Every mammal in the world listens to their body regarding sleep while humans tend to delay their sleep on purpose. However, when people deal with untreated obstructive sleep apnea, the lack of sleep seems inevitable. So, we wanted to show you how living with sleep apnea and CPAP looks like, especially in people who have just been diagnosed with sleep apnea.
- Lifestyle Changes
When diagnosed with this condition, you have to make certain lifestyle changes that will make your living with this sleep disorder easier.
You should avoid sleeping on your back, also known as the supine position. When sleeping on your back, your tongue and throat muscles easily relax, fall backwards, and block your airway. In people with mild obstructive sleep apnea, simply changing the sleeping position can help a lot.
Moreover, you can also raise the head of the bed which will reduce snoring as the throat naturally narrows when lying flat or in the supine position.
In case you’re overweight, you should try shedding some extra pounds. Losing weight will reduce the fatty tissue built up in the throat and boost the airflow during sleep. So, incorporating a diet and doing regular exercise won’t only help you lose weight but also improve the quality of your sleep.
As you should be careful about the types of food you consume, you should avoid the following foods before bed:
- Red meat as it is packed with fats and proteins that keep your body working.
- Celery which is a natural diuretic and will keep waking you up during the night.
- Dark chocolate which contains caffeine and can keep you awake.
- Spicy food as it can cause indigestion.
You should also avoid heavy meals at least three hours before bedtime. Additionally, you should also avoid consuming alcohol, smoking and drugs, which only cause obstruction.
- Getting Comfortable with CPAP
If you’ve been diagnosed with OSA, you will need to start sleeping with a positive airway pressure machine and a mask. Getting comfortable with your mask can be a challenging task. In fact, it has been determined that about 50 percent of CPAP users don’t like the treatment.
Hence, to have a hassle-free process, you should check all available masks and find the one which suits your needs best. You should quit immediately when using CPAP. Instead, give it time and you’ll get used to the treatment.
- Traveling with Sleep Apnea
Having sleep apnea doesn’t mean that you’ll stop travelling. You can now travel with ease and OSA won’t hinder your travel plans. However, you do need a little extra preparation, such as:
- Taking your prescriptions with you
- Packing your machine as a carry one
- Check with your airlines about onboard use and electrical outlets
OSA won’t cause any headaches even to more adventurous travelers. So, you can also go hunting, camping, and fishing.
- You Are Not Alone
The feeling of being the only one with this condition is quite common. However, you should be aware that about 25 million Americans have obstructive sleep apnea. In fact, about 80 percent of cases have undiagnosed OSA.
So, instead of feeling alone, you can get help from the huge OSA community. The community will help you adjust to your therapy as there are always people who know exactly what you’re going through.
Some of the most popular OSA support groups include A.W.A.K.E. network and ASA Support Group Forum.