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Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Snoring and Sleep Apnea are no joke

Snoring is considered by many to be something that is worth joking about and not taken too seriously. Anyone who sleeps in close proximity to a loud snorer every night knows that snoring is definitely no joke. Snoring greatly affects the quality of life of the snorer and the unlucky person beside the snorer wishing for a proper night’s sleep. If we are snoring every night we are not getting a deep, restful sleep. A proper night’s sleep is vital to our health and well being.

Sleep Apnea is a dangerous condition that occurs when we hold our breath repeatedly during the night putting enormous stress on our hearts and bodies in general. Each apnea is dangerous to our vital organs such as our heart and our brain. A lifetime of waking up exhausted is the result of un-diagnosed sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea increases our risk of stroke, heart attack and high blood pressure. At the moment the only option being given to those who experience Sleep Apnea is the use of a CPAP machine. This causes a great inconvenience in their lives. Having to wear a mask over one’s face every night with a machine working away at the bedside is not a lot of fun!

The good news is that there is a way to greatly reduce or even prevent snoring and sleep apnea. Many people snore loudly for years and then go on at a later date to develop sleep apnea. The common denominator is that loud snorers and those who experience sleep apnea do not have calm, regular, easy breathing through their noses when they are asleep. The majority of snorers breathe large volumes of air through their mouth when sleeping. Many of them wake up with dry mouths and tired minds.

It is possible, with a bit of work and perseverance to reduce snoring and sleep apnea. The key is to train ourselves to breathe less, to get our breathing volume down. We can help ourselves move away from a lifetime of snoring and sleep apnea by beginning with a few simple steps.

(a) Pay attention to how we are breathing during the day. Try to calm and reduce the volume of air that we breathe. If we are watching T.V for example and we can hear our breathing this is a sign that we are breathing too much. Healthy breathing is calm, quiet, effortless and relaxed. Always breathe through the nose. Especially try to reduce breathing before sleep. Try to sleep on your side as sleeping on the back increases the chance of apneas.

(b) Switch to breathing through our nose only day and night is vital to get a correct night’s sleep. How we breathe during the day affects how we breathe during our sleep. Focus on gentle, light breathing through the nose all day long. Keep mouth closed at all times except for talking and eating. Sleeping with our mouths closed is vital for a healing night’s sleep. If we are waking up with a dry mouth we have been mouth breathing during sleep. Applying a strip of 3M micropore paper tape over the lips during sleep is a simple, non invasive way of preventing mouth breathing during sleep. In comparison to the use of a CPAP machine using paper tape to maintain nasal breathing during sleep is a minor inconvenience!

Our breathing habits can be re-trained. I was a loud snorer and also had developed mild sleep apnea but with a bit of effort and focus I was able to greatly improve my quality of sleep and my energy levels by applying the Buteyko Breathing Technique in my life. I look forward to helping more people who are affected by snoring and sleep apnea in my upcoming clinics.
I will be giving a course in New You Clinic Bantry beginning on Monday 24th of October.
For more information call me on 087 7738616 or see my website yourbreath.ie for more details.

Your breath is within your control,
Best Wishes, Brian.