Sleep Apnea: Here’s How Tweaking Your Diet Can Help

Try these anti-inflammatory foods to help manage sleep apnea.

Sleep Apnea: Here’s How Tweaking Your Diet Can Help

When asked, ‘Are you sleeping every night? ‘You’d most probably say ‘Yes’. But, when the question is rephrased to ‘are you satisfied with your sleep’, your answer will probably change to ‘No’.

Each night you sleep badly, your efficiency the next day is affected and in the long run, it may also lead to multiple serious health issues. Sleeplessness or insomnia is a major lifestyle disorder today but the real problem arises when the cause for disturbed sleep goes beyond just lifestyle issues.

There are more than 70 types of sleep disorders, ranging from excessive sleepiness during the day, poor sleep at night (not feeling fresh after waking), and abnormal behavior (sleep talking, sleepwalking, violent acts, etc.) at night.

At times lack of sleep and snoring could signal a more serious condition such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a condition leading to the repeated cessation of breathing during sleep and which can potentially lead to heart disease.

What is OSA?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) impacts one in five adult males and is the second most diagnosed respiratory condition after asthma is a growing lifestyle disorder that results when the upper airway is blocked, causing airflow and breathing to stop for a time during sleep.

Those who have it may snore, wake repeatedly, and never get a proper full night’s sleep. Sometimes a common sign is acidity. This chronic sleep deprivation results in daytime sleepiness, slow reflexes, poor concentration, and an increased risk of accidents.

OSA is even a possible cause of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and weight gain.

Sleep Apnea, if not critical, can be treated with lifestyle changes, such as losing weight or changing sleep positions.

The Food Steps

Eating foods with sleep-promoting compounds melatonin and tryptophan regularly can help, especially at bedtime. Melatonin-rich foods are fruits like cherries, pomegranate, grapes, vegetables like corn, asparagus, broccoli, cucumber, grains like rice, barley, oats, and nuts and seeds.

Tryptophan-rich foods are dairy, fruits like apples, bananas, peaches, avocado, vegetables like spinach, broccoli, onions, legumes, chicken, seafood, nuts, and seeds. Calcium-rich foods (dairy, sesame seeds, and figs) also help the body make melatonin from tryptophan.

The Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Garlic, honey, ginger, and turmeric are common anti-inflammatory foods. Omega-3 fatty acids also help the body produce melatonin, which is a natural sleep enhancer. Besides, asparagus, corn, cherries, grapes, broccoli, and cucumbers are all good options.

What to Avoid

Our oral cavity has a direct role in the cause of sleep apnea so avoiding too many sugary treats helps keep the oral hygiene green. All mucous-producing foods need to be skipped. Bananas increase mucus production in some people. Dairy products with high-fat content can also increase the body’s mucus production in some people.

Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins promote sleep. Foods that are high in saturated fats (meat steaks, pork, bacon, lamb, sausages, etc.) need to be avoided as they can increase inflammation in the body.

Rich and spicy foods may induce heartburn and can worsen acid reflux, leading to more breathing trouble. Alcohol derails the quality of sleep and increases the risk for airway blockage.

Similarly, caffeine is a stimulant that can keep you awake.

Exercise Matters

Snoring signals the lack of oxygen in our bodies. Exercise helps increase the blood flow and brings more oxygen to our organs. To keep apnea in check, regular exercise is very important.


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