If you have a sleep apnea diagnosis, you’ve likely been instructed to wear an oral appliance every night or use CPAP to treat your condition. While this is a good start, making a few diet and lifestyle changes can benefit your condition even more. At Kuhn Dental Associates, we can help you find a comfortable oral appliance to wear at night while you also make the following diet and lifestyle changes.
Benefits of Lifestyle and Diet Changes
Before we jump into the types of lifestyle and diet changes you should make, it’s important to understand why you should make them. Sleep apnea is a serious sleep condition that can result in severe health consequences if left untreated.
By wearing an oral appliance every night and partaking in certain lifestyle changes, you can improve your condition and benefit your life in other ways.
It Can Help You Lose Weight
One of the first reasons why you should add diet and lifestyle changes to your sleep apnea treatment is to help you lose weight. Being overweight is usually a contributing factor or cause of sleep apnea. By reducing your weight, you can improve your condition and your overall health. Some people can even reverse their condition by losing enough weight.
You Will Sleep Better
The top reason people seek sleep apnea treatment is to get a better night of sleep. By making lifestyle and diet changes, you can get an even better night of sleep that will help you wake up full of energy, able to concentrate, and feeling your best self.
Your Overall Health Will Improve
By treating your sleep apnea, you will slowly start reducing the health risks associated with sleep apnea. This includes your risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, hypertension, and more.
Your Sleep Apnea Will Improve
Lastly, making diet and lifestyle changes on top of using an oral appliance will improve your condition! For some people, their condition might improve so much that they won’t require an oral appliance anymore.
Diet and Lifestyle Changes To Make
If you’re not sure why you should bother making diet and lifestyle changes, it’s because something in your lifestyle might be a contributing factor to your sleep apnea. By making these adjustments, you can improve your condition, wake up feeling more refreshed, and start living a healthier life.
One of the first lifestyle changes you should make when you have sleep apnea is completing regular exercise if you don’t already incorporate this habit into your daily routine. To benefit your heart health the most, you only need to get 150 minutes of moderate activity per week. This is equivalent to taking a 30-minute walk, 5 days per week. Taking regular walks and incorporating some type of strength training can benefit your heart, your waistline, and help you sleep better.
In addition to adding exercise into your daily routine, you should also try to eat foods with more nutritional value. For instance, increase your intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein and reduce your intake of added sugars, fried food, and processed foods. Healthier eating can reduce your blood pressure, help you sleep better, and lower your body weight.
Drinking alcohol can have a huge impact on your quality of sleep and especially impact your sleep apnea. Alcohol is a relaxant which means when you drink it, your muscles relax. This includes the muscles in your upper airway. As the muscles relax, they can obstruct your airway and contribute to sleep apnea. Alcohol can also impact your sleep cycle and cause you to wake up throughout the night. We recommend limiting your alcohol intake to improve your quality of sleep.
On the flip side of smoking, nicotine is a stimulant. Nicotine can make you feel more alert so if you smoke before you go to bed, you might have difficulty falling and staying asleep. In addition, smoking can impact your lungs and cause your upper airway to become irritated, and even damage the muscles in the upper airway. Each of these factors can make your sleep apnea significantly worse or be the initial cause. Not to mention, smoking can also cause other health issues.
Use a Humidifier
One easy lifestyle change you can make to improve your sleep apnea is using a humidifier. A humidifier will moisturize the nasal passages which can prevent the respiratory tract from becoming congested.
Wear an Oral Appliance
This last lifestyle and diet change is definitely the most important. Wearing your oral appliance will be key to helping your body get a restful night of sleep so that you have the energy you need during the day to exercise and make healthier food choices.
Get Treatment For Sleep Apnea in Pinehurst
If you’re unhappy with your current sleep apnea treatment or think you need one, our dentists at Kuhn Dental Associates might be able to help. Please give us a call at (910) 692-4450 to find out if oral appliance therapy for sleep apnea in Pinehurst is right for you.