Around 22 million Americans have sleep apnea. It’s a condition which makes you briefly stop breathing over and over again while you sleep.
If you’re a heavy snorer… especially if you’re a bit overweight… there’s a good chance you have it.
Up to 80 percent of folks with sleep apnea are undiagnosed. But many who are have been told to strap themselves into a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine every night.
CPAP machines deliver a constant flow of pressurized air into your nose as you sleep. This stops you from snoring and prevents your airway from closing, so you don’t stop breathing.
But according to research over 34 percent of folks on CPAP end up NOT using them as they should. And I have a hunch that number is on the low side.
In fact, some experts believe up to 80 percent of CPAP users aren’t using them enough for them to be effective.
But while we don’t know exactly how many folks are secretly sleeping without their machines, there’s no mystery WHY so many aren’t.
They’re incredibly uncomfortable.
“No sweat” exercise could replace CPAP
The machine is supposed to help you get a good night’s sleep. But for many folks strapping a breathing mask to their face does just the OPPOSITE.
Many users say they’re noisy, they make it hard to get comfortable in bed, and they can make you feel claustrophobic.
If you aren’t on CPAP, your doc might have suggested losing weight, sleeping on your back, or a dental device. Some physicians even push for invasive surgery, which fails around 50 percent of the time.
But what if I told you a 5-minute a day commitment could cure your snoring and have you packing away your CPAP machine away forever?
Because it’s true. And all it takes is a simple, no-sweat, “exercise” you can learn in a couple of minutes.
Breathe training linked to BIG health benefits
But improving your apnea is FAR from the only benefit.
The same exercise can ALSO deliver…
- better blood pressure
- a boost in brain function
- improved fitness
It’s called Inspiratory Muscle Strength Training or IMST. And while that’s a complicated name, the exercise itself couldn’t be simpler.
IMST is basically just strength training for your breathing muscles.
And the technique isn’t new. It was developed in the 1980s as a way to help wean people off of ventilators. It’s done using a small, hand-held device called an inspiratory muscle trainer.
The trainer provides resistance when you breathe. It’s been described as feeling like you’re sucking hard through a straw while the straw sucks back.
And it turns out, according to a study conducted at the University of Arizona, that it’s not just folks being weaned off ventilators which can benefit from IMST.
Better blood pressure and brain function
Researchers recruited a group of folks with obstructive sleep apnea.
Folks with sleep apnea tend to have weaker breathing muscles. So the team wanted to see if the resistance exercises would help strengthen their breathing muscles so they could rest better.
They had the volunteers take 30 inhalations a day using the trainer.
But they got far more than they bargained before. The tests weren’t even half done before they started to see BIG benefits.
Blood pressures plummeted. And there were significant improvements in large artery function in the folks using IMST.
Plus, the people using the breathing trainer performed better on memory and cognition tests than volunteers who were using a sham placebo device.
There were even signs of improved fitness. IMST users were able to stay on a treadmill longer while both their heart rate and oxygen usage dropped.
In other words, retrained your breathing muscles won’t just likely help with sleep apnea. It could improve your heart health too.
The scientists are planning more research. But with all of those potential benefits and no downsides, there’s really no reason to wait.
Just be sure to check with your doctor before you start. And he can help you track your progress.
Respiratory training devices are widely available online and in medical supply stores. In fact, I picked mine up for under $20 on Amazon.
She is an advocate of self-education and is passionate about the power of group knowledge sharing, like the kind found right here on HealthierTalk.com. Alice loves to share her views on holistic and natural healing as well as her, sometimes contentious, thoughts on the profit-driven inner workings of traditional medicine.
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