Obstructive sleep Apnea is a condition which affects many truck drivers on the roads today. This is a dangerous condition which causes drops in oxygen levels. Obstructive sleep apnea disrupts breathing while you are asleep and can cause short pauses in breathing over 100 times a night. Many of these drivers are totally unaware that they struggled to breath, choked, snored or gasped for breath during the night. They only know that they often wake up tired or irritable. A sleep apnea test usually performed in a sleep lab is required to confirm a diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea.
Although the most popular method of treating obstructive sleep apnea is through the use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine alternative treatments are available which don’t require the use of medical devices or surgery. The CPAP machine has been shown to be a very effective treatment for sleep apnea but many drivers don’t like to use it. The CPAP machine is promoted by sleep clinics and other sleep testing facilities. Throat and palate surgery is a treatment promoted by surgeons.
Overweight and Obesity are the primary factors in sleep apnea. A significant number of commercial truck drivers are overweight or obese which is why sleep apnea and trucking industry are often linked. Daily linked sleep apnea in commercial truck drivers as a factor in truck accidents. A report in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine conducted a study of 450 drivers and concluded that truck drivers who have sleep apnea increase their risk for causing an accident by seven-fold. Sleep apnea is also a condition which contributes to causing diabetes, heart disease and hypertension.
An excellent method for combating sleep apnea is to lose weight. Weight loss is a very effective treatment for sleep apnea. This was confirmed by a study conducted by scientists at Karolinska instsitutet in Stockholm Sweden. Most people that have sleep apnea are overweight therefore, the most important thing drivers with sleep apnea can do to reverse their condition is to lose weight. Participants in this study lost significant amounts of weight and when tested were determined to be cured from sleep apnea.
People with significant amounts of excess weight have excess flesh and fat around their necks. One way that excess weight can cause sleep apnea is that the excess flesh and fat around the neck can put pressure on the airways and affect breathing particularly when you are lying down. Most overweight or obese drivers also have a significant amount of abdominal weight. This excess weight can push on your stomach and also affect your breathing.
Another alternative method of treating sleep apnea is through the use of 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5- HTP). 5-HTP is a safe and natural compound which is produced by the body from tryptophan. Decreased serotonin levels are factors which can lead to sleep apnea. Many victims of sleep apnea have dietary deficiencies of serotonin and therefore have decreased serotonin levels in their bodies. 5-HTP is a serotonin precursor. Adequate levels of serotonin are required by the nerves of the body that control breathing. Low levels of serotonin are a factor in overeating and cravings for carbohydrate foods. Low levels of serotonin also contribute to depression, anxiety, impulsiveness, impatience and insomnia.
Tryptophan is an essential amino acid present in many foods. Good food sources of tryptophan include red meat, tuna, shellfish, tuna, turkey, dairy products, nuts, seeds legumes and soybeans. Tryptophan is primarily extracted from the seeds of the Griffonia plant. Griffonia simplicifolia is an African medicinal herb with potent antidepressant and healing properties. Every part of the Griffonia plant is used in healing various ailments but Western use has concentrated on the high content of the serotonin precursor in the seeds of the plant.
The recommended dosage of 5-HTP is 100mg to 300mg at bedtime. The use of 5-HTP has been the standard treatment used in Europe for decades to treat sleep disorders and depression. 5-HTP is capable of great healing in the body but it can have adverse effects when used improperly. The recommended dosage of 5-HTP is 100mg to 300mg at bedtime. Start with 50 mg of 5-HTP within two hours of bedtime. Gradually increase the dosage if that is not sufficient to bring about results.
Always use 5-HTP under the care of your medical practitioner. 5-HTP should not be taken by nursing or pregnant women or those using antidepressant medications. The concurrent use of 5-HTP with antidepressant medications can induce a medical emergency called serotonin syndrome, where one may experience digestive problems, heart palpitations or anxiety.
Sleep apnea can also be treated by simple changes in your behavior. Allergies and sinus problems can exacerbate sleep apnea so they should be treated. Many people have been helped by eliminating the use of alcohol and cigarettes. Gargling with salt water and sleeping on your side is may help also eliminate your symptoms.
There are herbs that can help you sleep, but not necessarily to treat sleep apnea. They include chamomile, valerian root, melatonin and hops. These herbs are readily available at supermarkets, drug stores, health food stores and various online sources.
Prior to taking herbs for specific medical conditions, it is always best to check with your health practitioner to make sure they are safe for you to take for your specific condition. They will also make sure that they don’t interfere with any prescription medication you may be taking.