Many people reserve their summer vacations and outdoor activities for the summertime because the weather is much warmer and nicer to be out in. But, for people with sleep apnea … the summer months can trigger a worsening of their symptoms.
During the summer months, the increase temperatures can exacerbate the symptoms of sleep apnea because of an increase in fluid retention and swelling of mucous membranes.
This swelling thus reduces the diameter of your airways, and causes more difficulty breathing. With these conditions you might experience symptoms like; wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, increased mucus production, change in the color of your mucus, and swelling of your feet or ankles.
All of this makes it especially important to take good care of your sleep apnea during the summer months, and follow your doctor’s orders.
Some of the treatments you can use are:
- Use your CPAP machine as directed. These machines help to provide a continuous positive airway pressure and keep your airways open while you are sleeping.
- If you are overweight, losing some of the weight will make a huge difference in your apnea. The extra adipose tissue surrounds your airways and causes restriction of your airways. So, once you lose weight, that restriction goes away and your airways will open more.
- Avoid eating foods that are high in sugar and dairy. These foods can increase mucus production and make it more difficult to breathe. Also, avoid drinking alcohol in the two hours before you go to bed.
- Use a humidifier in your room and in the rooms in your home where you spend the most time. A humidifier will add more moisture to the air, which can help to reduce the thickness of the mucus in your airways. Also, the moisture will soothe the inside passages of your airways and reduce inflammation.
If you have sleep apnea of obstructive sleep apnea, make sure to be cautious during the summer months and follow the recommendations of your doctor explicitly. Your symptoms can be greatly exacerbated during the hot weather, making it even more important to take good care.