Fight Sleep Apnea with Aerobic Exercise For over 18 million Americans, sleep apnea causes problems falling and staying asleep, leading to groggy mornings and a lack of alertness during the workday. What if you could help lessen its negative effects?
Dr. Paul Pagley of The Sleep Disorders Center at Heart Hospital of Austin suggests that exercise can help people with sleep apnea sleep better.
Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that makes you stop breathing in your sleep, causing you to wake up and breathe normally. Breathing pauses can last for a few seconds all the way up to a few minutes, and more than 30 breathing pauses can occur in the course of an hour. These constant sleep interruptions lead to lower quality sleep.
Dr. Pagley says that several studies have found that people with sleep apnea who participate in regular aerobic exercise decreased the severity of their sleep apnea. They woke up fewer times during the night during breathing pauses and they also felt that their sleep quality improved as a whole. Exercising also reduces complications with sleep apnea, such as heart and lung issues.
Suggested aerobic activities to lessen the effects of sleep apnea are walking, jogging, or pilates, exercises where your heart is pumping.
Dr. Pagley added that regular exercise helps with sleep quality even if you don’t have sleep apnea, as you will fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer.