Sleep is vital part of our daily routine.  While sleeping, the brain is constantly forming neurological pathways necessary for learning, memory and daily functions.  Without the proper amount of sleep, it is difficult to focus and can change overall mood patterns.  One of the most common reasons for lack of sleep is obstructive sleep apnea.  A recent study conducted that over 25 million Americans have been diagnosed with sleep apnea. (3)

What is sleep apnea?  There are two types of sleep apnea obstructive and central. The most common form being obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).  This condition occurs due to throat muscles relaxing during sleep.  When the muscles relax, the soft tissue of the soft palate collapses and blocks the airway. (1) This can lower the oxygen level in the body. The brain will then wake you up from sleeping, so that the airway opens up to allow more oxygen in.  Most of the time, people don’t even know they awoke during the night.  However, those brief periods of awakening prevent the ability to reach REM sleep and cause drowsiness the next day. (6)

Central sleep apnea (CSA) is less common. CSA occurs when the brain fails to signal the breathing muscles. (3)  This is different than OSA where the muscles are relaxing; the muscles with CSA are not receiving the signal to facilitate breathing.  CSA has the same symptoms as obstructive sleep apnea, in that they wake up in the middle of sleep to take in oxygen.  CSA is more commonly seen in people who have been diagnosed with heart failure. (4)

How does one know if they are experiencing sleep apnea?  Those that have obstructive and central sleep apnea experience the following signs and symptoms (3):

•      Excessive daytime sleepiness
•      Loud snoring
•      Episodes of breathing cessation while sleeping
•      Abrupt awakenings during the night
•      Awakening with dry mouth or sore throat
•      Headaches that are present in the morning
•      Insomnia
•      Attention problems.

Sleep apnea can affect just about anyone. However, there are certain characteristics that can increase your risk factors for sleep apnea.  Those include the following but are not limited to (4):

•    Excess Weight
•    Neck circumference
•    Narrowed airway
•    Male
•    Older than 60 years of age
•    Family history
•    African American
•    Use of alcohol, sedatives or tranquilizers.
•    Smoking
•    Nasal congestions

What can we do to nutritionally to help reduce chances of sleep apnea?  It is very important to maintain a healthy diet and supplement regime. Generally, the population that is most likely affected by sleep apnea are considered to be overweight or obese. It is important to maintain a healthy balanced diet that includes proper protein, carbohydrates and fats. (1)

Included in the daily routine should be at least 1 quart of clean water for every 50 pounds of body weight, but not to go over 3 quarts of water a day. Avoidance of dairy products is important as they contribute to airway inflammation and swelling.  Temporary avoidance of foods high in serotonin, such as avocados, bananas, nuts and turkey may also be helpful. (1)  Nutrition is important but so is reducing the amount of smoking, alcohol and sedatives used in the day to day activities.

Make sure to get tested first to make sure you are on the right supplement and nutrition program. By getting a comprehensive blood panel and tissue mineral analysis performed by an experience healthcare professional, an individualize program can be compiled for you to prepare you for your new healthy lifestyle.  That way you won’t have to guess what you may need to eat or supplements that you should be on.  You can take the guesswork out by getting tested objectively.  Don’t wait, stop by our office today!

1 .”Best Diets for Sleep Apnea: What You Should (and Should Not) Eat!” Apnea Treatment Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 July 2015.
2. “The Importance of Sleep | NIH MedlinePlus the Magazine.” U.S National Library of Medicine. U.S. National Library of Medicine, Summer 2012. Web. 29 July 2015.
3 .Javaheri, Shahrokh, MD. “Medscape Log In.” Medscape Log In. N.p., 2005. Web. 28 July 2015.
4 .McLaughlin, August. “Foods That Help Sleep Apnea.” LIVESTRONG.COM. LIVESTRONG.COM, 18 Dec. 2013. Web. 31 July 2015.
5. “Obstructive Sleep Apnea.” AADSM. N.p., 29 July 2015. Web. 29 July 2015.
6. “Sleep Apnea.” – Mayo Clinic. N.p., 29 July 2015. Web. 29 July 2015.