Do you suffer from breathing pauses during your sleep? This is called sleep apnea syndrome (SAS), which is when you stop breathing involuntarily at night. These nocturnal respiratory stops would affect about one in ten people in France and are mostly unconscious. However, it is not without knowing that this sleep disorder has many repercussions on our quality of life. Should we be worried? How to live with it, and especially how to naturally treat sleep apnea to sleep better?
What causes sleep apnea?
Night apnea is defined by involuntary stopping of breathing. In this case, the sleeping person stops breathing for about 10 seconds, or even more than 30 seconds, and this repeatedly during sleep.
In the medical field, we distinguish 3 types of sleep apnea, which makes it possible to distinguish the different causes.
Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS)
This respiratory sleep syndrome is linked to narrowing of the pharynx at night ; the cause is therefore mechanical in 90% of cases. In case of partial obstruction, we speak ofhypopnea, that is to say a decrease in inspired air of about 50%.
If, on the other hand, it is a closure of the airways, or a total obstruction of the pharynx with a lack of oxygen, it is considered as Sleep Apnea. As a result, the muscles relax and block the passage of air through the trachea. The upper airways are therefore blocked: for the sleeping person, it is impossible to breathe. The only way to reactivate breathing will be a muscle “reflex” contraction, which will therefore induce micro-awakenings.
Central sleep apnea
In the case of central sleep apnea syndrome, it is a brain dysfunction. Much rarer, its cause is therefore neurological, and not mechanical. Thus, heart failure, neurological disease (Parkinson's disease, meningitis, etc.) or stroke can explain the main cause.
This typology of apnea is particular, since it includes obstructive sleep apnea, as well as central sleep apnea. In most cases, mixed apnea begins with a central apnea and then progresses to an airway obstruction. Sleep apnea is also associated with other pathologies such as obesity, arterial hypertension or diabetes which could have a related role, but not sufficiently defined. Note that the frequency of the syndrome is doubled in people over 65 years old.
Children can also suffer from sleep apnea, and in particular of severe OSA in the event of hypertrophy of the adenoids and tonsils. A consultation with the ENT is therefore strongly recommended to determine the causes of respiratory obstruction.
Is it dangerous to have sleep apnea?
According to several scientific studies, 7% of the adult population suffers from sleep apnea syndrome, and 15% concern those over 70 years old. These people are not aware of it, and it is generally those around them who are worried. Accompanied by loud snoring in 90% of cases, apnea is characterized by respiratory stops followed by a resumption of rather noisy breathing a few seconds later.
We speak of mild sleep apnea, when these breathing pauses while sleeping occur at least 5 times during the same hour. According to doctors, it is advisable to worry about it at this moderate stage. Apnea will then be considered severe when breathing is stopped more than 30 times per hour.
In addition, the risk becomes increased for people with cardiovascular problems because sleep apnea tires the heart. Consequently, they increase the risk of myocardial infarction. Poor oxygenation can also promote high blood pressure. A medical consultation is then essential followed by an examination called the nocturnal ventilatory polygraphy. Another examination may subsequently be proposed to confirm the diagnosis: la polysomnography. These are ventilatory and neurological sensors that will study the different phases of your sleep in order to assess the severity of the apnea.
What are the consequences of sleep apnea?
This sleep disorder, still misdiagnosed, has negative repercussions on our daily lives, but also on our health. People affected by this syndrome most often wake up in a sweat, with headaches and feeling very tired, due to micro-alarms which undoubtedly disrupt the quality of sleep.
It is not uncommon to feel suffocation or a feeling of suffocation during the night. But this is only the tip of the iceberg, as it has been found that sleep apnea can lead to other consequences, such as:
- irritability of mood
- decreased libido
- difficulty concentrating with slight memory loss
According to High Authority of Health (SAS), it may increase the risk of diabetes and osteoporosis, in addition to promote depression and drowsiness during the day. In addition, it has been shown that the risk of accidents in the car is higher in people suffering from night apnea.
Can sleep apnea be cured?
To date, there are no properly defined drug treatments to cure this syndrome. Mechanical solutions are nevertheless recognized to fight against this respiratory dysfunction according to their severity.
In case of severe apnea
PPC, called continuous positive pressure, is a long-term treatment reimbursed by the Health Insurance. This device, in the form of a mask, pulses pressurized air while you sleep, which helps keep the airways open.
In case of milder sleep apnea
Another alternative may be offered to you: mandibular advancement orthosis (ODM). This molded mouthpiece, made to measure, attaches to the teeth. It projects the lower jaw and the tongue forward, thus freeing the passage of air through the pharynx.
To a lesser extent, maxillofacial surgery can prove to be a solution to fight against sleep apnea. In children, we recommend the removal of the tonsils, responsible for most of the nocturnal breathing difficulties.
How to reduce sleep apnea?
The best advice to fight against this sleep-related muscle relaxation is to engage in physical activity and eat well every day to avoid overweight and sedentary lifestyle. It is also recommended toavoid smoking, taking sleeping pills and alcohol at night, factors likely to increase obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.
And finally, to improve the quality of sleep and reduce the time it takes to fall asleep, food supplements are an excellent compromise. our food supplements for sleep formulated from melatonin and plants known for their relaxing properties, will help you fight effectively insomnia or other sleep disorders for a regenerating night. If in doubt, do not hesitate to talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
What position to avoid sleep apnea?
According to an American scientific study published in the journal Chest, it is advisable to sleep with the bust tilted 45 degrees to prevent obstructive sleep apnea. For pregnant women, who are particularly prone to this sleep disorder, propping up back cushions could be a good solution. In any case, it is best to avoid sleeping on your back to improve the quality of sleep.
Which plant for sleep apnea?
To reduce sleep apnea and fight against its inconveniences, certain green plants are recognized for their soothing and antioxidant properties. In addition to purifying the ambient air by absorbing toxins and other volatile household pollutants, they are a real ally for Find sleep.
Thus, here is a non-exhaustive list of plants to consider in the layout of your bedroom in order to sleep better at night :
- the aloe vera
- hairy chlorophytum
- sansevieria trifasciata, called the snake plant
- the spathiphyllum, or peace lily
- the golden split
In summary, suffering from sleep apnea is often synonymous with micro-awakenings, headache and severe fatigue. This syndrome, which mainly affects the elderly and overweight, is particularly harmful to the quality of life. The same goes for your health if you are prone to heart failure or high blood pressure. In the event of mild apnea, the Haute Autorité de Santé recommends hygienic-dietetic measures for a healthier life. Finally, to naturally cure sleep apnea, think about plants and food supplements for sleeping, vegan and specially designed to promote restful sleep.