There are many things that get more difficult during the winter. Because of the weather, the commute to school and work becomes more dangerous and quite a bit slower. Keeping warm inside of your home gets more difficult as the insulation of your windows and doors is put to the test. And, for many people, sleep apnea is made worse during the winter months.
Sleep apnea is an ailment that affects hundreds of thousands of Americans and is characterized by a habit of not breathing several times throughout the night.
This condition varies from person to person and, the worse your sleep apnea is, the more damaging the side effects are to your health.
Things like snoring, insomnia, restless leg syndrome, and heart disease are all side effects of sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea.
For people who suffer from these conditions, it is important to be aware of which situations and behaviors exacerbate them.
Now that the winter months have fully settled in, here are some things to be aware of if you or a loved one suffers from sleep apnea or obstructive sleep apnea:
- The winter months are known for being the time that viruses get passed around more than other times of the year. This is likely because the air is dry and viruses are more easily passed through dry air. If you have sleep apnea, make sure to do everything that you can to prevent contracting a winter virus.
- Dry air. During the winter months the air is much more dry which can irritate air passages. You might notice that during the winter months your sinuses are more painful and you have some disturbing discharge. The dry air can be very irritating to your nasal passages. Try running a humidifier in your home to add some moisture to the air.
- During the winter months many people subconsciously move into a hibernating behavior. This includes eating foods that are rich and high in fat as a means of keeping warm and comforted. Unfortunately, these high fat foods will exacerbate symptoms of sleep apnea and cause you to gain weight, which is very bad for your condition.
If you or some that you know has sleep apnea, make sure to be aware of these things that will make symptoms worse. Because the winter months are darker and colder, people are naturally more tired so getting restful sleep is especially important.