Breathing Lessons for Sleep Apnea Sufferers

December 28th, 2010

Proper breathing is prime to good health and vitality. It’s also one of the most basic physiologic function that we must do to survive. Improper breathing can result in illness, disease, and ultimately, death. Ancient Hindu cultures recognized this basic principle and developed very sophisticated breathing techniques that we now realize are scientifically sound in the case of promoting optimal health, energy and life balance. These breathing concepts have spread across various continents to different cultures, but the fundamental fundamental principles remain an identical.

What Most Holistic Doctors Already Know

Breathing means spirit in many languages (Hebrew, Latin, Greek, and Sanscrit), but not in English. In Latin, the word for breath and the word for soul are the masculine and feminine roots of a similar root. In Greek, the two words are a similar.

Breathing is a natural physiologic function which continues, in spite of whether or not you see it. It’s controlled by two parts of the autonomic nervous system: the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. The sympathetic nervous system is the classic fight-or-flight half that’s needed in case you’re in a fight or running from a tiger. The parasympathetic nervous system is the relief half, promoting sleep, digestion and reproduction.

Inhalation is activated by the sympathetic nervous system and exhalation is activated by the parasympathetic part. If you slow down your breathing, your heart rate slows down. When you take a little bit longer exhaling relative to inhaling, then you definitely’re spending more time activating your parasympathetic nervous system. It truly is the physiologic reason breathing techniques similar to the relaxing breath is literally relaxing. These same concepts also apply to singing, humming or whistling. Notice that after you sing, you’re spending up to 10 to 20 times longer exhaling relative to inhaling. By activating your vagus (parasympathetic) nerve, the reason is you’re feeling good if you sing.

What Some Doctors Don’t Know

We all take it without any consideration that the physical air passageways that we breathe through is more than sufficient as conduits for air to travel into and out of our lungs. However, our upper air passageways are dynamically changing regularly, counting on your head position, weather status, allergies, emotions, moods, stress levels and even what you simply had for lunch. Your nose is exquisitely sensitive to pressure or humidity changes, swelling or shrinking your internal nasal turbinates to significant degrees. Air passing in the course of the nasal cavity is being filtered, humidified, and warmed before passing into the lungs. Any temporary or permanent blockage to proper breathing in this area can prevent optimal airflow into the lungs.

In addition, the nose and sinus cavities make a gas called nitric oxide, which has two important gains. The first property is that nitric oxide is antimicrobial, both inside the nose in addition as within the lungs. This gas, when inhaled even in small amounts into the lungs, can increase oxygen absorption up to 20%. Not breathing through your nose for whatever reason has potentially detrimental effects to your health.

What Most Doctors Don’t Know

Everyone inside the Western, alternative and complementary fields of healing naturally assume that we can breathe properly at night. We now know that there are particular medical conditions along with sleep apnea where you may have complete obstruction and repeated bouts of oxygen deprivation. Most practitioners still think that this typically occurs in some those people who are overweight, snore, and have big necks. But now we know that even young, thin women who don’t snore could have significant obstructive sleep apnea. Even more, plenty of people who don’t officially meet the standards for obstructive sleep apnea still may have significant breathing pauses but wake up too quickly to be classified as an apnea. These are the patients which can be commonly diagnosed with idiopathic hypersomnia.

However, the bigger issue is that by definition, all modern humans are liable to breathing problems at night for right here reason: Due to the jaw narrowing and dental crowding from a thorough change in our diets, our tongues absorb relatively too much space, and for that reason, we’re more prone to obstructing the airway when sleeping on our backs (supine) and in deep sleep because of muscle relaxation. In his classic nutritional text, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, Dr. Weston Price documented these physical changes. Our ability to chat also positioned our voice boxes below the tongue, that can aggravate this process.

Many modern humans can’t sleep on our backs anymore since the tongue and voice box falls back essentially the most within the back position. For this reason, we compensate by sleeping only on our sides or stomachs. The difficulty is that it’s not adequate. an easy cold or an allergy attack, or with even 5 to 10 pounds of weight gain, could cause more frequent obstructions occur, leading to less efficient sleep.

Less efficient sleep ends up in a physiologic stress response which could cause or aggravate a range of various medical conditions equivalent to anxiety, depression, insomnia, cold hands, digestive problems, high blood pressure, etc. What I describe in my sleep-breathing paradigm is that each one modern humans are on a continuum, where the single extreme end is named obstructive sleep apnea. Anything else of us are lower down, but we creep up during various life stages, including puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. an easy cold, by causing nasal congestion in a young, healthy woman, could cause her to toss and turn at night, by way of repeated tongue collapse. Once the cold improves, sleep improves in addition.

What We All Must Know

Breathing shouldn’t ever be taken without any consideration. We must do everything to make certain that proper breathing occurs not only through the day, but additionally at night. Many younger, thinner patients who complain of being tired always can also be found to have hypothyroidism, anemia, cold hands and feet, low blood pressure, anxiety, depression, or other various disorders. Later in life, as they slowly gain weight, they move up the continuum, and at last will go into obstructive sleep apnea.

Almost invariably, one or both parents will snore and have known or unknown cardiovascular disease. Once you see a high-arched hard palate, a further small mouth or a recessed jaw, or scalloping on the side of the tongue, ask about sleep position, fatigue issues, and sleep. You’ll be surprised how often some of these features come together to provide an explanation for your chronic fatigue and numerous health problems.