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A cheap and easy strategy to relieve sleep apnea
Struggling to get enough air into the lungs during the night, because the airway shuts off, is a problem that is a lot more common, than you might think. The condition is known as obstructive sleep apnea. It causes serious long term health consequences, and might be the reason you’ve got weight issues.
Now, one of the biggest drivers of obstructive sleep apnea, is gravity.
Yes, the force that caused the apple to fall on Newton, sparking a scientific revolution, doesn’t just act on apples, it acts on the human body.
Now we all know, gravity pulls things, and fluids, down.
The fluids in your body are no exception…..
When gravity pulls on veins
When you are standing up, the force of gravity is particularly hard on the veins in your legs, because they’re responsible for moving the blood, back up to the heart i.e. they’re moving fluid, against the force of gravity.
It’s a challenge.
But gravity is not all bad, astronauts run into all sorts of health troubles, because there is NO GRAVITY.
So gravity is something WE NEED.
Since it has been around, since time began, the body has an anti-gravity system, which counterbalances this very powerful, universal force.
The anti-gravity forces
One of the pieces of this system, depends on the routine muscle contractions in the legs. As these muscles tighten they squeeze the veins and push the fluid up.
But when little to no movement of the legs is taking place during prolonged sitting, muscle squeezing is minimal , so fluids have a tendency to begin accumulating in the legs.
The gravity off switch
Climbing into bed, gets your feet off the ground, giving leg blood vessels relief. This respite from the continuous downward pull of gravity, is used by the body, to redistribute the fluids.
The leg fluid is redirected towards the neck tissue.
Moving fluids around is routine body maintenance, but it can become impaired, particularly if the heart is not pumping efficiently due to underlying heart failure or cardiovascular disease.
More fluid circulating
The situation is made worse, when the calf muscles, have been inactive for large chunks of the day, because there is more fluid, to redistribute.
Remember sitting is the new smoking !
This is why, it is important to strut your STUFF.
A neck full of fluid
Unfortunately, as the neck cells fill up with fluid, they get significantly bigger. This swelling now makes breathing more work, because it takes more effort, to push against the increased volume of tissue. Should the work load become overwhelming, the pharynx collapses, temporarily cutting off the oxygen supply.
No oxygen is an emergency.
The brain immediately whips all the “tired” muscles, back in line and breathing resumes. But, the commotion, adversely impacts the quality of your sleep.
The number of these breathing interruptions, depends largely on the extent of fluid build-up, in the neck. The more times it happens, the more trouble, you’re in.
Interestingly these apneic events go largely unnoticed by the “victim”.
Obstructive sleep apnea, leaves clues, common symptoms include
- Loud snoring
- Gasping for air
- Daytime sleepiness
- Morning headaches
- Waking up with a dry mouth
- Impaired memory
Obstructive sleep apnea, is something that should be addressed. So what can you do….
Sleep apnea fixes
Well the first prize is to “fix” the underlying heart pumping problems – this can be easier said than done. So the second approach is to alleviate some of the breathing issue, by getting the oxygen flowing.
Currently go to way, to keep oxygen flowing is to up the air supply using a continuous positive airway pressure machine (CPAP). Trouble is these machines are pricey and really uncomfortable, because the machine requires you to wear a mask ALL NIGHT.
Many patients opt for the poor quality of sleep OVER no sleep !
A third approach is to create more space. This can be done, artificially with special oral appliances and by losing weight.
But, there is a fourth approach, which easy to do and costs, very little – all you need to do, is to “stop” gravity.
Before you say “IMPOSSIBLE”. You don’t have to stop gravity on the planet, just the effect of gravity on your body fluids. Strapping on a compression stocking, will give you this superpower.
Think of it as an “artificial” calf muscle.
It’s a remarkably effective strategy, this is what a team of French researchers discovered, when they tried it out on 12 patients, 6 men and 6 women, at La Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital in Paris.
Wearing the compression stockings during the day, reduced the fluid build up in the legs during the day.
Which meant less fluid in the neck at night and…………….. fewer apneas and hyponeas per hour of sleep.
Benefits were seen after just a week of wearing compression stockings.
A cheap way to breath easier
You can pick up a pair of compression stockings at a pharmacy or on-line, they won’t cost you, an arm and a leg.
If you’re struggling to breath at night, out source your calf muscle, by strapping a pair of gravity defying little helpers – quality sleep is good for the heart, mind and soul .
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