It is the strong opinion of this author that the core problem is not the sagging soft-palate as is most commonly believed and most commonly treated. Further, the core problem is not the rapid inhalation that sucks your soft-palate into the airway.
The actual problem is the reduced ability of the signal from your brain to produce sufficient breathing intensity from your diaphragm. If your breathing were sufficiently deep enough, then you would not make a rapid inhalation, suck your soft-palate into the airway and arouse your consciousness to the point where you return to Stage I sleep.
Therefore, the appropriate solution is not to cut flesh from your pharynx or to use heavy, awkward and ineffective equipment, such as a CPAP machine, to force air into your lungs.
The appropriate intervention is to accentuate the ability of the brain to communicate with the diaphragm so that you breathe deeply and steadily without cessation.
This is necessary to maintain the proper blood oxygen level and keep the bivalent safety system from causing a rapid inhalation. In actual point of fact, it is the buildup of carbon dioxide that actually triggers the safety response. That is more critical than actual oxygen level to maintaining proper blood chemistry and pH.
To be sure, curtailing or stopping other potential causes and health risks is also highly advised with regard to smoking, drinking, and overweight. Correcting any or all of these problems is certainly important to the overall health and welfare of a human being.
To summarize and presume that we have now accurately characterized the problem, the solution becomes more obvious. Certainly it is beneficial to strengthen the muscles of the soft-palate.
It is also advantageous to reduce muscular tension in the neck. Both of these things will make a noticeable improvement in the condition and the problem of sleep apnea. Nevertheless, the most dramatic impact to effectively treating sleep apnea can be made by the administration and consumption of just a few key common herbs.
Lobelia, if used in small doses, acts as a respiratory stimulant. In larger doses, it has the opposite effect. This herb, when taken before bed, can actually increase the quiescent level of respiration sufficiently so as to avert a dangerous drop in blood oxygen level that can occur upon muscular inhibition.
It is the reduction in the nerve signals to the diaphragm that causes the cessation of breathing and instigates the entire disruptive cycle. Clearly, to mitigate the cycle, we want to enhance the ability of the brain to produce proper respiration amplitude. Lobelia can do just that.
Thyme has traditionally been used to enhance pleural activity and makes an excellent contribution to maintaining sufficient respiratory amplitude.
The thyme ingredient makes the exchanges of gases in the lung tissue more efficient.
More efficient exchange of oxygen in the air for carbon dioxide in the blood lowers the respiratory amplitude at which a problem occurs. This allows for more comfortable oxygenation at lower respiration rates.
Since lobelia can have some unsettling effect on the stomach, it should be used in conjunction with Meadowsweet to eliminate any possibility of a nauseous feeling. To further compliment this herbal combination and remedy, Chamomile aids the subject in relaxing and Cramp Bark helps the upper trapezius muscles to relax. This enhances nervous flow to the respiratory muscles and facilitates breathing.
This combination of natural herbs relaxes muscles that restrict nervous flow, increases drowsiness, enhances respiration, lung efficiency and protects the stomach lining. It represents a holistic natural solution to sleep apnea. It is non-habit forming and no-preconditioning is required. The first night of an apnea episode will be mitigated within 30 minutes of ingesting just a single capsule.
People respond differently to herbs just as they respond differently to many of the drugs and remedies offered through allopathic medical channels. Obviously, larger subjects will require a larger dose, but even beyond that, each person has a particular sensitivity response to the alkaloids of lobeline in lobelia and vital constituents found in the other herbs. Additionally, each person will have his own level of sensitivity to the slightly unsettling effects that the herbs can have on the stomach.
If the herbs are taken 30 minutes before sleep, the capsule in which they are contained will have had sufficient time to dissolve and the herbs will have had an opportunity to deliver their constituents to the body.
The length of time, however, that the herbal constituents remain at a sufficient level will vary from person to person. Herein lays the dilemma. In some larger and some less-sensitive subjects, the proper dose would be to administer one capsule every 4 hours.
This is an obvious problem when the recommended daily sleep allowance is eight hours. But the effectiveness of this natural and simple treatment method well outweighs the time it may require an individual to determine the proper dosing.
For most users one capsule of the sleep apnea herbs before bed is sufficient.
Another key consideration is that sleep apnea is more of a problem during periods of sleep when the muscular inhibition is being employed. This is before entering REM sleep or during Stage II sleep. If the subject meets the body’s requirement for REM sleep early enough in the evening, the effect of interruptions in sleep during the early morning hours is less noticeable from a symptomatic perspective.
There are many people who have sleep apnea and don’t even know it. The fact is that most times the disruption in sleep merely brings the sleeper back to a Stage I sleep. It does not arouse them to a point of being fully awake.
The sleeper can have very disrupted sleep and wake up feeling tired and un-rested without any first-hand knowledge of what is going wrong. Indeed this is quite typically what happens. And it is a major symptom of sleep apnea that should be recognized and dealt with if it affects you.
In fact, there are many other mitigating issues that can disturb sleep. Many people suffer from insomnia and are treated successfully with relaxants and even hormones such as Melatonin. These should not be discontinued when treating for sleep apnea. Doing so would be counterproductive as they may be essential aspects of balancing a particular person for proper sleep.
Sinus problems and minor food allergies can cause variations in the obstruction level of the airway. Many people show slight allergic responses to wheat or glutens. Eating bread products can cause thickening of the tongue and swelling of the soft tissues of the mouth. The same can be said for cheese.
As discussed previously, these obstructions are not the cause of sleep apnea, but they are aggravating conditions that tend to make the condition worse.
Whether a person is sleeping on his side or back also greatly affects the extent to which the soft tissue becomes a problem. The quality of sleep can also be affected significantly by the amount of alcohol that a person drinks before bed. Alcohol is a CNS (Central Nervous System) depressant. This can be quite detrimental to maintaining deep steady breathing and can dramatically affect the duration and frequency of breathing cessations.
Because of all of these mitigating parameters that are largely uncontrolled, even sleep studies in a clinic are extremely prone to large variations in their diagnosis.
This is evident significantly and consistently when individuals participate in multiple sleep studies and get vastly different study reports on the number of their breathing cessations per hour.