Objective Sleep Apnoea or OSA is a sleep disorder that affects around 34% of Australians, 25% of those are men over the age of 35. Common symptoms of objective sleep apnoea include; weight gain, severe snoring, night-time restlessness and confusion, morning headaches, and daytime tiredness.
OSA occurs when the muscles within your mouth and throat relax too much or are tensed, causing the airway to become blocked or restricted. Your natural defences kick in, and the brain registers that there is a breathing obstruction, rousing the sleeper to reopen the airways – usually signalled by a large gasp, snort or choking breath.
Sever objective sleep apnoea suffers can micro-wake as many as 30 times an hour, however, many patients are unaware that they have the condition and will often feel unrested regardless of the amount of sleep they have.
There is a range of treatments for OSA, dependent on the severity of the condition. For moderate to high cases, the recommended treatment is generally CPAP – Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. CPAP is a form of pressure ventilator that continuously applies air pressure, keeping the airways open and unobstructed.
For mild cases of objective sleep apnoea, there are lifestyle and natural treatments that studies have shown to reduce symptoms in some sufferers.
• Weight Loss
OSA is more common in people who struggle with excessive weight. Eating well and exercising has shown to not only help with weight management and sleep disorders such as objective sleep apnoea but also promote healthy heart and brain function and boosts our immune system.
• Adjusting Sleeping Position
Back sleeping has shown to increase the severity of OSA in many patients. When you sleep on your back, it causes the throat muscles to tighten, thus restricting airways which worsens symptoms. Sleeping in a foetal, side position has shown to reduce symptoms of objective sleep apnoea as well as frequent snoring.
Some studies also show that elevating your head and neck (so the chin is pointed upwards not down towards the chest) reduces the number of OSA incidents per night.
• Vitamin D
The wonder vitamin, improves energy levels, protects our cells and promotes immune health, enhancing our bodies ability to fight illnesses. Many sufferers of objective sleep apnoea have low levels of Vitamin D in their blood, suggesting an increase in Vitamin D will assist in reducing both night and day time symptoms of OSA.
The anti-inflammatory properties turmeric is so famous for, have shown to relieve muscle tension in the mouth, throat and nasal passages. With these muscles relaxed, the air can pass without the tightness restrictions, this in turns lowers the risk of gasping and choking while asleep.
In one study on a 55-year-old male, after changing his diet and adding turmeric into his daily supplement intake, he no longer needed to treat his objective sleep apnoea with a CPAP device.
Magnesium is the go-to mineral when it comes to muscle and brain relaxation. Studies have been conducted to see if there is a correlation between magnesium deficiencies and OSA, as many sufferers often present with a significantly low level of magnesium.
On a physical level, magnesium relaxes muscles and reduces tension by increasing blood circulation. It also works on a chemical level in the brain by activating the parasympathetic nervous system, the system responsible for getting you calm and relaxed.
Making small lifestyle changes, and adding Turmeric, Magnesium and Vitamin D to your diet will not only provide an array of health benefits but may also assist in relieving the symptoms of objective sleep apnoea.