Q. Can the NEWSTART program help someone with chronic sleep apnea?
There are three types of sleep apnea: obstructive, central, and mixed. The last is a mixture of the first two. Obstructive sleep apnea is usually caused by a collapse of soft tissue around the entrance of the airway and/or the collapse or near collapse of the airway itself when the muscles relax during sleep. This relaxing of the muscles is what causes the obstruction, but what causes the muscles to not respond during sleep as they should is not entirely understood. Central sleep apnea is caused by something going wrong in the brain such as a stroke, or mini-strokes of specific areas in the brain that regulate breathing, possible brain tumors, or other neurological diseases that need to be diagnosed for specific treatment.
Today a breathing assistance machine called CPAP is the treatment of choice for obstructive or mixed sleep apnea. The need for this or any other intervention should be evaluated by a qualified physician.
The NEWSTART program can help in several ways: The program itself may help a person lose weight and therefore relieve some pressure around the airway, and it will increase the circulation of the brain, helping it do its job more efficiently during sleep. We also target specific food allergies, dairy intolerance or egg allergy. Animal foods may cause swelling and congestion in the soft tissues around the entrance of the airway, or in the airway itself, that may be the cause of sleep apnea or at least aggravate it. Mucous production in the airway may also be decreased by the NEWSTART program.
In general whatever the cause of the sleep apnea a new lifestyle and lifestyle changes lie at the heart of treatment for this condition. Lifestyle changes for treating sleep apnea include the following:
- Lose weight. Even a small amount of weight loss can open up your throat and improve sleep apnea symptoms.
- Quit smoking. Smoking is believed to contribute to sleep apnea by increasing inflammation and fluid retention in your throat and upper airway.
- Avoid alcohol, sleeping pills, and sedatives, especially before bedtime, because they relax the muscles in the throat and interfere with breathing. Of course these drugs and alcohol should be entirely avoided if possible.
- Avoid caffeine and heavy suppers, especially within two hours of going to bed. And due to caffeine’s effect on the entire system it is best to not use it at all.
- Maintain regular sleep hours. Sticking to a steady sleep schedule will help you relax and sleep better. Apnea episodes decrease when you get plenty of sleep.
- Learn to manage stress. At Weimar nature-walks, relaxation, exercise, and learning to trust God can facilitate sleep, and may reduce bouts of sleep apnea in some people.
For more information, please visit newstart.com