with sleep apnea do not realise they are waking up throughout the night so writing down your symptoms such as gasping for air throughout the night, tiredness and irritability can help your health professional diagnose you early on.

Can I cure sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is not curable, however, there are effective treatments for the condition. CPAP is Continuous Positive Airway Pressure therapy and is successfully used to treat those with Obstructive Sleep Apnea by using a CPAP machine. The machine delivers mild air pressure into your lungs through a mask to keep your airways open to help you breathe.

What types of masks are there?

After receiving a diagnosis, the next step is to consider which mask you will use along with your CPAP machine. While there are many types of masks, the correct one for you will depend on the way you sleep and how you breathe. Regardless of which generic CPAP mask you choose, you may find the mask uncomfortable and it is common for them to take some getting used to.

Are there more comfortable mask solutions?

Considering the number of people who suffer from sleep apnea, most “one-size-fits-all” masks will not fit quite right due to the vast differences between bone and nasal structures. In order to ensure the right fit, patients can opt for custom made, 3D printed masks which groove perfectly with your facial structure and help produce greater results and ensure a comfortable fit from the start.

Of course, the number one goal of CPAP therapy is to ward off the dangers of sleep apnea, however, it is also essential that treatment does not negatively impact your lifestyle, relationships and comfort so take some time to choose the mask that moulds to your life.

Continue reading through our blog for more tips, FAQ’s and information on sleep apnea.

good nights sleep

A productive day starts with a good night’s sleep

Fatigue caused by the lack of a good night’s sleep is one of the key factors leading to reduced productivity in the workplace, and sleep apnea is a major cause of fatigue. Obstructive sleep apnea (or apnoea) is a sleep disorder where the throat closes fully or partially during sleep, often causing people to wake up many times over the course of the night. Often people don’t even realise that they have sleep apnea, but simply feel fatigued or possess a lack of focus.

Can a good night’s sleep lead to a more productive day?

Many sufferers of sleep apnea start the day feeling unrefreshed or even exhausted after a disturbed night of sleep and find it very difficult to concentrate on their activities. By the afternoon, the body’s circadian rhythms will be attempting to send the sufferer to sleep. When you start the day tired, your productivity suffers. Conversely, a good night’s sleep can help prepare you for a long and productive day and assist with concentration.

What happens if I am fatigued at work?

In addition to posing significant safety risks in certain operating environments, studies have shown that employees who do not get a good night’s sleep have significantly less productivity and workplace performance. Studies have also shown that productivity loss due to fatigue is a significant cost to employers, reducing their ability to grow. If you are tired at work, you will not be performing at your best, which reduces your ability to succeed.

How do I know if I have obstructive sleep apnea?

Loud and chronic snoring is a sign that you may have obstructive sleep apnea, particularly when combined with disturbed sleep and the feeling of waking up tired. The only way to diagnose OSA is to make an appointment to see your doctor and get a referral for a sleep study.

How do I fight the fatigue?

Luckily, there are some easy ways to treat sleep apnea, including using a CPAP machine (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure )which gently pushes air into the mouth and nose preventing the throat from collapsing during sleep. By using a CPAP, a sleep apnea sufferer can enjoy a much improved night sleep, which should lead to increased levels of productivity and motivation throughout the day.

losing weight

Can losing weight cure sleep apnea?

It is now well-established that sleep apnea (or apnoea) shares strong links with being overweight or obese. As such, it is only natural for those with the condition to question whether losing weight can assuage or even cure it.

However, while it may seem logical that addressing the issue that potentially led to sleep apnea should help reverse it, the reality is far more complex.

Sleep apnea actually makes losing weight more difficult

To lose weight effectively, a person usually needs to strike a good balance between adequate sleep, a healthy diet, and regular exercise. In this way, attempting to treat sleep apnea through diet and exercise alone may be highly problematic and, ultimately, frustrating. After all, untreated sleep apnea can cause endless restless nights.

Lack of sleep can cause far more serious health problems than simply being chronically tired. Indeed, being deprived of sleep can detrimentally alter the functions of one’s bodily tissues and hormonal profile. For instance, not getting enough sleep disrupts the hormones released by the body that are designed to control hunger.

Leptin, which controls how full you feel, can decrease, while ghrelin, which controls hunger, tends to increase. This can lead to a vicious cycle of binge eating on carbohydrates, sugars and unhealthy fats, particularly as being tired can affect one’s mental health and ability to exercise willpower.

To put this into perspective, a study written up by the Mayo Clinic actually found that adults sleeping 80 minutes less than usual increased their daily calorie intake by an average of 549 calories – not fantastic news if you want to lose weight.

CPAP therapy can help treat sleep apnea AND weight issues

As sleep apnea and weight issues are so closely intertwined, it is important that sufferers address both problems in tandem.

A CPAP machine is an effective way for sleep apnea sufferers to stop the periodic sleep disturbances caused by sleep apnea. Indeed, the condition can cause sufferers to stop breathing a number of times throughout the night, waking them up and lowering the average number of hours of sleep they achieve.

A CPAP machine can effectively apply pressure to a person’s airway, by way of a CPAP mask, allowing them to get enough oxygen throughout the night and, by extension, setting them up to succeed in their weight loss efforts.

Photo: diet plate by stockcatalog licensed under Creative Commons 4.0
mental wellbeing

How a bad night’s sleep negatively impacts your physical and mental wellbeing

Now, more than ever, the message being broadcasted by health professionals is that adequate and quality sleep is essential to our overall physical and mental wellbeing and longevity. The consequences are especially relevant for those who suffer from sleep apnea. A lack of diagnosis or failure to adhere to medically instructed use of a CPAP machine can result in a poorer quality of life and a reduction in life expectancy. Getting a quality eight hours of sleep a night is essential for the repair and regeneration of the mind and body. Here is how poor quality of sleep can impact the human mind and body.

Emotional capacity

Failure to obtain proper rest can lead to fatigue and irritability. This fatigue and irritability can disrupt the quality of your personal, social and work life. The accumulative effect of this could you lead to a decline in mental wellbeing and you being more susceptible to developing depression.

Impaired cognitive function

Common impairments to cognitive function resulting from a lack of sleep include a poor attention span, an inability to focus, slower reflexes, and forgetfulness. These symptoms can be a dangerous hazard in day to day life, however there are worse consequences associated with long-term sleep deprivation. Deeper states of sleep – which are frequently interrupted by sleep apnea – play a significant role in memory formation and mental wellbeing. It has been noted that a lack of adequate deep sleep is linked to lower spatial memory and increased chances of developing the degenerative diseases Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Cell regeneration

Not only does poor quality of sleep affect the brain and its function, but it also affects the cells throughout the body. Growth hormones are released during Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, and this hormone is responsible for regenerating muscles and cells throughout the body. Sleep apnea sufferers frequently experience disruption to their REM sleep due to their airways closing more during this phase of the sleep cycle. Moreover, the reduction in oxygen supply due to a restricted airway is suspected to enhance the development of metabolic syndrome, poor muscle tone, increased inflammation, and premature aging.