There are a broad number of behavioral reasons that can contribute to worsening a person’s sleep apnea. For instance, a good sleep ritual is critical to controlling sleep apnea even with the use of a CPAP machine. Going to bed stressed with the burdens of the day can have a profound impact on sleep and therefore, frequency of apneic events (the point at which the person stops breathing during sleep and the brain wakes them in response).
In addition, going to bed at different times of night make it difficult for the body to maintain a constant wakeful/sleep cycle. This can lead to sleeplessness and daytime sleepiness that will exacerbate a person’s sleep apnea. This is because their body is able to sleep for an even shorter amount of time, which is already affected by the potential apneic events.
Reading, working or watching TV in bed can all be behaviors that can lead to worsening sleep apnea. It is imperative to signal to your body that bed is the place for sleep and sleep only at night. These behaviors make it difficult to set a constant sleep pattern, which in turn lessens the time that a person is in the deepest sleep state. This is where the body and mind get the most benefit and restoration.
Medications, alcohol and smoking can all have a detrimental effect on a person’s sleep apnea. While alcohol further relaxes the throat muscles (leading to airway collapse and the apneic events, so too can muscle relaxants and sleeping pills. With the latter two, the throat muscles may relax even further than normal, and because of the artificially induced heavy sleep, the body/mind connection will find it harder to respond to the apneic events.
While all of these behaviors can lead to worsening sleep apnea, all of them are controllable by the individual. CPAP therapy is still the gold standard in terms of successfully treating sleep apnea. Consequently, eliminating these behaviors from your life is critical to getting the most health benefits from CPAP therapy that will improve your sleep apnea.
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