Staying Healthy with Positive Lifestyle Changes

Adopting a healthy lifestyle plays a significant part in your treatment for sleep apnea. Small changes can make a big difference and will allow you to enjoy your life to the fullest.

Smoking, obesity, alcohol, certain medications, and poor sleep hygiene all have a detrimental effect on your health and all contribute to the symptoms of sleep apnea. Making moderate changes to what you eat and drink – and by becoming more physically active– you can make a positive change to your overall health and well-being(1-9). These improvements will also boost the efficacy of your CPAP therapy.

 Start by making a few simple changes in your everyday life.

  • Eat three balanced meals a day at regular times, sit at a table in a quiet place, and avoid big meals before going to sleep.
  • Drink 1.5 to 2 liters of water per day (10) and limit your consumption of alcohol and caffeine-based drinks, such as coffee and energy drinks, especially at the end of the day. (3,4)
  • Exercise for at least 20-30 minutes regularly. This could be a simple walk after dinner or to start your day. (11)  
  • Try to quit or reduce smoking. (6,12)
  • Adopt good sleep hygiene, put away electronics, purchase dark-out blinds and find ways to relax before trying to fall asleep. 

Easy to say… Let’s share some tips to support you in adopting these lifestyle changes:

The easiest way to make change is to come up with a plan (and stick to it!). 

  • Prepare a shopping list before you visit the supermarket. Swap out processed foods, refined sugars, and frozen meals for fresh items. 
  • Change up your cooking at home so you eat a variety of foods, and use seasonal fruit and vegetables. You can find almost any recipe online. 
  • Prepare several meals (batch cook) in advance to save yourself cooking time when you can’t face being in the kitchen. 
  • It’s not easy but small changes to your diet and lifestyle will support a positive mood and improved sleep quality. 

 

Exercise can improve your quality of life by controlling your weight, boosting your mood, decreasing daytime drowsiness, and promoting a better night’s sleep.

Adding exercise to your daily routine can be simple, here are a few simple ways to get started:

  • Take a short 20 min walk during your lunch break or after dinner. 
  • Try a 10-minute workout.
  • Take a phone call outside, or find a friend to chat with as you go for a stroll. 
  • Take the stairs whenever possible. 

Combining regular exercise with a healthy diet will help improve your quality of life. Before starting a new exercise or weight-management program you should speak with your healthcare professional.

To stop smoking, try to:

  • Identify the moments you associate with smoking, and then change that ritual. For example, drink tea instead of coffee, and take a 5-minute walk rather than a coffee break. 
  • Put aside the money you save from not smoking and treat yourself to something.
  • Download an app to help you stop smoking.
  • Seek professional help if necessary – you’re four times more likely to quit when you have expert help. (12,13)

‘Sleep hygiene’ simply means habits that foster getting a night of good sleep. Good sleep hygiene includes:

  • Daily routines, such as getting enough exercise and sunlight.
  • What you do (and what you avoid) before bedtime.
  • Creating a bedroom environment that’s conducive to relaxation.

Everyone, including children, need enough sleep to function at their best, and sleep hygiene can play a crucial role in achieving that goal.

 

Benefits of CPAP Therapy

Treating sleep apnea with CPAP therapy makes seeking a better life easier and more enjoyable for the people around you.

Our commitment to you

Our team of sleep health professionals are here for you every step along the way. 

References

La Fondation du Souffle. La lettre du souffle – Bulletin de liaison des amis du Comité contre les Maladies Respiratoires. N°50
Crispim CA et al. Relationship between food intake and sleep pattern in healthy individuals. J Clin Sleep Med. 2011 Dec 15;7(6):659-64
Bonnet MH et al. Caffeine use as a model of acute and chronic insomnia. Sleep. 1992 Dec;15(6):526-36
Feige B et al. Effects of alcohol on polysomnographically recorded sleep in healthy subjects. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2006 Sep;30(9):1527-37
Krishnan V et al. Where there is smoke…there is sleep apnea: exploring the relationship between smoking and sleep apnea. Chest. 2014 Dec;146(6):1673-1680
Jullian-Desayes I et al. Impact of concomitant medications on obstructive sleep apnoea. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2017 Apr;83(4):688-708
Platt LM et al. Nonpharmacological Alternatives to Benzodiazepine Drugs for the Treatment of Anxiety in Outpatient Populations: A Literature Review. J Psychosoc Nurs Ment Health Serv. 2016 Aug 1;54(8):35-42
Cowie MR. Sleep apnea: State of the art. Trends Cardiovasc Med. 2017 May;27(4):280-289
European Commission. Food-based dietary guidelines in Europe. Table 16: Summary of FBDG recommendations for water for the EU, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Available on the EC website:  https://ec.europa.eu/jrc/en/health-knowledge-gateway/promotion-preventi…
Hall KA et al. Physical activity is associated with reduced prevalence of self-reported obstructive sleep apnea in a large, general population cohort study. J Clin Sleep Med. 2020 Jul 15;16(7):1179-1187
Chaiton M et al. Estimating the number of quit attempts it takes to quit smoking successfully in a longitudinal cohort of smokers. BMJ Open. 2016 Jun 9;6(6):e011045
Weight loss, breathing devices still best for treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Posted October 02, 2013, 1:54 PM Stephanie Watson, Executive Editor, Harvard Women's Health Watch, available http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/weight-loss-breathing-devices-still-…, consulted on 05/25/2015
 Losing weight with sleep apnea, Ask the expert, National Sleep Foundation
Peters, B. (2020, July 23). Get Morning Sunlight and You’ll Sleep Better. Very Well Health. https://www.verywellhealth.com/morning-sunlight-exposure-3973908#
Deleanu OC et al. Influence of smoking on sleep and obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. Pneumologia (Bucharest, Romania) vol. 65,1 (2016): 28-35.