If you have sleepapnea, you may only know about it because your spouse has had concern about the fact that you stop breathing during the night. A lot. Usually, those who suffer from sleepapnea awake in the mornings unaware of any problems. They may feel fatigued or experience other health, emotional, and social issues, but they have no idea that they had over 300 episodes in which they stopped breathing for 10 seconds or more throughout the night. They will also not remember any of the times that they appeared to be partially awake struggling to get a breath. Their spouse, roommate, sibling, or parent, however, is usually fully aware.

Sleepapnea is potentially dangerous, as it has been linked with stroke, hypertension, myocardial infarction, coronary artery disease, as well as psychiatric problems, cognitive dysfunction, impotence, memory loss, and even death.

Treatment for sleepapnea by doctors of medicine usually involves one of two approaches. Most often, doctors prescribe the use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. This mechanical breathing device assists the patient by blowing pressurized air through the airway to keep it open. The mask, which is worn over the nose or sometimes over the nose and mouth, can be quite uncomfortable for some patients to wear during sleep and can cause somewhat of a sleep disturbance itself. The other option that medical doctors sometimes turn to is surgical removal of the tonsils and/or adenoids. Obviously, this extreme measure brings with it all the dangers and risks of anaesthetized surgery and is no guarantee that the sleepapnea issues will be resolved.

Natural medicine practitioners offer treatment options that are less invasive and disruptive. Many will suggest that patients modify their diets, since eating a balanced diet and regular exercise help to promote healthier sleep patterns. Nearly all will urge their patients to avoid alcohol, any sedatives or muscle relaxers, and nicotine, because all of these can contribute to sleepapnea.

Some holistic practitioners will use a treatment that involves herbal and homeopathic remedies that are meant to improve not only sleep patterns, but the patient’s overall health. Herbs such as passiflora and avena sativa are known to help with sleep problems. Also helpful are magnesium and vitamin B6.

Since sleepapnea involves a difficulty in breathing, perhaps the most effective holistictreatment is breathing exercises that train the patient’s body to breathe in a measured, regulated manner both when awake and when asleep. Not only can breathing properly help with sleepapnea and the issues surrounding it, but proper breathing will help to remedy a whole host of other sleep problems, as well.