An estimated 22 million people are suffering from sleep apnea throughout the United States, many of which are still undiagnosed. When was the last time you could really sleep in peace? For some of us, it was before we had children. Some may say it was last week. Others may not even remember the last time they got a good night’s rest.
A proper night’s sleep is vital to your overall health and wellness because many sleep disorders can be extremely dangerous for your health. AlignLife doctors throughout the United States can help patients with sleep apnea and sleep disorders through a combination of wellness and lifestyle changes. There is hope for you and the many others affected by this.
Sleep Disorders, Sleep Apnea and the Causes Behind Them
Seventy-five percent of Americans between the ages of 20-59 report regular sleep problems. Not only does lack of sleep cause a physical life effect, but it also causes a mental and emotional effect as well.
But what are some of the key causes or contributing factors of sleep disorders?
For many, weight gain and obesity are critical contributing factors. Toxicity and acidity in the body due to poor diet and environmental factors have been the number one reason for sleep apnea for years. But recently, a new player has emerged as the major contributing factor which is electromagnetic frequency radiation. This is related to wireless technology such as cell phones and the signals they receive from Wi-Fi.
Magnesium and other mineral deficiencies are also common problems for people with insomnia and sleep apnea. Magnesium has been shown to help those with restless leg syndrome log more quality sleep time as well as increase the neurotransmitter GABA in the brain. GABA is responsible for slowing your thinking down and helping you fall asleep. Most people also aren’t aware that Vitamin D, Calcium, Silica and Selenium are the minerals needed for the tissue in your throat for stiffness. When they are deficient the throat becomes flaccid, reducing the airway passage.
Posture is another contributing factor. The nose knows and the ribs follow. What is meant by this is that posture plays a huge role as it is a reflexive action of how strong our brain is. When we have low tone in the brain, the muscles that support the head and neck become tight and pull the head forward. Forward head posture not only causes tension in the upper back muscles but a loss of airway because you lose the vital curve in your neck. Rounding of the shoulders also prevents your ribs from expanding properly. Our ribs are designed to pull oxygen into our lungs for survival. The brain accounts for 20% of oxygen use.
Why Your Daytime Oxygen Level is Important to Your Sleep
A decrease in oxygen flow during the day makes you hypoxic (lack of oxygen) leading to an acidic state in your body, essentially increasing the fight or flight state. This is dangerous because our body naturally drops its oxygen saturation rate by 4% from the hours of 4 a.m. – 7 a.m. which is the time most cardiac events occur. So waking up all night is your brain’s way of keeping you alive.
Lifestyle Changes Can Help with Sleep Quality
A case report from June 2011 in The Journal of Chiropractic Medicine found that a dramatic change in sleep habits took place within 3 months of initiating anti-inflammatory lifestyle changes. Some of those changes made during the study included “a significant increase in vegetable consumption, as well as lean meats and omega-3 eggs. Foods containing a high concentration of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids were avoided, such as corn and other vegetable/seed oils, as well as foods made with corn and wheat flour. The consumption of junk food snacks and soft drinks was reduced to an occasional occurrence. The patient also made a conscious effort to “slow down when eating” and was mindful of feelings of fullness, so as not to overeat.”
Healthy living benefits the patient noted included:
- Sexual improvement with increased desire and pleasure despite a steady decline before lifestyle changes.
- Increased energy and stamina during activities of daily living and exercise.
- Increased positive mental attitude and mental body image, increased optimism, decreased frustration and decreased mood swings, better mental capabilities and clarity.
- Improved quality of life and ability to pursue activities of daily living and hobbies such as hiking, backpacking, and sleeping on his lake boat.
- Increased agility and balance. Walking steep uneven grades when hiking had improved.
- General increased feeling of well-being.
- Felt more refreshed, lighter, and in tune with his body.
- The patient felt better rested in the morning than he did despite surgery, during CPAP device use, and even before CPAP use.
- After 3 months of adhering to an anti-inflammatory lifestyle, the patient was able to completely eliminate using the CPAP device, despite 10 years of prior dependence.
Another case study in the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research, Volume 2014 states that “after being under corrective chiropractic care and dietary modification for 3 months, the patient experienced an increase in energy, decreased daytime drowsiness, and improvement in other health conditions. He was also able to sleep throughout the night without the use of the CPAP machine.”
Ways to Improve Your Sleep with a CPAP
- Get your soft tissue tested. Make an appointment with your dentists to have your soft tissue assessed by a dentist with a diplomate. You may need to be fitted for an appliance to open up your airway.
- Talk with your doctor about a sleep study. For those over the age of 45, a routine sleep study should become part of your annual health check-up.
- Visit a chiropractor. Yes, really!! Breathing is a complex neurologic action that supersedes all musculoskeletal issues. Remove the nerve interference and restore the curve in your neck. This along with proper rib function will have a dramatic impact your quality of life. If anything, do it for but those you care about most because your poor sleep impacts them, too!
- Make some healthy lifestyle changes to your diet and exercise routine. Avoid the consumption of refined sugar, refined grains, and whole grains in favor of more nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory foods such as vegetables, fruits, lean meats, fish, skinless chicken, omega-3 eggs, and nuts. Also, work on increasing your activity levels. Start with simple exercises like walking or beginner exercises to help stabilize and strengthen your core. Then, slowly increase the intensity.
- Modify Your Sleep Position. If you are suffering from sleep apnea, you may be better off sleeping on your side or stomach to keep your airway open. This is especially important if you have lost the normal curvature in your spine or if you are overweight. Both factors can decrease your airway and aggravate your apnea.
Supplements to help you sleep
Adding some key nutrients and minerals to your diet can also help with sleep. Magnesium is your body’s go-to mineral as it is responsible for helping your body relax. 5-HTP helps your body further relax as your body naturally converts it to serotonin – a chemical messenger for your brain – that helps promote feelings of well-being and happiness. Turmeric offers many anti-inflammatory benefits. And Vitamin D has many widespread benefits including helping immune function and overall sleep quality.
AlignLife recommends Aceva products for all your supplement needs because they only use high-quality ingredients that are also clinically researched. Aceva also offers Relax & Calm, a unique 2-in-1 formula to help with stress and sleep. Relax & Calm is 100% hormone-free and features magnesium as one of its key ingredients. Clinical studies show that the ingredients found in Relax & Calm often works faster than common sleep aids and anti-anxiety drugs without negative side effects.
Bottom line, sleep is important to your overall health. If you’re struggling in this area, start a conversation with your local AlginLife doctor or primary care provider on what you can do to improve the quality of your sleep.