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Can Your Holiday Diet Make Your Sleep Apnea Symptoms Worse?

December 13, 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — lapalcodental @ 2:38 pm

person holding a turkey

The holidays are officially in full swing, which means your dining room table will soon be taken over by a smorgasbord of the most delicious homemade foods baked by your loved ones. They’re impossible to turn down because they’re made with care and they’re all of your favorites! Unfortunately, if you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, eating certain snacks will only make your symptoms worse, draining your holiday joy due to a lack of quality rest. Read on for a list of what foods you should avoid and which ones are okay to eat so you can get the most out of your quality family time without being deprived of rest.

Foods to Avoid


While bananas are known to be an amazing source of potassium and fiber, if you have sleep apnea, they may not be worth the risk. Bananas increase mucus production in your mouth and throat, which will only interrupt your breathing while you’re sleeping even more than normally.

Fatty Meats

Many people cook delicious fatty meats like ham and prime rib roasts during the holidays. They’re often people’s favorite part of the meal, making them too tempting to ignore. Because these meats are high in saturated fats, eating too much of them can cause inflammation throughout your body. This can cause cardiovascular issues and breathing difficulties, which is a huge risk to take if you have obstructive sleep apnea.

High-Fat Dairy

Delicious treats like homemade eggnog are a holiday staple and tradition for most families. Unfortunately, they’re made with high-fat dairy products like heavy whipping cream and whole milk that can increase your body’s mucus production and make it easier for your airways to become blocked. Additionally, consuming an excessive amount of these products can also cause weight gain, which is one of the primary risks for developing obstructive sleep apnea.

Foods to Help You Rest Easier

Foods Rich in Melatonin

Melatonin is a naturally-produced hormone in your body that induces sleep. It’s prevalent in many fruits and vegetables, including cherries, corn, asparagus, tomatoes, grapes, broccoli, and cucumber. For better quality of rest and a more joyous season with your family, try drinking tart cherry juice!

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

High levels of omega-3 fatty acids can help your body produce more melatonin. You can increase your intake of this fatty acid by eating more seafood items, including salmon, tuna, and shrimp. Be sure to bring a shrimp cocktail tray to your next company holiday party!

Tryptophan-Infused Foods

You’ve probably heard of tryptophan, which is an amino acid that makes you feel like all you want to do is take a nap after eating carved turkey. Your body turns it into the neurotransmitter serotonin and eventually melatonin, inducing a holiday-feast-induced lazy day. You can also find tryptophan in chicken, fish, beans, nuts, and certain vegetables.

Getting the Most Out of Holiday Family Time

If you suffer from sleep apnea, you can improve your quality of rest during the holiday season by being conscious about what you’re eating. That way, you won’t have to sacrifice valuable time with your family and friends. With a little extra care and attention to the foods you eat, you’ll be able to enjoy all of your favorite treats without having to pay for it in the morning.

About the Author

Dr. C.J. Landry opened his practice in Marrero directly after graduating from dental school in 1982. For over 30 years, he has been dedicated to improving his patients’ quality of life by providing them with high-quality and thorough treatments, including sleep apnea therapy. He regularly takes continuing courses to advance his education, stay up-to-date with the latest technology, and sharpen his skills. For questions or to schedule a consultation for sleep apnea therapy, visit Lapalco Family Dental’s website or call 504-348-0080.

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