One of the hallmarks of obstructive sleep apnea is excessive weight or obesity. While not everyone who has obstructive sleep apnea has a high body mass index (BMI), of the 25 percent of the population who has obstructive sleep apnea, nearly half (45 percent) are overweight. If you fit into this category, losing weight should be a priority, but it can be a challenge to lose weight with sleep apnea, especially if you have no energy from tossing and turning and constantly waking all night. Here are a few easy lifestyle changes you can make to help lose weight safely and naturally and lessen the severity of your obstructive sleep apnea symptoms. Just remember to consult a doctor before taking on any new exercise plan.
Walking is a low-impact and easy way to lose weight. Try swapping the elevator for the stairs or taking a few laps around the building during your break at work. If you find yourself reaching for a snack and you’re not really hungry, go take a walk, stretch or do some jumping jacks instead.
Cut the Soda
Do you drink soda? Stop. It’s packed with sugar, so it's terrible for your teeth and body, but it's also making you hold on to extra pounds. If you can’t skip the caffeine, try swapping out regular soda for diet or one of those sparkling water varieties. Thanks to their popularity they come in a wide variety of flavors that are so good you won’t miss the regular soda. Just remember to limit your intake and follow any soda with a glass of water to rinse the acid off your teeth.
Watch the Alcohol
Alcohol is another beverage that packs on extra calories and weight. Though, according to studies, an occasional glass of wine is good for you, drinking more than one glass per day is not - and if you can cut it back to one drink a week, you’ll spare your waistline even more.
Processed foods are packed with hidden sugars that add empty calories to your diet. Beware even so-called diet foods, as they often swap out fat for more sugar!
A sleep orthotic is a device that is custom fit to your individual mouth and props open your airway as you sleep. Because of its custom fit, it is comfortable and more effective than CPAP therapy because you’re more likely to wear it. It can’t directly help with weight loss, but if you can get a good night’s sleep you will have more energy during the day to exercise and eat right.
To learn more about sleep apnea and custom sleep orthotics, contact Dr. Mingus at 541-382-6565.