Sleep Apnea Symptoms, or are they?

We seem to be living in a world that increasingly has to diagnose everything as an illness that needs expensive professional help, special equipment and possibly medication. It is good to have a reality check on your sleep apnea symptoms.

Yes, you might find this article politically incorrect, but read on!

Difficulty breathing and waking in the middle of the night can be a result of many different things – not just sleep apnea.

Here are just two of them, with recommendations related to each one.

Firstly, being overweight is a huge (excuse the pun) factor in sleep apnea.

And yes, you might not want to be told that you are overweight, fat, chubby and large – but I know that some of you reading this are exactly that. Trying to avoid those facts, and wanting to remain that way is not going to make your sleep apnea disappear. Making a bit of yourself disappear, now there’s a different approach!

If you think that losing weight is impossible, you’re either kidding yourself, or hanging out with the wrong people – because it is absolutely possible. There are many people who can help you do this, many organizations, dieticians, exercise, etc.

But again, you don’t have to ‘over prescribe’ your situation.

Start walking every day for about 40 minutes. You don’t have to run, you don’t have to subscribe to a gym, and you don’t have to punish yourself in any way – you just have to start moving your body more. If you aim to walk for 40 minutes every day, you will (hopefully) actually walk 40 minutes for 4 days or more a week (there is rain, an unexpected appointment, etc).

What’s more, it is a known fact that sleep apnea is associated with depression, and that exercise will help alleviate depression. In fact, exercise is thought by many experts to be the number one strategy around depression.

Another place I recommend for help losing weight is Weight Watchers (and no, I’m not being paid to recommend this). My personal experience with this system is that it helps people know how to manage exercise, portion size and subscribing to a good, balanced diet (which includes lots of fruit and vegetables). The trouble with ‘brought in food’ as a diet program is that you are left clueless as to how that system actually works.

And another common problem is too much alcohol.

You need to empower yourself with the information and disciplines around a good healthy lifestyle. Losing weight will be the result of that. Having a body that is the correct weight will benefit you in many ways apart from sleeping better: you will have more energy, feel better, feel happier, improve your self-esteem, look better, improve your sex life, change other people’s opinion of you and improve all areas of your health.

There are documented cases of people who no longer show signs of sleep apnea and do not snore because they have lost a significant amount of weight.

Furthermore, by losing weight you will sleep better, and sleeping well helps your body know when it is full (see Leptin information).  So you can break the cycle of being tired, eating more, and eating inappropriate wake-up foods such as chocolate, caffeine, sugary sweets, and salty and fatty foods.

Secondly, investigate if you have food allergies and/or food intolerances.

Sleep apnea symptoms are very similar to the symptoms that manifest with certain food allergies and food intolerances. There are over 50 food additives and colorings that effect sleep, stuffy noses, difficulty breathing, restless sleep, waking in the middle of the night, light and broken sleep, snoring, etc.

A food allergy is a different thing to food intolerance. You need to know the difference. Food intolerance is a little harder to ascertain, as the symptoms can often show up much later, even days after a certain item (artificial additive/food coloring etc) has been eaten. You might have an intolerance to perfumes even, or naturally occurring substances (such as salicylates and amines) in normal healthy cooking and fruit and dried fruit.

To find out more about sleep apnea symptoms and food items visit the Food Intolerance Network’s website.

And finally, to cover myself here, if you do have sleep apnea symptoms you DO need to go and seek excellent professional advice because it does affect your health in significant and important ways. And you need to do it as a matter of urgency.

Well that clears the air!

Elizabeth