Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that can cause difficulty breathing during sleep. Natural remedies for treating obstructive sleep apnea include lifestyle changes such as avoiding alcohol and quitting smoking, positional therapy (sleeping on your side or stomach), weight loss, and avoiding medications like sedatives and decongestants.
Other natural remedies include deep breathing exercises, yoga, meditation, aromatherapy, herbal supplements like valerian root, chamomile, and lavender oil to promote relaxation, and acupuncture to reduce airway vibrations. These natural remedies may not cure the condition, but they can help minimize sleep apnea symptoms.
Natural Remedies For Obstructive Sleep Apnea
1. Herbal Supplements
Herbal supplements containing passion flower, lemon balm, and valerian root have been studied for their potential in treating OSA. A small study found that combining all three of these supplements significantly improved apnea episodes. Another study found that peppermint essential oil taken orally could help increase airflow during sleep to reduce OSA episodes.
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese practice that involves inserting thin needles into the body at specific points to promote healing and wellness. Studies suggest that acupuncture may help reduce the severity of OSA, though more research is needed before knowing how effective this treatment is.
3. Relaxation techniques
Relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation can help relax your body and improve your breathing patterns to reduce OSA symptoms. Research suggests mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) can also help reduce OSA severity by improving the frequency of apnea events, oxygen desaturations, snoring intensity, and heart rate during sleep.
4. Mullein Leaf Tea
Mullein leaf tea is made from the dried leaves of the mullein plant, which has traditionally been used to treat respiratory problems like asthma, bronchitis, and even coughs due to its anti-inflammatory, expectorant, and antiasthmatic effects. Research indicates it may also help treat OSA thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, which help clear restricted airways while sleeping to prevent nighttime apneas episodes caused by inflammation or allergies.
5. Sleep Positioning Devices
Sleep positioning devices are designed to tilt your bed at a 30-45 degree angle. Hence, you sleep on an inclined plane rather than flat on your back, making it easier for you to breathe better at night with less obstruction from gravity, allowing for improved airflow through your windpipe when sleeping with OSA.
6. Essential Oil Inhalers
Essential oils such as lavender, frankincense, chamomile, eucalyptus, or peppermint can be used as natural remedies for obstructive sleep apnea because they contain medicinal properties known to help relieve congestion or inflammation due to allergies or infection, which often contribute to OSA episodes at night. You can use either a diffuser or inhaler appliance if you don’t have access to an oil diffuser at home; simply inhaling the steam created will help clear your throat passage so you can breath deeper throughout the night without having any obstructions in your windpipe caused by mucus buildup or allergens around you while sleeping with OSA.
7. Weight Loss Program
Weight loss has long been recognized as one of the most effective treatments for those suffering from mild obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) cases. Studies show lasting weight loss of just 10% leads to significant improvements in breathing patterns — resulting in longer duration of deep REM sleep — allowing patients diagnosed with milder cases of obstruction effective sleep apnea not only feel better rested but helping them experience relief from disruptive episodic snoring as well without resorting too medical intervention like CPAP machines or surgery.
8. Avoid Alcohol and Cigarettes
Alcohol and cigarettes are two substances that should be avoided if you struggle with sleep apnea since they can relax the throat muscles too much, leading to disrupted breathing patterns throughout the night. Quitting smoking has also been linked with improving overall lung health and reducing inflammation and congestion in the sinus cavities, so avoiding these substances is beneficial all around!
9. Elevate Your Head During Sleep
Elevating your head during sleep can help reduce the risk of OSA episodes since it helps keep the airways open and allows for better airflow. This is especially helpful if you have allergies or sinus congestion that can contribute to OSA episodes at night.
10. Use a Humidifier
A humidifier makes it easier for many people suffering from sleep apnea because dry air causes discomfort in our nasal passages when we’re asleep (and can contribute to further disruptions). Having higher humidity levels helps loosen up mucus, making it easier for us to breathe naturally through our noses, improving airflow & healthy sleeping habits overall!
11. Nasal Strips
Nasal strips are designed to help keep the nasal passages open by placing pressure on them. This increased pressure helps clear any blockages that may obstruct your airways, allowing for better airflow and reducing sleep apnea symptoms.
12. Diet Change
Making changes to your diet can help reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea. Eating a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables can help reduce inflammation in the body which can contribute to OSA episodes. Additionally, avoiding processed foods and sugary snacks can help keep your weight down, another factor contributing to OSA.
Advantages of Natural Remedies for Treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea:
1. Natural remedies are generally safe and have fewer side effects than traditional medications or treatments.
2. They can be used with other treatments to provide a more holistic approach to treating OSA.
3. Many natural remedies are inexpensive and accessible, making them an attractive option for those who cannot afford expensive medical treatments or do not have access to them.
4. Natural remedies can help reduce the severity of OSA symptoms by improving breathing patterns and reducing snoring intensity during sleep.
5. Sleep positioning devices can help improve airflow through the windpipe when sleeping with OSA. In contrast, essential oils can help clear throat passages to prevent nighttime apneas episodes caused by inflammation or allergies.
6. Weight loss programs can significantly improve breathing patterns, resulting in a longer duration of deep REM sleep and relief from disruptive snoring episodes without resorting to a medical intervention like CPAP machines or surgery.
The Disadvantage of Natural Remedies for Treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea:
1. Natural remedies may not be as effective in treating more severe cases of OSA and may not provide the same level of relief as traditional medical treatments.
2. Essential oils and sleep positioning devices may require regular use to maintain their effectiveness, which can be difficult for some people to adhere to.
3. Weight loss programs can be difficult to maintain and may not be suitable for everyone.
4. Natural remedies may not provide immediate relief from OSA symptoms and may take some time before any noticeable improvements are seen.
5. Natural remedies may not be suitable for those with certain medical conditions and should be discussed with a doctor before use.
6. Some natural remedies may interact with other medications or treatments, so it is important to consult a doctor before using any natural remedy for OSA.
7. Natural remedies may not provide long-term relief from OSA symptoms, and regular use may be necessary to maintain their effectiveness.
Natural remedies can be a safe and effective way to treat mild cases of obstructive sleep apnea. However, it is important to consult a doctor before using any natural remedy for OSA, as some may interact with other medications or treatments. Natural remedies may not provide the same level of relief as traditional medical treatments and may require regular use to maintain their effectiveness.