December 2, 2018
More than 18 million American adults suffer from sleep apnea, a disorder characterized by loud snoring and brief lapses in breathing during sleep. It interferes with sleep patterns and can cause fatigue, increased blood pressure, and other negative effects.
But did you know that what you eat can affect sleep apnea? This holiday season, choose your diet wisely, so you can rest up and enjoy all the festivities.
How Food Affects Sleep
The food we eat affects how well our body functions. Sleep is no exception. If you’re overweight, you have a higher risk of sleep apnea, so just maintaining a healthy weight alone can alleviate sleep apnea. But there are specific good foods to eat and foods to avoid if you want to have a long, peaceful winter’s nap.
As an amino acid, tryptophan helps your body to produce serotonin and eventually melatonin, a natural sleep enhancer. Common foods with tryptophan are turkey, chicken, fish, beans, nuts, and some vegetables.
You can find lots of food rich with melatonin, including tomatoes, broccoli, cherries, asparagus, and more!
Omega-3 fatty acids don’t just help your heart. They actually enhance your sleep as well by getting your body to produce more melatonin. Foods high in omega-3 include many seafood options like salmon, tuna, and even shrimp.
Although bananas provide fiber and potassium, they can also worsen sleep apnea. They increase mucus production in your mouth and throat, leading to breathing problems.
Similar to bananas, high-fat dairy can cause increased mucus production and breathing problems. Eating them too much leads to gaining weight, a leading risk for sleep apnea.
Beware of eating too much fatty meat like steak, burgers, bacon, pork, lamb, and sausage. They are high in saturated fats and can cause inflammation in the body, which leads to cardiovascular issues.
When you’re at holiday parties, you should think about limiting your intake of adult beverages. When consumed within hours of going to sleep, alcohol can cause your mouth and throat muscles to relax, exacerbating sleep apnea.
Be careful about the food choices you make this holiday season. With the right foods, you and your partner can enjoy better sleep and have a silent night.
About the Author
At Lapalco Family Dental, Dr. C.J. Landry has more than 30 years of dental experience. In addition to staying current with cutting-edge technology, he offers classic, personal customer service to every patient. He also offers aid for patients who suffer from sleep apnea. He can create a custom oral appliance that fits over the teeth and keeps the airways clear for normal breathing and better sleep. You can contact him by calling (504) 348-0080 or clicking here.
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