Sleeping Your Way to Better Health
by Dr. Kailey Fargo
We all know the feeling of waking up feeling tired and unrested. Perhaps we aren’t giving ourselves enough time in bed, or we are restless and have a hard time falling asleep. However, what if there is a different underlying cause of this excessive daytime fatigue. One potential option is a medical condition called Obstructive Sleep Apnea, where the individual has difficulty breathing during the night and often has periods of absent breath. The physiological cause of this is the softening of the tissues in the throat and palate, causing collapse and blockage of the airway. As the individual gasps for air, they often startle and their airway reopens, usually without waking. This can happen repeatedly through the night and can go unnoticed unless someone else notices the breathing cessations. Partners are often the first to notice and the individual may experience any of the following symptoms:
- Loud snoring
- Sore throat
- Feeling unrested
- Mental fatigue
- Waking abruptly
- Low energy
- Brain fog
If sleep apnea is left untreated, it can lead to other serious health conditions involving the heart and lungs. The most common treatment is the use of a CPAP, or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, which helps to deliver a constant and steady air pressure to the throat and mouth to prevent the collapse of the laryngeal tissues. These machines are safe, effective, and widely used. Good news, though, but Chiropractic treatments can also help to relieve symptoms in multiple ways, too! Spinal adjustments can help relieve issues tied to breathing difficulties. Because the spine plays a central role in your body’s functions, misalignments can impact your sleep. Chiropractors can resolve problems related to an obstructed windpipe, pinched nerve, disc damage or other alignment that may be making it more difficult to breathe while you sleep. They may also be able to advise on sleep positions and guide the individual in choosing the position best for their breathing (often side sleeping). Finally, they may also be able to help determine if any other underlying lifestyle factors may be contributing to the sleep apnea like weight gain, inconsistent sleep schedule or posture.
If you suspect you are suffering from sleep apnea, it is recommended that you have a sleep study done to properly diagnose the condition. Depending on the results, a certified sleep specialist will craft a treatment plan to help improve your sleep. To provide a well-rounded treatment plan, adding chiropractic will help to balance the body as a whole. Please let us know how we can help!