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Unlock Better Sleep: 7 Natural Remedies for Sleep Apnoea Relief

18 July 2023

Key Points

  • Sleep apnoea is a disorder that causes pauses in breathing during sleep. It can lead to other problems, such as daytime fatigue.
  • Current treatment for the condition involves medication, surgery, and the use of a CPAP machine.
  • Despite the effectiveness of conventional treatments, many people may prefer to use natural remedies to help manage the condition.
  • Many natural relief options are available, including relaxation techniques and lifestyle changes.
  • Medical cannabis has also been shown to help with sleep apnoea, particularly when combined with other treatments.

Sleep apnoea is a common yet often underdiagnosed sleep disorder affecting millions worldwide. Characterised by repeated interruptions in breathing during sleep, it can lead to poor sleep quality, daytime fatigue, and even serious health complications if left untreated.

If you are a part of the one and half million people living in the UK who suffer from it, you may be wondering how to get a good night’s rest without resorting to the uncomfortable and costly continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. That is why many individuals are seeking natural remedies to help alleviate their symptoms and improve their overall well-being.

In this blog, we will explore various natural remedies for sleep apnoea. These include lifestyle changes, dietary improvements, and alternative therapies that may relieve those struggling with this condition. We also discuss the science behind these home remedies so you can make informed decisions about their potential benefits.

One alternative therapy that has garnered attention in recent years is medical cannabis. Lyphe, the leading medical cannabis clinic in the UK, offers personalised treatment plans and expert guidance for patients considering medical cannabis as a potential remedy for sleep apnoea. Read on to learn more about natural remedies and how Lyphe can help you on your journey to better sleep. Alternatively, you can book an appointment with one of our experts to learn more about our services at Lyphe.

Understanding Sleep Apnoea: Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment Options

Sleep apnoea is a common yet often underdiagnosed sleep disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. In this section, we will delve into the causes, diagnosis, and current treatment options for it, providing a comprehensive overview of this potentially serious condition.

What Is Sleep Apnoea?

Sleep apnoea, as highlighted earlier, is a sleep disorder characterised by repeated interruptions in breathing during sleep. This leads to poor sleep quality, daytime fatigue, and even serious health complications.

The most common form of this condition is obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), where the throat muscles relax and block the airways during sleep. Central sleep apnoea (CSA) is less common and occurs when the brain fails to send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing.

Causes of Sleep Apnoea

Several factors can contribute to the development of sleep apnoea, including:

  • Obesity: Excess body weight, particularly around the neck, can pressure the airway and increase the risk of OSA.
  • Genetics: A family history of this sleep disorder may increase an individual’s risk of developing the condition.
  • Age: This sleep disorder is more common in older adults, as muscle tone and brain function decline with age.
  • Alcohol and Sedative Use: These substances can relax the throat muscles, increasing the risk of airway obstruction during sleep.
  • Smoking: Smokers are more likely to develop sleep apnoea due to inflammation and fluid retention in the upper airway.

Diagnosis of Sleep Apnoea

Diagnosing sleep apnoea typically involves a combination of a physical examination, medical history, and sleep study.

A sleep study, or polysomnography, is a non-invasive test that records various physiological parameters during sleep, such as brain activity, eye movement, heart rate, and oxygen levels. This test helps healthcare professionals determine the presence and severity of sleep apnoea.

Current Treatment Options

Treatment depends on the severity of the condition and the individual’s response to treatment. Some common treatment options include:

  • CPAP Therapy: Considered the gold standard treatment for moderate to severe OSA, CPAP machines provide constant air pressure to keep the airway open during sleep.
  • Oral Appliances: These devices are designed to open the throat by bringing the jaw forward, which can sometimes relieve snoring and mild OSA.
  • Nasal Decongestants: Using saline nasal sprays or over-the-counter decongestants can help reduce nasal congestion, which may contribute to sleep apnoea in some individuals.
  • Positional Therapy: In some cases, the symptoms can be reduced by sleeping in a specific position, such as on one’s side.
  • Surgery: In severe cases or when other treatments have failed, surgery may be considered to remove excess tissue and open the airway.

Sleep apnoea is a complex condition that requires proper diagnosis and treatment to prevent complications and improve overall well-being. Hence, by understanding the causes, diagnosis, and treatment options available, individuals can actively manage their sleep apnoea and work with healthcare professionals to find the most effective treatment plan.

7 Holistic Approaches to Sleep Apnoea

While medical treatments are available, many individuals seek natural remedies to help alleviate symptoms. These holistic approaches can complement medical treatments and may be used in conjunction with CPAP therapy.

1. Medical Cannabis

Medical cannabis contains various cannabinoids, including delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Some studies suggest that these cannabinoids may positively impact sleep quality and sleep apnoea symptoms.

A 2013 study published in Frontiers in Psychiatry found that administering dronabinol, a synthetic form of THC, reduced the severity of sleep apnoea in a small group of participants. The researchers hypothesised that dronabinol might improve the sleeping disorder by modulating serotonin signalling, which regulates breathing during sleep.

Potential Benefits of Medical Cannabis for Sleep Apnoea

Some of the potential benefits of using medical cannabis may include:

  • Improved Sleep Quality: Some individuals report better sleep quality when using medical cannabis, although more research is needed to confirm these anecdotal reports.
  • Decreased Sleep Latency: Reducing the time it takes to fall asleep is another potential benefit of using medical cannabis for sleep apnoea. In a 2019 review published in Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology review, researchers found that THC reduced sleep latency.
  • Reduced Daytime Sleepiness: Recent preclinical research suggests that CBD may help reduce daytime sleepiness in patients with narcolepsy. Furthermore, animal models have shown that CBD increases certain neurochemicals associated with wakefulness and alertness.

If you’re considering medical cannabis treatment for sleep apnoea, Lyphe can help. As the largest medical cannabis clinic in the UK, we’re able to provide the highest quality medical cannabis treatments. Our expert team of clinicians can help you find the right treatment for your sleep apnoea symptoms and ensure you access the best products on the market. Book an appointment today!

2. Yoga and Breathing Exercises

Incorporating yoga and breathing exercises into one’s daily routine can positively affect sleep quality. A 2021 article published in the International Journal of Health & Allied Sciences suggests that yoga might improve OSA by addressing upper airway muscle dysfunction.

Moreover, breathing exercises like pranayama can help strengthen the respiratory muscles and improve lung function. Stronger respiratory muscles can help maintain better airflow during sleep, potentially reducing the frequency and severity of sleep apnoea episodes.

Additionally, practising yoga and deep breathing exercises can help boost oxygen levels. Improved oxygenation and circulation may help reduce symptoms by ensuring that the body receives adequate oxygen during sleep.

3. Regular Exercise

Regular exercise is essential for overall health and well-being, and it has been shown to have a positive impact on sleep quality. Incorporating exercise into their daily routine can provide numerous benefits for individuals with sleep apnoea.

Research has shown that regular exercise can help reduce the severity of symptoms and improve overall sleep quality. For instance, a 2016 study published in the Jornal Brasileiro de Pneumologia found that participants with OSA who engaged in regular aerobic exercise experienced significant improvements in their apnoea-hypopnea index (AHI), a measure of sleep apnoea severity. These improvements were independent of weight loss, suggesting that exercise alone can have a positive impact on sleep apnoea symptoms.

Tips for Incorporating Exercise Into Your Routine

When incorporating exercise into your daily routine, it’s essential to choose activities that you enjoy and can commit to long-term. Some tips for getting started include:

  1. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week, as the American Heart Association recommends.
  2. Choose various activities, such as brisk walking, swimming, cycling, or dancing, to keep your exercise routine engaging and fun.
  3. Consider incorporating resistance training and flexibility exercises to promote overall fitness and muscle strength.
  4. Consult with your healthcare provider before starting a new exercise programme, especially if you have existing health conditions or concerns.

4. Use a Humidifier

Additional strategies can be used to enhance overall sleep quality and alleviate symptoms. One such strategy is using a humidifier in the bedroom. One of the main benefits of using a humidifier for sleep apnoea is that it can help alleviate nasal congestion and dryness.

Dry air can cause irritation and inflammation in the nasal passages, contributing to congestion and making it more difficult to breathe during sleep. By adding moisture to the air, a humidifier can help reduce nasal congestion and promote better airflow, potentially reducing symptoms.

Furthermore, a humidifier can help improve comfort and compliance with CPAP machine treatment. In fact, many CPAP machines often include a built-in humidifier or offer a compatible humidifier attachment.

5. Herbal Remedies

Herbal remedies are a popular treatment for nasal congestion. Many seek herbal medicine before they turn to prescription medications because they have fewer side effects. In this section, we discuss some popular herbal remedies for sleep apnoea.

Valerian Root

Valerian root is a popular herbal remedy known for its calming and sleep-promoting properties. Some studies suggest valerian root may help improve sleep quality and reduce the time it takes to fall asleep.

Lavender

Lavender is a well-known herb with calming and relaxing properties. Inhaling lavender essential oil or using lavender-infused products, such as pillow sprays or sachets, may help promote relaxation and sound sleep. While lavender may not directly treat sleep apnoea, it can contribute to a more restful sleep environment and potentially reduce stress-related sleep disturbances.

Chamomile

Chamomile is another popular herbal remedy often used for its calming effects and sleep-enhancing functions. Drinking chamomile tea before bedtime can help relax the body and mind, potentially enhancing sleep. Although more research is needed to determine its effectiveness for sleep apnoea, chamomile may provide a natural option for individuals seeking to boost their overall sleep experience.

6. Magnesium Supplements

Magnesium may help by promoting muscle relaxation, reducing stress levels, and regulating the hormones necessary to maintain our sleep-wake cycle. A study published in the journal Sleep and Breathing found that those with OSA had lower magnesium levels.

Although magnesium’s direct effect on sleep apnoea is not yet fully understood, it has been linked to sound sleep, reduced inflammation, and better overall health. Adequate magnesium levels are essential for calm and muscle relaxation, which may indirectly contribute to alleviating symptoms.

7. Acupuncture

Acupuncture may help with this sleep disorder by reducing inflammation, promoting tissue healing, and opening up the airway to improve breathing during sleep. It has been used historically for various ailments, and there is growing evidence that acupuncture can reduce breathing interruptions in OSA patients.

A 2020 systematic review and meta-analysis published in BioMed Research International found that acupuncture therapy is effective for OSA patients in reducing the AHI and Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) scores. Acupuncture therapy also improved the lowest oxygen saturation levels (LSaO2) in patients with various severities of the condition, especially in moderate and severe cases.

However, the study also emphasised the need for high-quality trials to further investigate the effectiveness of acupuncture for sleep apnoea.

Final Takeaway – Sleep Apnoea Home Remedies

Sleep apnoea is a prevalent disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. While traditional treatments like CPAP therapy and oral appliances are effective for many individuals, some may seek additional or alternative approaches to manage their symptoms.

Natural remedies such as medical cannabis, yoga, and using a humidifier can provide valuable support in the journey towards better and improved sleep. However, it is essential to remember that these natural remedies should be used with professional medical advice and treatment plans tailored to each individual’s unique needs.

With a team of experienced healthcare professionals, Lyphe is dedicated to providing safe and effective medical cannabis solutions for a variety of conditions, including sleep apnoea. If you suffer from sleep apnoea, we can help. Schedule a call today with one of our experts, and let us help you get the restful sleep you deserve.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can I cure sleep apnoea naturally?

Several natural remedies and lifestyle changes can help relieve sleep apnoea symptoms. Some of these include losing weight, improving your diet, regular exercise, and practising good sleep hygiene.

What herb is good for sleep apnoea?

Valerian root, green tea, chamomile, and lavender may benefit sleep apnoea. Medical cannabis also shows some potential to alleviate symptoms of the sleeping disorder.

What is the fastest way to cure sleep apnoea?

The fastest way to cure sleep apnoea depends on the severity of the condition and the individual’s response to treatment. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy is considered the gold standard treatment for moderate to severe OSA and is usually the first treatment offered to people diagnosed with the condition.

What is the best natural supplement for sleep apnoea?

There isn’t a single best natural supplement specifically for sleep apnoea. However, supplements containing melatonin, valerian root, or medical cannabis have been shown to help regulate the sleep cycle.

Is ginger good for sleep apnoea?

While ginger is known for its numerous health benefits, no direct evidence suggests that ginger is specifically beneficial for sleep apnoea. However, the anti-inflammatory properties of ginger may help with the respiratory inflammation associated with this sleep disorder.

References

Karamanli, H., Kizilirmak, D., Akgedik, R. et al. Serum levels of magnesium and their relationship with CRP in patients with OSA. Sleep Breath 21, 549–556 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11325-016-1402-4

Mooventhan, A., & Nivethitha, L. (2021). Can yoga play a role in improving health-related status of patients with obstructive sleep apnea? International Journal of Health & Allied Sciences, 10(1), 91. https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/A651108287/AONE?u=anon~b08c245&sid=googleScholar&xid=83a5a687

Murillo-Rodríguez, E., Millán-Aldaco, D., Palomero-Rivero, M., Morales-Lara, D., Mechoulam, R., & Drucker-Colín, R. (2019). Cannabidiol Partially Blocks the Excessive Sleepiness in Hypocretindeficient Rats: Preliminary Data. CNS & neurological disorders drug targets, 18(9), 705–712. https://doi.org/10.2174/1871527318666191021143300

Pedrosa, R. P. (2016). The role of physical exercise in obstructive sleep apnea. Jornal Brasileiro de Pneumologia, 42(6), 457-464. https://doi.org/10.1590/S1806-37562016000000156

Prasad, B., Radulovacki, M. G., & Carley, D. W. (2013). Proof of concept trial of dronabinol in obstructive sleep apnea. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 4. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2013.00001

Wang, L., Xu, J., Zhan, Y., & Pei, J. (2020). Acupuncture for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis. BioMed Research International, 2020, 1–10. https://doi.org/10.1155/2020/6972327

Author: Bojan
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Bojan Ambrus, Head of Marketing & Digital Product at Lyphe Group, is a data-driven growth marketing professional with over 15 years of rich experience. His background includes roles such as Head of Marketing at Vaping.com and growth marketing roles in various enterprises, startups, and scale-ups. His expertise in building and positioning businesses is particularly valuable in the cannabis sector, where he navigates its complexities and regulatory challenges. His strategic marketing insights make Bojan a key player in shaping Lyphe Group's marketing and digital product strategies.

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