Are you waking up tired, cranky, and headachy more nights of the week than not?
Do others in your household tell you that you snore loudly, or that you gasp for air during the night?
Are you experiencing exhaustion, forgetfulness, or mood swings during the day?
If this describes your experience, you may very well be struggling to get enough air during sleep. This common – and treatable – sleep disorder is called sleep apnea, and is medically defined by the Merriam-Webster as:
“Brief periods of recurrent cessation of breathing during sleep that is caused especially by obstruction of the airway or a disturbance in the brain’s respiratory center and is associated especially with excessive daytime sleepiness.”
- Snoring—especially loud snoring
- Others reporting that you stop breathing during your sleep, and the gasp yourself awake
- Waking up with a dry mouth
- Waking up with a headache
- Struggling to stay asleep (insomnia)
- Excessive fatigue and daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)
- Inability to focus or concentrate well while awake
- Irritability and crankiness
There are currently three different types of sleep apnea:
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
This happens when the muscle tone in the throat decreases to the point that the soft tissue at the back of the throat collapses repetitively, obstructing the airway. The oxygen level goes down in your blood, signaling the brain to wake you up. You may snort or gasp, or choke lightly, and then fall back asleep again. In OSA, this can happen from 5-30 times an hour, which interrupts your sleep patterns and impairs your ability to reach the deeper stages of sleep so necessary for replenishment and restoration.
Other risk factors:
- Smoking– If you smoke, you’re three times more likely to develop OSA.
- Being Male-Men are affected 2-3 times more than women. After menopause, the numbers even out more, and then age becomes a factor.
- Nasal Congestion– Any type of difficulty in breathing through the nose, (such as allergies) increases your chance of developing OSA.
- Heart or Kidney Failure– fluid builds up in the neck area and obstructs the airway. In children, obstructive sleep apnea is primarily due to enlarged tonsils or adenoid glands.
Central Sleep Apnea
Central sleep apnea is due to an instability in the brain’s respiratory control center. This means that there are interruptions in the brain’s ability to signal the muscles to breathe, so the sleeping person simply “forgets to breathe” for a few seconds.
Possible causes of this type of apnea include: endocrine disorders like hypothyroidism, acromegaly, polycystic ovary syndrome, neuromuscular conditions, stroke, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Chiari malformations, myotonic dystrophy, post-polio syndrome, dermatomyositis, myasthenia gravis, and Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome; and/or genetic disorders.
Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome
Prevalence and Concerns
These numbers are staggering when you consider the following:
- “A neuroimaging study in the journal Sleepfound that participants with severe, untreated sleep apnea had a significant reduction in white matter fiber integrity in multiple brain areas, which was accompanied by impairments to cognition, mood and daytime alertness.”
- “People that are afflicted with sleep apnea face a steep increase in chances of being part of a traffic accident. Due to the sleeplessness and lack of ability to concentrate that are associated with apnea, sufferers are six times more likely to die in a car accident.”
- “Both hypertensionand diabetesincrease the risk for heart disease, and the likelihood of being diagnosed with one of these illnesses increases as a result of OSA.”
- Increased chances for heart disease, stroke,diabetes mellitus, and premature death.
- “The bed mate of a person with untreated obstructive sleep apnea can lose a serious amount of sleep! Due to the breathing and gasping of the apnea sufferer, the bed mate loses up to an hour per night of sleep.”
- Sleep apnea shows significant association with psychiatric conditions:
- 8% with depression
- 7% with anxiety
- 9% of PTSD
- 1% with psychosis
- 3% with bipolar disorders
Diagnosis and Medical Treatment
Sleep apnea can be a tricky thing, as not everyone who snores has the condition, and sometimes those who don’t snore at all can actually be suffering from apnea. According to the Mayo Clinic,if you have any of the signs or symptoms of sleep apnea as listed in the section above, or any ongoing sleep disturbance that leaves you sleepy, fatigued, and irritable during your day, it’s time to talk to your doctor.
The Diagnosis Process
Once you talk to your doctor about your symptoms, an evaluation will be made as to whether you need to visit a sleep clinic for further evaluation. She may also refer you to an ear/nose/throat specialist to rule out any physical blockages, a cardiac specialist, and/or a neurologist if she suspects you are suffering from central or complex sleep apnea.
Once you have been diagnosed, you may be treated for allergies, put on a weight loss diet, and/or a program to quit smoking, depending on your personal history and circumstances. For more advanced cases of sleep apnea, you may need a CPAP machine.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure(CPAP)
This is the most common treatment for sleep apnea, and involves wearing a mask to bed that delivers enough air pressure while asleep to keep the upper breathing passages open. Whle many people don’t care for the bulky mask, there are new and lighter masks coming on to the market which make it easier and more comfortable to wear.
These may be made available to you through your dentist. They are hardware you wear at night in the mouth which keeps the throat open by bringing the jaw slightly forward. This method requires repeated visits to the dentist over the first year to make sure the fit is correct and comfortable.
- Tissue removal– This includes the removal of tonsils, adenoids, and also tissue from the back of the mouth and upper throat.
- Tissue shrinkage– This is accomplished using energy, and is called radiofrequency ablation. While this is a newer method, it has been found ot have less impact than tissue removal.
- Jaw repositioning– In this procedure, the jaw is brought slightly forward from the rest of the face in oder to create more space at the back of the throat.
- Implants– This involves surgically implanting plastic rods into the soft palate.
- Nerve stimulation– This is a stimulator implanted in the soft tissue that affects the movements of the tongue and keeps it from falling to the back of the throat during sleep.
- Tracheostomy– If all else fails, this emergency and life saving technique is used to open a hole in the throat so that air can come directly to the windpipe if the upper passages are blocked. During the day, the hole is covered, and then uncovered for sleep.
Complimentary and Alternative Holistic Healing Therapies
In an effort to find relief from sleep apnea, many people choose to diet on their own, without supervision from a doctor. Indeed, weight loss can greatly relieve the symptoms of sleep apnea—even eliminate it altogether. Dr. Axe suggests the following dieting strategy for sleep apnea:
- Eat a high fiber diet– This means lots of veggies! Also high in fiber: fruit, nuts, seeds, legumes, and ancient grains.
- Use healthy fats– coconut oil, avocado and avocado oil, and good quality olive oil, to name a few.
- Eat good quality protein– such as pastured eggs and wild caught fish
- Use adaptogen herbs– These are herbs which bring greater overall balance to the body and help us better handle stress.Some adaptogenic herbs are ginseng, maca, and rhodiola.
Avoide Alcohol, Smoking, and Sedatives
Smokers are three times more likely to have sleep apnea.Also, both smoking and alcohol consumption increase inflammation and fluid retention in the upper airways.Both alcohol and sedatives—even over the counter sleep aids—can relax the back of the throat and cause more problems to those already struggling with sleep apnea.
Treat Acide Reflux, Congestion, Coughs, and Allergies
Other Holistic Healing Therapies That Can Be Done at Home:
- Use a Humidifier at Night
- Change Your Sleep Position
- Use a Snore Guard
- Aromatherapy and Essential Oils such as grapefruit, cinnamon, and ginger, which can help control appetite, regulate hormones, and ease digestive issues.
The Trivedi Effect
The Trivedi Effect is a new phenomenon founded by Guruji Mahendra Trivedi. He has the extraordinary ability to harness and transmit Life Force Energy directly from nature to anyone, anywhere in the world.
It is! It is also scientifically documented in well over 4000 research experiments in labs across the world, using the most sophisticated equipment available on the planet today. Scientists around the world are amazed, for these experiments have been done with many different things: fruits trees and plants of all kinds, in vitro experiments with viruses and bacteria, even plastics and polymers. Everything this Healing Energy comes in contact with can be uplifted in some way for a higher purpose. Further, the results of these experiments have been published in over 350 peer-reviewed journals.
So what exactly is Life Force Energy, and what can it mean for someone struggling with sleep apnea—or any sleep disorder or other imbalance for that matter?
Life Force Energy is the vital enegy within nature. It is the governing organizational and energetic architecture of life. When a person is aligned more deeply with this governing energy, one of the things that people start to notice is that they are sleeping like they haven’t slept since they were children.
Deep, rejuvenating, refreshing, and satisfying sleep.
It is how we are designed by nature, so when we receive this Life Force Energy, we absorb, take in, and are nurtured by it and we shift. We come closer to that inner alignment, that organic energetic architecture of our true design.
Further, there are such rich benefits that come from receiving this wonderful energy! Not only do we sleep better, but any and all areas of life may also realign from struggle and conflict into ease and harmony. We may be challenged to make some changes in our life in order to flow with this intelligent energy—for we may be stuck in the wrong job, the wrong living environment, the wrong belief systems. However, when we respect this higher intelligence and trust in its plan for us, life changes for the better in every way! We change for the better in every way! And often, the first thing to change for the better? Our sleep.
Slowik JM, Collen JF. Obstructive Sleep Apnea. [Updated 2019 Jan 21]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2019 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK459252/