If you think you’re getting less rest in the winter, you may be on to something, especially if you have sleep apnea. Keep reading to learn why sleep apnea is worse in the winter.
Cold & Flu Season
The winter months bring along cold and flu season, which can significantly impact sleep apnea. Contracting a cold that inflames and blocks your nasal passages, makes it even more challenging to breathe at night. What can make things even more aggravating is that some medications you take to reduce the consequences of the cold may have the inverse effect on sleep apnea. Since most cold remedies help you sleep, you might fall into a deep sleep that overrelaxes your body, leading to additional blockages.
Colder weather causes atmospheric pressure and humidity to rise, which is bad news for those with sleep apnea. The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine discovered a correlation between the intensity of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) symptoms and atmospheric pressure. OSA symptoms increase when atmospheric pressure, which is related to weather systems, decreases.
Rise in Allergens
Cranking the heat for hours on end tends to increase the number of airborne allergens throughout your home. Pushing out hot air from the dusty vents could trigger an allergic reaction. The more your heating system kicks on, the more your home becomes a giant source of dust-related allergens.
As you’ll quickly notice, winter’s dryness can wreak havoc on how your skin feels and looks. The drier air also requires your nose to work harder to breathe, resulting in a dry mouth. Many CPAP users will have dry mouths regardless of the weather, so your frustration will rise when the temperature change leads to worse reactions. A dry mouth may be a harbinger of other health-related ailments; therefore, keeping the humidity in your home under control is paramount.
Tips To Consider
It’s vital to not only have a CPAP machine but also to clean it. Learning the best methods for cleaning your CPAP device ensures that everything is in working order to give you a good night’s rest. Additionally, you want to stay on top of your treatment. Don’t take a night off because you feel uncomfortable, or things will continue to worsen. Lastly, most CPAP machines have a humidifier, but it’s helpful to have a second one running in your room—as well as an air purifier—cleaner air makes for a happier airway.
Learning why sleep apnea is worse in the winter may explain why you wake up less refreshed than normal. Taking a proactive approach to account for these reasons and following the best preventative measures will guarantee that winter weather won’t ruin your sleep apnea treatment.