Did you know that sleep apnea affects an estimated 22 million people in the U.S.? In addition to causing restless nights and snoring, this common condition causes far more serious side effects as well. In fact, a link has been found between sleep apnea and several health problems such as high blood pressure, depression, weight gain, and stroke. Wearing an oral appliance is an easy, effective form of sleep apnea therapy in Arlington Heights, but it’s also important to know which foods can aggravate this condition (and which foods promote a good night’s sleep). When used in conjunction with an oral appliance, good dietary choices can make a big difference. Keep reading to learn more!
Which Foods Should You Avoid?
- High-fat dairy – In some people, high-fat dairy like cream and cheese increase mucus production in the nose and throat, making breathing more difficult.
- Alcohol too close to bedtime – Alcohol relaxes the muscles in your throat, which can block your airway at night. Try to finish alcoholic beverages at least a few hours before bedtime.
- Bananas – This one might surprise you. Although bananas are healthy in some regards, they also increase the mucus production in your mouth and throat.
- Meats high in saturated fat – In addition to increasing inflammation and contributing to heart-related problems, saturated fat can aggravate sleep apnea symptoms. As much as possible, limit foods like bacon, fatty cuts of meat, pork, burgers, and sausage.
Which Foods Should You Eat More Of?
Eating more of these foods can lead to a better, more restful night’s sleep:
- Fruits and vegetables – In general, eating more fruits and vegetables is good for your overall health. But those that contain melatonin (a hormone that contributes to good sleep) are particularly good for sleep apnea, ,including cherries, grapes, cucumbers, corn, asparagus, tomatoes, and broccoli.
- Omega-3 – Any food that’s high in omega-3 such as sardines, tuna, salmon, and even shrimp will help increase melatonin production and help you sleep better.
- Tryptophan – You’ve probably heard about tryptophan around Thanksgiving because it’s in turkey. But chicken, fish, beans, nuts and many vegetables also contain good amounts of tryptophan, which is a great natural sleep-aid.
The consequences of sleep apnea in Arlington Heights are serious, but by wearing an oral appliance each night and making better dietary choices, you’ll not only get great sleep each night but stay healthier overall as well!
About the Author
With nearly 20 years of experience as a general dentist, Dr. Brian Zulawinski has a particular interest in sleep apnea therapy in Arlington Heights. He knows that his patients get the best relief when they combine treatment with a healthy diet and is always available to help his patients make good choices. If you have any other questions, he can be reached via his website or at (847) 253-7477.