Lifestyle Modifications

Things that you can do to help with sleep apnea.Weight Loss can help to decrease your risk for sleep apnea.  Excessive abdominal weight results in an inability for your diaphragm to effectively move air while you sleep.  The chest muscles are recruited to help in breathing.  These muscles are quite strong and result in a forceful movement of air.  Snoring develops from the excessive movement of the soft palate and uvula.  If the flow is great enough or the muscles relaxed enough, the tongue can fall back into the throat, blocking the airway.

Reducing the size of your neck via weight loss can also help to reduce airway collapse.   When you lie on your back, gravity can reduce respiration especially as the muscles become relaxed.  Decreasing your neck size will reduce the chance of airway obstruction.  Fat cells in the neck increase the weight of the neck and likelihood of collapse.  A neck size of 17 inch in a male and 16 inch in a female results in a greater risk for sleep apnea.

Alcohol consumption will increase the risk of sleep apnea.  As a sedative it results in excessive relaxation of our muscles.  This increased neuromuscular flaccidity adds to the collapse of the tongue and neck during sleep.  Excessive consumption can also result in weight gain and further reduction in airflow.  Smoking results in increased inflammation of the tissues of the upper airway.  The Larynx and Trachea become swollen and can restrict the flow of air.  Nicotine causes paralysis of the tinny cilia that moves the mucous through the lungs and sinus.  This will also lead to an increased in respiratory resistance.  Therefore, smoking is a risk factor for sleep apnea.  Quitting will reduce your risk.

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