Obstructive sleep apnea is a common disorder that causes frequent pauses in breathing while sleeping. The soft tissues in the back of the mouth and throat collapse to block the upper airway. This results in frequent breathing disruptions that can have potentially deadly complications. Believe it or not, exercise can be a solution to prevent and manage sleep apnea. Here’s how taking a walk can improve your health and help you sleep better.
Sleep Apnea Affects Sleep Quality
Your natural “internal clock” is a small part of your brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalamus. The little area just above the nerves in the back of your eyes controls your circadian rhythm. Many factors can interfere with the natural balance, like sleep apnea, staying up late, or changing shifts at work.
Sleep apnea disrupts your regular sleep cycle. Your brain is jolted awake every time you stop breathing. You may not be aware of these brief awakenings, but they interrupt your sleep cycle. Over time, sleep deprivation can occur. However, light and exercise can also affect your internal clock.
According to the National Institutes of Health, people who exercise regularly have lower frequency and severity of sleep apnea symptoms. Exercise can help sleep apnea sufferers in many ways, like weight loss.
Obesity is known to increase the risk of sleep apnea and can worsen symptoms. You can shed the extra weight by committing to a regular exercise routine. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, losing 10% of your weight can decrease breathing disruptions by 26%.
Not only will you improve your overall health, but you’ll fall asleep quickly. Researchers have found that aerobic exercises increase deep sleep, so you’ll wake up feeling refreshed and ready to start the day.
You don’t have to worry about hitting the gym every day. A brisk 30-minute walk can help you sleep better and maintain a healthy weight.
Sleep Peacefully with the Right Treatment
Although exercise is beneficial, it’s no substitute for sleep apnea treatment. A CPAP is a machine that delivers a steady stream of air through a mask worn over the mouth or nose to prevent breathing disruptions.
As an alternative to a CPAP, you may prefer an oral appliance. The custom-fit device positions your tongue and jaw to prevent obstructions in your airway. It’s a comfortable and effective option to treat mild-to-moderate cases of sleep apnea.
With the right treatment and a healthy lifestyle, you’ll get the rest you need to feel your best.
About Dr. Keane FedoskyDr. Fedosky earned his dental degree from the Baylor College of Dentistry and has regularly pursued continuing education in advanced services, like sleep apnea and snoring. He is a member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine and many other professional organizations. Request an appointment through our website or call (972) 544-0550.