Did you know that instead of helping you sleep, alcohol can make your sleep apnea symptoms worse and keep you from getting a good night’s rest? While you sleep, alcohol tends to increase pauses in your breathing and their duration, the exact opposite of what we are trying to achieve with sleep apnea therapy. Read more to find out the effects of alcohol consumption on OSA.
Alcohol relaxes your muscles, including the muscle tissue in your airway, and slows your arousal response. This is the response that tells your body to wake up because you can’t breath due to a blocked airway. Alcohol consumption essentially mimics what occurs during a sleep apnea episode. Due to these interrupted sleep episodes, you’ll experience more fatigue and daytime drowsiness.
Instead of helping you get sleep, alcohol makes it harder to fall and stay asleep. It interferes with melatonin levels, which results in poor sleep quality. If you have sleep apnea, it’s important to know this information so you can minimize your symptoms if you do decide to consume alcohol.
- Decrease the amount you drink and watch the alcohol content. Opt for drinks that are lower in alcohol content and limit the amount you have. Also, try to stop drinking a few hours before bedtime so that your body can metabolize the alcohol before you fall asleep.
- Get in the habit of side-sleeping as opposed to sleeping on your back. This helps sleep apnea sufferers whether they’ve had alcohol or not. Sleeping on your side helps gravity open up your airways, whereas when sleeping on your back, gravity works to close them.
Our goal is to provide you with information to help you alleviate your sleep apnea symptoms to improve your overall well-being. If you have any questions about your sleep apnea therapy, please feel free to contact our Ontario office. We look forward to seeing you soon!
Dr. Rondeau & Team Rondeau