Natural Apnea Solutions

We have already discussed how Apnea Leads to Low Testosterone and how Apnea Leads to Erectile Dysfunction.  What do you expect if you're getting woken up hundreds of times during the night, eh?

One interesting aspect of apnea research is that researchers are finding that there are many natural solutions that can often help apnea sufferers and sometimes even cure their apnea.  This is important for several reasons.  First of all, in some cases it shows that there is a root cause of apnea, i.e. there is not some inherent genetic weakness causing this debilitating condition but rather some lifestyle change that can help significantly.  Secondly, the medical solutions for apnea are rather invasive:  surgery (somnoplasties and snoreplasties) and/or a cumbersome CPAP machine worn through the night.  Many of those with apnea would like to avoid such solutions and find something more natural.

It should be noted, however, that there is one other medical procedure, the Pillar procedure, that is significantly less invasive. This is performed by a dentist and involves tiny polyester implants in the soft palate of an apnea (or snoring) sufferer.  It is actually the vibration of the soft palate that can lead to snoring and often apnea and so this can be an easy fix in some cases, since it is done with minimal anesthetics. 

WARNING:  It is critical to get your apnea treated.  One study looked at 380 participants with moderate or severe sleep apnea over a 14 year period and found that one third of the patients died! [9]  That's in comparison to 8 percent without apnea.

 Those suffering from apnea or other sleep disorders should definitely consider green tea, as they get their condition under control. The oxidative stress from apnea typically affects memory and ability to learn. Researchers have found that green tea, at least in animals, protects the brain from oxygen-deprived states that occur in apnea and related disorders. Green tea for the rats in this study actually protected their brains and memory for the ravages of apnea sleep loss. [4]

Below is a summary of additional natural solutions that researchers for apnea:

1.  Weight Loss.  Research shows that mild apnea can often be significantly helped or even cured simply by losing those extra pounds.  One recent study found that almost two thirds of study participants who dropped 23 pounds through diet and exercise were actually completely cured of their apnea. [2] Therefore, assuming your apnea isn't too severe, you may want to try simple weight loss first as a solution and, as a side benefit, you may have your testosterone significantly restored as well. In other words, dropping those pounds has the potential to boost your testosteorne and cure your apnea at the same time.

If your apnea is severe, however, simple weight loss will not do the trick and you will likely end up with a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine.  These masks can be a testosterone and life and saver, literally.  There are also dental mouthpieces and surgery of the throat as options as well, but these are considered less effective in most cases.

2.  Hypothyroidism.  AApnea can result from hypothyroidism, an underactive thyroid, that will be unresponsive to standard treatments.  It is estimated that 2-3% of apnea sufferers fall into this category. [3]

3.  Sleep Position.  Some practitioners have noticed that sleeping on the side can significantly help with apnea. Another solution is to sleep in a partial sitting position.  One study showed that half of all apnea sufferers could actually cure their condition by sleeping in this position! [5] 

4. Alcohol.  If I got woken up a couple hundred times during the night from lack of oxygen, I might want a few drinks, but researchers have found that this decidedly exacerbates apnea. [6]  

5.  Smoking.  Smoking makes apnea significantly worse because it inflames airway tissues and is associated with an increased incidence of this condition. [7]

6.  Sitting.  Sitting a lot during the day pools water and blood in the legs and this aggregation of liquids then migrates to your neck region when you go to sleep leading to apnea in many cases.  Keep moving throughout the day. [8] (See also my link on Sitting Is As Deadly as Smoking.)



1) Journal of Sexual Medicine, 6(11):3147-3157, Published Online: 29 Jun 2009, "Sleep Apnea is an Independent Correlate of Erectile and Sexual Dysfunction"

2) Consumer Reports on Health, Jul 2009, p. 10.

3)) Am. J. Respir. Crit. Care Med., Aug 1999, 160(2):732-735, "Screening for Hypothyroidism in Sleep Apnea"

4) Amer J of Respiratory and Critical Care Med, May 15 2008, Goza

5) Am Rev Respir Dis, 1986 Apr, 133(4):662-6, "The effects of posture on obstructive sleep apnea"

6) Amer J of Medicine, Aug 1981, 71(2):240-245, "Alcohol increases sleep apnea and oxygen desaturation in asymptomatic men"

7) SLEEP AND BREATHING, 5(4):167-172, "Higher Prevalence of Smoking in Patients Diagnosed as Having Obstructive Sleep Apnea"

8) Men's Health, May 2009, p. 33.

9) Sleep, 2008 Aug , ;31(8):1079-85, "Sleep apnea as an independent risk factor for all-cause mortality: the Busselton Health Study"