Sleep Apnea is a popular form of sleep disorder that has affected millions of people in the world, and too many people have been on the lookout for different, natural ways to manage this condition.
A good natural management method is weighted blankets, but you might still be asking, "are they really good for sleep apnea?" Keep reading to find out more about this and how Kocoono weighted blanket can help you.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea occurs when you stop breathing, then start again after a few seconds while deeply asleep. These slight interruptions could result in many medical conditions such as heart problems, liver problems, memory loss, attention deficit and persistent daytime fatigue/tiredness regardless of the number of hours you sleep.
Sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders that affect as many as 25 million adults in America. There is currently no data on the prevalence of people affected by disordered breathing in Ireland but the Irish Thoracic Society advised that approx 1-6% of the Global population is affected by Sleep disordered breathing such as Sleep apnea. The most common type of sleep apnea is known as obstructive sleep apnea, associated with an increased risk of stroke, cardiac arrest, depression, sleeplessness related accidents. Some of the increased risk factors were found to be increased neck size, weight size, age, etc.
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat relaxes, thus blocking the airway. Once the airway gets blocked, the oxygen delivery to the brain decreases and within seconds, the body is prompted to restart breathing again. This could happen about 30 times an hour per night while deeply asleep.
Central sleep apnea is the less common type of sleep apnea that occurs due to neurological diseases. Sleep apnea has become so popular that out of the 50-70 million people who complain of sleepless nights many are usually diagnosed with sleep apnea. Now a question you might have is this, “how do you know when you have sleep apnea?”
How do I know I have sleep apnea?
There are many signs of sleep apnea with the most obvious ones being loud snoring and excessive daytime fatigue/sleepiness to the extent that a person falls asleep while performing an activity.
Other symptoms of sleep apnea are:
- Throbbing headaches upon waking up
- Gasping for air while asleep
- Interrupted breathing is usually reported by another person
- Sleeping difficulty
- Dryness of mouth upon waking
- Night sweats
- Difficulty concentrating during the day
- Increased blood pressure.
What could cause sleep apnea?
There are many causes of sleep apnea with the most common being obesity. Others include:
- Increasing age and male gender: Sleep apnea is known to affect mostly men particularly people who are over 50 years and are obese. This is because of the changing anatomy of their necks as they age.
- Airway structural deformity
- Decrease in muscle tone due to underlying health conditions
- Genetics and family history
- Some lifestyle modifications.
- Underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, stroke etc
- Sleep position
- It is important to note that sleep apnea can affect both genders, at any age with any BMI. It is very individual.
Who is sleep apnea most common in?
Men are diagnosed with sleep apnea 2-3 times more than women with a percentage of 9 - 21% for women and 24 -31% for men. This happens due to changes to the airway anatomy of middle-aged men.
However, some research showed that women experience a higher risk of sleep apnea when they are overweight or after menopause.
Is sleep apnea hereditary?
Sleep apnea has a strong genetic component which is one of its major causes. Genetically, you could have a smaller upper airway or a large tongue that causes you to develop sleep apnea.
Based on research, sleep apnea has a 40% genetic component with the rest attributed to lifestyle and environmental factors. One is more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea if they have a first-degree relative (either sibling or children) with sleep apnea.
Note that the genetics of sleep apnea remains very unclear.
Can sleep apnea be reversed?
Some practitioners state that sleep apnea can be reversed completely through weight loss or surgery. These methods help remove the excess fat from the throat, thus creating a more open airway. Other management methods aside from surgery and weight loss include:
- The use of a CPAP machine
- Dental appliances
- Use of pap
- Use of weighted blankets.
Can sleep apnea be cured naturally?
Sleep apnea can be treated naturally without the use of these hospital devices such as; CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure), VPAP (Variable positive airway pressure), and Nasal EPAP (Expiratory positive airway pressure). The natural methods that help manage sleep apnea include:
- Weight loss
Being overweight is one of the major causes of sleep apnea as the excess fat applies much pressure and weight around the respiratory airway, which prevents them from being open fully during rest. Note that this method will not produce positive results if the inherent cause of your sleep apnea is due to other reasons asides from weight issues.
- Lifestyle management
There are many lifestyle causes of sleep apnea such as smoking, and alcohol consumption. Stopping these lifestyle choices can rapidly put an end to sleep apnea and keep your airway open adequately to enable breathing.
- The use of dental appliances
There are some custom-made dental appliances worn throughout one’s sleep to help position your mouth and jaws in a way it prevents your airways from collapsing while asleep. These devices include - Tongue stabilizing devices and mandibular advancement devices.
- Adjustment of sleeping positions
Sleeping on your back may lead to the collapse of your airway, thus preventing the exit and entry of air. Changing your position towards the side could provide the solution you need, and a device can be positioned at your back to shift to a side sleeping position.
- Regular exercise
This can help improve your heart health and heart pumping capacity, which will increase your respiratory effort and promote a better flow of oxygen around the body, thus improving your sleep apnea.
- The use of weighted blankets
This might sound unusual as you may wonder how an extra weight over your body will help keep your airway open when it should be doing the opposite. It is possible to keep your airway open as the weighted blanket helps regulate hormone production in the body which promotes a good night's sleep.
This hormonal regulation is achieved through deep touch pressure therapy. Through this deep touch pressure therapy, stress and anxiety are alleviated.
This is very different from other blankets as a Kocoono weighted blanket LUXE contains evenly distributed weighted glass pellets that are distributed through removable weighted bands that put up a good amount of pressure on the body.
Kocoono Weighted blankets reduce your nervous system arousal and prompt the production of certain sleep hormones and other happy hormones that gives you calm during sleep. it reduces your need to twist and turn at night time so if you fall asleep on your side your Kocoono Weighted Blanket is likely to assist you to stay in this position.
The hormones regulated by the use of weighted blankets are:
- Oxytocin: This is one of the feel-good hormones that is usually produced when in a deep state of calm, especially after receiving a warm hug. A weighted blanket gives the same effect as a deep hug, and this help to relax your nervous system, thus producing a good deep night's rest. With this, you can expect to experience fewer sleep disturbances during your night rest.
- Cortisol: This is a hormone usually produced by the body under situations of increased stress. Weighted blankets are known to calm the nervous system, which reduces your stress level and in turn, reduces the cortisol hormone. With low cortisol, blood pressure also decreases. Another added advantage to this is weight loss that follows after a decrease in cortisol. Since cortisol is associated with unwanted weight gain, the decrease of cortisol can help you maintain a healthy body composition
- Serotonin: This is another feel-good hormone that promotes relaxation during your night's rest. The deep pressure stimulation provided by the weighted blanket causes an increase in serotonin which helps you sleep better.
- Melatonin: Melatonin is another sleep hormone that promotes better sleep. While darkness is a natural stimulator for melatonin, a weighted blanket also stimulates the secretion of melatonin naturally. This happens through the deep pressure provided by this weighted blanket.
How can sleep apnea affect the body and daily life? Complications
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that affects a person's overall well-being causing a decrease in daily functioning. Some of its complications are:
- Heart diseases: The drop in oxygen circulation during a sleep apnea episode can affect the heart's pumping capacity negatively, leading to an increase in pulmonary pressure. This can eventually lead to congestive heart disease (CHF). Asides from CHF, sleep apnea causes an increase in blood pressure due to an oxygen demand from the body. Sleep apnea patients are at a 30% risk of developing heart disease.
- Diabetes: Sleep apnea causes stress to the body and thus lead to an increase in cortisol level. Cortisol stimulates the glycogen stores to produce glucose. So when in excess, the blood sugar rises.
- Excessive daytime sleepiness: Sleep apnea prevents one from having a good night's rest, and this causes you to feel drowsy during the daytime. This could lead to accidents at home or at the workplace.
- Stroke: The drop in oxygen level affects the brain cells negatively, causing the brain cells to die and eventually leading to stroke. If the oxygen drop isn't significant enough, it could lead to memory issues and difficulty concentrating.
- Organ dysfunction: Organs like the eye or the genitals could be affected, and the explanation for this is the drop in oxygen supply to these organs.
- Mood disturbances: Sleep apnea can potentially lead to depression, and this makes sense because of the stress it puts on the body especially after being sleep deprived.
The first and most important step if you think you may have sleep apnea or if you are currently experiencing symptoms of sleep apnea is to reach out to your doctor to get a proper diagnosis and you can receive a treatment plan and discuss your options.
How can Kocoono weighted blanket help you?
Kocoono Blankets provide gentle pressure on the body that helps relax the nervous system, thereby reducing stress hormones such as cortisol to produce a night of better, deeper and more restful sleep.
It also promotes the production of increased serotonin and melatonin. Kocoono weighted blanket is a better alternative to getting a hug from someone during sleep, especially at night, as it produces a similar effect via deep touch pressure therapy. It reduces the need to move and naturally relaxes your nervous system preventing you from startling awake with anticipation that you may experience disordered breathing. Many people with sleep apnea experience disturbed sleep in anticipation that they will stop breathing. Kocoono weighted blankets can help you relax enough to sleep and nod off.
Through this effect, you can be sure of restful sleep without having episodes of interrupted sleep. Asides from sleep apnea, there are other sleep disorders such as restless leg syndrome, and insomnia, and the Koccono weighted blanket is good for them also.
Which is the best Koccono weighted blanket for me?
We have two versions of Kocoono weighted blankets available - Kocoono Basic and Kocoono LUXE. You can read up on the differences between these two here.
Nevertheless, we recommend the LUXE version for older people, pregnant women, people with sensitive areas on their bodies, and children due to the special customisation. The customisation allows the user to remove some of the weighted bands to apply less pressure on certain areas and make them lighter.
When purchasing a Kocoono weighted blanket either for yourself or someone else, ensure you get one that weighs around 10 percent of your body weight or that of who you are getting it for.
We have 3 different weights for our Kocoono Weighted Blankets:
- 5kg - Suitable for someone who weighs between 50 - 70 kg (8- 11 stone)
- 7kg- Suitable for someone who weighs between 70 - 90 kg (11- 13 stone)
- 9 kg- Suitable for someone who weighs over 90 kg (over 13 stone)
Although we recommend a Kocoono weighted blanket to help manage your sleep apnea, we still advise you to first speak with a health care professional, especially if you have severe obstructive sleep apnea.
Note that not all sleep apneas can be cured using natural methods, but the less severe sleep apneas can be managed using the natural methods listed above, such as the use of the Kocoono weighted blanket.
Do you have any questions?
Are you interested in buying a Kocoono Weighted Blanket and have any questions? We love to hear from you! Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or use our contact form to get in touch.
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This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor or mental health professional. In combination with your doctors' recommendations or other health care professionals, every little step will help to escape the depression spiral.