Health - Wake up to sleep Apnea
Do you have sleep apnea?Here are the symptoms of sleep apnea.
• Loud, irregular snoring, then quiet periods of at least 10 seconds when breathing stops. These episodes can happen up to 100 times each
Mumbai housewife Kamala Chari’s 79-year-old mother-in-law could not sleep due to her obstructive sleep apnea. Even a continuous positive airway machine could not help beyond a point. “It was at this stage that I decided to approach Dr Philiph Martis, a homeopath who layers his practice with some alternative therapies,” explains Kamala Chari. “A few weeks later, we see a lot of improvement in her condition. She is sleeping well and her energy levels are improving steadily. She has started using the machine again. I am sure she will be completely cured soon.”
What is sleep apnea?
People suffering from sleep apnea stop breathing for short periods while they are asleep. This can, in extreme cases, lead to death. Despite the inturruption in breathing, people who have this condition generally don’t wake up. However, in the morning, they are fatigued from lack of rest and continue to feel sleepy through the day. Sleep apnea can be caused by a blocked upper airway (obstructive apnea), by your brain not signalling your lungs to breathe (central apnea), or by a combination of the two (complex apnea).
Many physical conditions like obesity, enlarged tonsils and adenoids, high blood pressure and diabetes can cause sleep apnea. The typical person with sleep apnea is an overweight, middle-aged man with allergies. But apnea can occur at any age and in women as well. Sometimes, drugs like sleeping pills, and heart medications can trigger sleep apnea. The condition could also be inherited. People with sleep apnea often go to the doctor because they feel tired all the time or because their partner complains about their snoring. Your healthcare provider will check your weight and blood pressure and ask about allergies. You may be given a device to gauge your oxygen levels while you sleep. Your healthcare provider may also refer you to a sleep clinic for overnight testing. Sometimes, your doctor may request X-rays, computed tomography scans (CTs), or magnetic resonance imaging scans (MRIs) to see what is blocking your airway.
The course of treatment for sleep apnea depends on what is blocking your airway, how severe your sleep apnea is, and other conditions or medical problems you may have. The most effective treatment for the condition is continuous positive airway pressure created by a machine attached to a mask that blows air through your airway to keep it open.
Wearing some dental appliances may help push the lower jaw forward thus keeping the tongue from obstructing the airway. These may be uncomfortable until you get used to them.
In severe cases, surgery may be necessary, but often all it takes is undertaking lifestyle changes like losing weight. The following lifestyle changes may help those who suffer from obstructive apnea.
• Lose weight. This may cause your sleep apnea to go away entirely
• Limit use of alcohol, antihistamines, or tranquillisers
• Get treatment for allergies, colds or sinus problems
• Gargle with salt water (without swallowing) to shrink your tonsils
• Develop regular sleep habits, and ensure you get enough sleep at night
• Sleep on your side rather than your back, or with your body elevated from the waist up. You can use foam wedges to raise your upper body. Soft pillows, which tend to make apnea worse by pushing the chin toward the chest, should not be used
• Use an air humidifier at night
• Don’t smoke or expose yourself to other irritants, such as dust or perfumes
• Raise the head of your bed by placing bricks under the headboard
Yoga and pranayam
Shameem Akhtar, a yoga expert, says sleep apnea can be treated with yoga. “In extreme cases, where one has heart trouble or pain during practice due to cervical spondylosis or even vertigo, the therapy must be personalised. In other chronic cases, as with sleep apnea, where the episodes happen during the night, regular yoga practice from one hour to 90 minutes a day alleviates the problem,” says Akhtar, who points to obesity as one of the main culprits. “Having a proper weight loss programme will help. A yoga regimen with weight loss in mind should be started immediately to maximise results,” Akhtar added.
Research has pointed to the connection between depression, serotonin (feel good hormone) release, cortisol (stress hormone) and sleep apnea. “Depression can be controlled through a proper diet and yoga programme. Yogic routines like kapalabhati, bhastrika, dhanu or bow pose and surya namaskars would help. De-stressing through an active meditative practice like visualisation tapes and inner silence meditation also also beneficial,” Akhtar said.
Pranayama practices are of particular help in treating sleep apnea. “Learnt in a phased manner, pranayama would regulate nervous control and build up oxygen reserves so the body utilises breath efficiently, thus working on the heart of the condition that causes sleep apnea,” said Akhtar.
• Diet – try eliminating mucus-producing foods (such as bananas) for two weeks, then reintroduce them to see if you notice any difference in sleepiness or other symptoms
• To lose weight, eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, along with whole grains and low-fat dairy. Limit the amount of saturated fat (found in meats, butter, and processed foods) and instead use healthier fats like olive and canola oil
• Regular exercise helps you lose weight. If you are not used to exercising, start slowly and build up to the goal of 30 minutes a day for at least five days a week. An ideal exercise programme includes aerobic activity (walking, swimming, biking), strength training (lifting weights), and flexibility (stretching)
Alternative therapist Dr Kapadia says he treated 29-year-old HR professional Anand Firwani, who was unable to sleep till 2 am with Bach flower remedies. Sleep apnea is a potentially fatal condition but treating it is simply about making certain lifestyle changes under the guidance of a doctor or therapist. Homoeopathy too is known to help.
Other alternative approaches
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is a simple and effective self-treatment that works with innumerable emotional and physical issues. Please go to www.eftuniverse.com to download a free manual and learn how to apply EFT on yourself.
Conscious healing: It is always essential to keep in mind that nothing is writ in stone; certainly not our ailments. Spirituality and science both testify that matter is only a dense form of energy and is therefore fully capable of dissolution. Know that sleep apnea is not a real part of who you are. You are wholeness, harmony, perfection and completion. Visualise yourself free of sleep apnea and in time that will be the reality. Affirmations will help too. Good luck and good night!
|HOME | SUBSCRIBE | WALLPAPERS | ADVERTISING | POLICY | PRACTITIONERS | WRITERS | PEOPLE | ABOUT | CONTACT|