Living with sleep apnea can be a nightly struggle for you and your sleep partner. In addition to feeling tired throughout the next day, your lack of quality sleep can contribute to health problems like heart disease and high blood pressure.
While some people address their sleep apnea right away, others simply “deal with it” and struggle to cope with the effects. Fortunately, treatment for sleep apnea has never been more convenient or accessible. Today there are a variety of different options available that allow you to take control of your sleep and your health.
If you’re still contemplating whether or not to seek treatment, it’s important to understand that when ignored, your sleep apnea symptoms may become worse. There are also multiple factors that can contribute to your symptoms becoming more severe:
Illness can play a significant role in your quality of sleep. Symptoms such as a stuffy nose can contribute to airway blockage, complicating existing cases of obstructive sleep apnea. Swollen tonsils can also restrict your oxygen intake. Because your immune system is working harder than normal to recover, the lack of restful sleep can strain your body further, making it more difficult to bounce back from your illness. There is a proven connection between diabetes, cardiovascular disease and sleep apnea so don’t let prolonged symptoms go untreated.
Seasonal Weather Changes
The weather and seasonal allergies may also play a role in the severity of your sleep apnea. For instance, a lack of humidity in the air during winter can cause some people to struggle more with breathing and sleeping comfortably. A simple solution may be to put a humidifier in your bedroom or to cover your nose and mouth with a scarf when you’re out in a cold climate.
Changes in Body Weight
Weight gain is a major contributing factor for many who suffer from sleep apnea. When we gain weight, the tissue around our airway increases, making snoring or disruptions in breathing worse.
According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), over 50% of people with sleep apnea are overweight. New studies even suggest that sleep apnea can lead to weight gain. Finding the right balance of a proper diet and exercise routine can help improve your sleep.