Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which blockage in the respiratory tract causes breathing to stop briefly while you sleep. You may have sleep apnea if you snore loudly and you feel tired even after a full night’s sleep. Symptoms of sleep apnea are:
- Attention problems
- Dry mouth and sore throat
- Waking up gasping for air
- Headache upon waking up
The link between sleep apnea and tooth decay: People that suffer from sleep apnea usually sleep with their mouth open, which will dry up the saliva and cause dry mouth and sore throat. Salvia is important because it has a protective effect on the teeth. It regulates the acidity of the mouth helping to protect against bacterial infection. Bacteria are present in plaque and they cause damage by releasing acids that breakdown the protective enamel of the tooth. In the absence of saliva, in the case of dry mouth, the teeth are less well protected against the bacteria that can cause tooth decay.
The ancient healing system of Ayurveda comes to the rescue offering some simple home remedies to tackle sleep apnea.
- Black pepper powder is used to treat respiratory blockages. Drink before bedtime while hot: One glass of hot water with 1 teaspoon of black pepper and 1 teaspoon of honey, mixed well.
- Cinnamon powder helps to open blockages that cure sleep apnea. Mix well 3 teaspoons with hot water. Drink it at anytime during the day. You can also make a paste of 3 teaspoons of cinnamon powder mixed well with 1 tablespoon of water. Apply this paste in the forehead, chest or any other area that you feel congested.
- Nasyam (nasal drops) is an Ayurvedic treatment used for sleep apnea. It lubricates the nose, cleanses the sinuses and alleviates headaches and allergies symptoms. It also delays aging and improves voice, vision, and mental clarity. Our nose is the door to the brain, so nasal drops nourishes prana (life force) and brings on intelligence. I recommend Nasya Oil from Banyan Botanicals. Follow the steps below in order to benefit from this amazing Ayurvedic treatment:
- In the morning lying face up, head back by lifting the chin up, apply 2 drops of room temperature coconut or Nasya oil, into each nostril.
- Sniff it and breath in.
- Close right nostril inhale and exhale, close left nostril inhale and exhale
- Turn the head to the right inhale and exhale, turn to opposite side inhale and exhale.
- Don’t swallow mouth content. Spit it out. Gargle with water 3 times then spit it out.
- Breathing exercises also called Pranayama can alleviate the symptoms of sleep apnea. The breathing exercises strengthen and tone the upper airway muscles making you to breath easily. It also reduces stress and frees the mind from negativity. Start this practice under the guidance of a well-trained yoga instructor or schedule a consultation with me so we can go over the best technique for you.
- Achieve your proper body weight by eating healthy! Obesity is a common cause for the onset of the condition. Eat a balance diet with whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice and millet, lean organic protein, a variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables and omega 3 rich foods such as turmeric, wild-caught salmon and flaxseeds that contain anti-inflammatory properties. Eat 4-5 walnuts per day as they improve breathing
- Be physically active! Since obesity is a common cause of sleep apnea, losing the extra pounds can manage the condition. Be more physically active! Walking for 30 minutes or three short walks of 10 minutes per day is a good start for beginners. Dancing, swimming or jogging are also fun ways to slim down!
- Hydrate yourself! Drink enough water, preferably at room temperature and/or caffeine free tea, throughout the day. This habit will prevent blockages and nasal obstruction. Different people have different fluid needs, generally 2 liters is a good amount for most people.
- Avoid: White sugar and highly processed foods, such as sugary cereals, cookies and sodas. These foods make you put on weight and are usually calorie empty (they provide calories but no nutrition). Obesity, as said, is a common cause for the onset of sleep apnea.
- Lavender: In a tea form or in your bath, this herb will help you to sleep better because of its calming effect. For the tea use 1 tbsp of dried or fresh buds into a cup of hot water using a reusable tea bag. For a relaxing bath add ¼ cup of dried lavender flowers to your bathtub. You can also use few drops of lavender essential oil mixed with 1 tbsp of carrier oil, such as coconut oil or your favorite lotion, for a relaxing self-massage.
Not sleeping properly can make you feel lethargic and miserable during the day instead of feeling your best! Schedule a consultation with me and we can go over your unique nutritional needs, which can help you to achieve your normal body weight, have more energy and a more restful night sleep. These practices will make you feel energized to do the things that makes you happy!
The instructions are not medical treatments, and no diagnosis will be made. The services provided are therapeutic, yet they are not replacement of any physician’s care when indicated.
Anamaria Pontes is a Registered Nutritionist and Ayurveda Therapist. She will empower and guide you to develop a sound and nurturing relationship with food and physical activity in order to achieve optimal health. Anamaria integrates the ancient knowledge of Ayurveda,Western Medical Nutrition Therapy and fitness. Her counseling supports longevity and will advise you on how to restore vitality and realize enduring well-being.