Does the colder weather make sleep apnea worse?

Does the colder weather make sleep apnea worse?

Weather changes can have a significant influence on sleep quality, according to a rising number of studies published in the previous decade. This is an area that doctors and academics are still exploring.

Already, the winter season might be difficult to survive in. With several life situations that can have an adverse effect on your health, including your ability to get quality sleep. This is true for both those with and without a sleep apnea diagnosis. Maintaining regular CPAP machine use is essential if you’re currently receiving sleep apnea treatment; otherwise, your condition may worsen throughout the colder months.

Even if you haven’t been diagnosed with sleep apnea, it’s vital to know that the condition can raise your risk of stroke, heart failure, and diabetes if it goes untreated. Take a look at the effects of winter on sleep apnea and how to mitigate them. Visit: for treating sleep apnea through lifestyle modifications for treating sleep apnea.

A Possible Connection Between Seasonal Change and Sleep Apnea

One of the strongest explanations for why winter is linked to sleep apnea was published in 2012 in Chest, a scholarly medical magazine.

Over the course of a decade, more than 7,500 individuals who sought treatment at a sleep clinic were analysed. For one night, participants slept in the clinic while researchers monitored them for respiratory abnormalities and recorded the number of times each one woke up.

The study’s subjects had significantly higher sleep arousals in cold conditions. The apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) was used to determine this for each patient. How often a person’s sleep is disrupted in an hour is tracked by the AHI. Click here for Queensland health sleep disorders program.

The study found that the median AHI for patients at the sleep clinic was 17.8 in the winter, but only 15 in the summer.

That is to say, when comparing winter to any other season, participants’ frequency of breathing disturbances at night increased by over 20%.

The study also indicated the highest rate of severe sleep arousals occurred in the winter, with some patients reporting up to 30 breathing disruptions per hour.

If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, this study further emphasises the need of utilising your CPAP machine. Inconsistency in therapy is especially detrimental during the winter. Sticking to your routine can help you prevent these problems and the substantial increase in sleep disruptions that occurs every winter.

In 2015, researchers analysed Google Search trends to highlight the association between cold weather and obstructive sleep apnea. The research, which analysed search data from the United States and Australia over the course of seven years, found that people were more likely to look for information about sleep apnea and snoring between the colder months and the beginning of spring.

Reasons why cold weather may exacerbate sleep apnea

While further study is needed to determine the precise causes, lower winter temperatures are likely a contributing role. Sleep apnea can be exacerbated by the cold because of the underlying concerns it causes.

It’s important to keep in mind that obstructive sleep apnea, the most common type, develops when the airway narrows and makes breathing harder during sleep. Because your body isn’t getting enough air, your blood’s oxygen level drops. In response to this issue, your brain may send out mild shocks to your body in an effort to reopen your airway. These short awakenings are what sleep specialists are looking for when they do a sleep study, yet you might not even be aware of them.

A major reason why winter is harder for sleep apnea sufferers is that there is less humidity in the air. If you’re taking in cold air through your mouth, it might irritate your airway and cause lung dryness. Dry nasal passages are another side effect of being exposed to cold, dry air.

If your nasal passages are dry, your body may be more susceptible to the cold virus. Cold weather makes it more difficult to breathe at night due of stuffiness and the common cold.

For people who suffer from sleep apnea, being unwell exacerbates the problem of a narrowed airway caused by the condition. That’s why you could find yourself waking up more often than usual this winter.

It’s a two-way street, though, since sleep deprivation was determined to be the most important factor in deciding whether or not people had a cold in 2015 by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco.

Researchers found that those who slept for 6 hours or less per night were 4.2 times more likely to have a cold than those who slept for 7 hours or more. Working long hours in the winter, on top of the weather changes that already raise the risk of disease, can lead to an illness that exacerbates your sleep apnea.

Methods for Dealing with Sleep Apnea During the Colder Months

You may give yourself the best chance of avoiding the detrimental effects of winter on sleep apnea by following these guidelines.

Persons With Sleep Apnea:

As a first step, if you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea and have started using a CPAP machine, consistency is crucial. There are three things to remember about CPAP therapy this season:

Most individuals with sleep apnea don’t regularly clean their CPAP machines, which is one of the most important things you can do to keep it working properly. I know it’s cold outside, but please remember to wash your mask, water chamber, and tubing every day with warm water and soap during winter. Keeping the machine clean before bed will reduce the accumulation of germs and improve its performance.

  • Regularity: Use your CPAP machine every night. This is of utmost importance in the winter, when sleep awakenings are more common.
  • Humidifier: most CPAP machines include a humidification setting, but a separate humidifier is recommended, especially in the winter. It’s useful since dry air is a common factor in becoming sick throughout the winter.

Those who have not yet received a sleep apnea diagnosis

Although the following advice is useful for anybody seeking treatment for sleep apnea, it is especially pertinent for individuals who have not yet begun using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine.

Breathing in and out via the nose is another easy technique to employ. When you breathe in via your nose, your body is better equipped to filter out any foreign particles before they reach your lungs, reducing any congestion you might experience and allowing you to get a better night’s rest.

What to wear: In other words, this is the first logical step to take. Staying warm in the winter will help you avoid catching a cold, which can aggravate your sleep apnea. Do not go out without proper outerwear; you can always take off layers. It’s also a good idea to wear a scarf over your mouth and nose whenever you can. As was previously noted, the dry air of winter can make it more difficult to breathe and more susceptible to catching a cold.

Nonetheless, you and your partner may have reached the point where your snoring is preventing a restful night’s sleep.

Treating Sleep Apnea Through Lifestyle Modifications

Treating Sleep Apnea Through Lifestyle Modifications

Stopping breathing for brief durations during sleep is a symptom of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea sufferers have oxygen deprivation throughout their sleep. Many people who stop breathing in their sleep don’t realise they have done so and continue to think they are having a regular sleep cycle. Snoring is a common misdiagnosis of sleep apnea.

In addition to making you groggy in the morning, sleep apnea has been linked to a host of other health problems. This sleep disorder raises the risk of heart failure, memory loss, and poor immunological function if left untreated. It can also provoke mental health problems.

Devices to assist breathing, medicine, and surgery are the most often used therapies. Alterations to one’s routine and the provision of basic amenities at home can, nevertheless, have a positive effect on one’s well-being and rest. Learn more about cpap therapy and how does it work?

Wearing a CPAP mask at night is one of the most common treatments for sleep apnea. In spite of its efficacy, this approach might be unsettling for some. The same effects might be achieved with some home treatments. Here are six non-conventional approaches of treating sleep apnea.

Using Magnesium to Improve Your Sleep 

Magnesium deficiency was detected in a study of persons with sleep apnea. There was a correlation between the elevated c-reactive protein and the decreased magnesium levels. The liver secretes C-reactive proteins, which are involved in the body’s fight against inflammation.

High oxidative stress is a nighttime problem for those with sleep apnea. Magnesium’s powerful anti-inflammatory effects may make it beneficial for persons with sleep apnea by lowering inflammation.

Avocados, seeds and nuts, bananas, and dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, and collard greens are all good sources of magnesium. Magnesium may be found in even the darkest of chocolates. Supplemental magnesium may be helpful, but it’s always best to check with your doctor before adding anything new to your diet, especially if you have a medical history or are on medication.

Epsom salt baths before night are another way to raise magnesium levels in the body. The relaxing heat of a bath is also great for winding down for the night. Reading the Top 5 Tips to Help You Fall Asleep and Stay Asleep will provide you additional information on how a warm bath may aid in getting to sleep and staying asleep.

Keeping your weight in check.

Losing weight is a regular recommendation made by doctors for patients suffering from sleep apnea. Upper-body obesity is associated with an increased risk of airway blockage and small nasal passageways. These blockages might result in a person’s abrupt and prolonged cessation of breathing during sleep.

You may alleviate your sleep apnea symptoms and keep your airways clean by sticking to a healthy weight. Obese persons can avoid upper airway surgery and prolonged CPAP therapy if they lose even a minor amount of weight, according to data from an Air Liquide healthcare source.

Sleep apnea can be cured in some people by losing weight. However, the problem may recur if the weight is regained.

Try Yoga.

Exercising regularly has been shown to boost energy, strengthen the heart, and alleviate sleep apnea. Practicing yoga can help you breathe better and easier.

Hypoxemia is more common in those who suffer from sleep apnea. Through a series of controlled breathing movements, yoga helps increase oxygen levels in the body. Therefore, practising yoga might lessen the number of times you wake up during the night.

Try a new sleeping posture

Even though it’s a simple adjustment, changing your sleeping posture can help you get better sleep and lessen the effects of sleep apnea. Over 50% of obstructive sleep apnea cases are reliant on posture, according to a research conducted in 2006. Sleeping in a supine (lying on one’s back) position has been linked to an exacerbation of symptoms. Some individuals find that switching to a side position while sleeping aids in regaining their regular breathing.

Air Liquide healthcare, however, has discovered that sleeping on one’s back is most beneficial for youngsters with sleep apnea. Make an appointment with your doctor to discuss your sleep apnea symptoms and how your body placement can affect your therapy.

Invest in a humidifier.

Humidifiers are machines that saturate the air with moisture. Air that is too dry might aggravate the respiratory system and cause other discomforts. Using a humidifier can help you breathe easier by loosening mucus and opening up your airways.

Essential oils like lavender, peppermint, and eucalyptus can be added to a humidifier for further advantages. These three oils are well-known for their ability to reduce inflammation and bring about a sense of calm.

Make sure to clean your humidifier in accordance with the guidelines provided by the manufacturer. They may serve as a breeding ground for germs and mould.

Don’t take alcohol or smoke

Modifying your way of life can have positive effects on your health, including improved sleep. If you want to lessen the impact of sleep apnea on your life, you should think about cutting down on tobacco and alcohol use.

The muscles in your throat regulate your breathing, and alcohol causes them to relax. It’s possible that this causes sleep disruptions and snoring. Inflammation of the airways, preventing normal breathing, is another possible outcome.

Tobacco usage, like alcohol consumption, can irritate and inflame the airways. The effects of snoring and sleep apnea may become more severe.

Smoking has been linked to an increased risk of sleep apnea by several studies. The study found that treating sleep apnea might aid in smoking cessation since those with sleep apnea may be more likely to be smokers.

Make use of dental aids

Sleep apnea can be treated with an oral device by moving the jaw or tongue to keep the airway open. Mandibular advancement devices and tongue stabilisation devices are the two main types. These help by bringing the tongue or lower jaw forward, making space in the back of the throat.

People with sleep apnea who have difficulty using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine are encouraged to try an oral appliance instead, according to a set of recommendations published in 2015. Because of the potential for more precise jaw alignment, custom-fit appliances are recommended in this recommendation over over-the-counter alternatives.

Raw honey is a great way to calm a sore throat.

Raw honey has been used medicinally for centuries, if not millennia, to ease the discomfort of a cough, ease swelling in the throat, and lessen the frequency and intensity of coughing fits.

Honey isn’t a drug, but its high concentration of phenolic chemicals makes it effective against inflammation. Its relaxing effects on the throat are especially welcome to those who suffer from sleep apnea.

Take one spoonful of raw honey dissolved in a cup of warm water or tea and consume it before bed. Since processed honey typically contains less minerals and antioxidants and also additional sugar, we advise going with raw, unpasteurized honey instead.

Take Away

Sleep apnea symptoms can be alleviated with the help of several tried-and-true home treatments and adjustments in way of life. Traditional methods of care shouldn’t be overlooked, though. Medication and, in extreme cases, surgery are required methods of treatment.

Before beginning any alternative therapy, it is recommended that you speak with your doctor. Worsening symptoms warrant prompt medical treatment.