Sleep apnea is an obstructive disorder characterized by abnormal pauses in breathing when you are asleep. New research out today suggests sleep apnea may increase risk of dementia in elderly women. Indeed according to the study, “elderly women who began the study without dementia had 85 percent higher odds of developing mild cognitive impairment or dementia over the next five years if they had 15 or more sleep apnea events per hour of sleep.” Though sleep apnea is often difficult to overcome, researchers have identified a few solutions that may help.
1. Weight Loss. Sleep apnea may be improved by slimming down. According to a new study, when obese men with sleep apnea were enrolled in a weight loss program and lost an average of 25 lbs. over the course of a year, symptoms of sleep apnea improved dramatically. Ten percent of the participants were even cured of the disorder, requiring no further treatment.
2. Throat Exercises Turns out making faces and sticking out your tongue might not just be for sassy kids – it might be the keys to a good night’s sleep. According to new research, if you suffer from sleep apnea, treatment might just be a few tongue and jaw exercises away.
3. Play the Didgeridoo. Yes, taking up wind instruments may help too. That’s right. Music is good for the soul, and maybe even help you rest better. A trial study conducted in Germany proved playing the didgeridoo on a regular basis may help as an alternative treatment for people suffering from obstructive sleep apnea and snoring. Playing the didgeridoo may be an effective alternative, as the researchers explain, because learning to play trains “the muscles of the upper airways, which control airway dilation and wall stiffening.”
4. Get Fitted for a Sleep Mouth Guard: If you have an overbite, small jaw, or recessed chin, the way your jawbone is naturally set might also make your airway unusually narrow. Corrective devices that encourage proper alignment of the jaw during sleep might be beneficial.
5. Lay off The Booze and Smoking: Smoking causes the upper airway to swell, and alcohol use causes the same area to unusually relax. Happily, quitting smoking and reducing drinking don’t come with the price tag of a corrective device or surgery, and even better, are likely to free up some of your finances.
Finally if you struggle with insomnia, you may want to add a glass of tart cherry juice to your bedtime routine. A study found tart cherry juice reduced the severity of insomnia by improving sleep maintenance.